07.10.2012 09:35 AM

The Muse of Deepest Annex: Tabatha Southey, who thought the Manson murders were a hoot, too

Ms. Southey objects to my column, below. She thinks I’m a “dick,” etc. for having effrontery to criticize her friend.  Yawn.

She also thinks her tweet below, about Luka Magnotta’s victim Jun Lin, is super-duper funny. She says it’s “black humour.” I don’t quite see it that way, myself. In fact, I find the “dismemberment joke” genre particularly inappropriate the very week (a) the young victim’s family is arriving to collect his remains and (b) more remains are being received by schools in Vancouver. The smart Globe columnist, however, thinks it’s all screamingly funny.

Me, not so much. What do you think?

Oh, for the “context” Tabby feels is essential: here’s her column, wherein she calls it all “horrific” and whatnot. Which is it? “Horrific,” or an occasion for “black humour”? Only Ms. Southey knows, I guess.


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    wsam says:

    That column is great. Like most of the stuff she writes. Don’t be so sensitive.

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      Warren says:

      Uh-huh. I think she is fine and sometimes funny writer. On this occasion, I think she (and others) went way over the line. If she doesn’t like that, she can kiss my ass.

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    wsam says:

    Fair enough. I agreed with you that it seemed like they ended up mocking the tragedy instead of Labatt.

    I haven’t seen a recent picture of T so I don’t know if the derriere kissing thing would be cool/ or desirable. Sounds hot though. Spouse might mind.

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    sj says:

    I think we all engage in black or gallows humour occasionally. (Remember the classic Mary Tyler Moore episode about Chuckles the Clown’s death). When the first body part arrived, many made sophomoric jokes about it. But as the details emerged, most people stepped back and realized that in that context, perhaps it wasn’t appropriate. Most were mature enough to apologize too. Most.

    And remember, you never win a fight with someone in the media, even if you are part-time media.

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    Liam says:

    My issue with Southey is that while she generally has a decent, salient idea somewhere in her columns, she almost never manages to construct any sort of actual argument around it. There’s just never anything TO anything she writes.

    And people still eat her up and praise her from on high. I sometimes read her stuff a couple more times to see if it’s me, if I’m missing something, but I never am. I just don’t get it.

    Also a secondary bias which probably negates me from having an opinion on the whole thing. But anyway.

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      Tjinder says:

      Southey’s columns often circumlocute because they’re meant to function as novel, humourous reactions to topics that are already much-discussed and well-known. If you find there’s nothing “to” them, it simply means you’re a lazy reader, not that there isn’t actually something of merit and depth there.

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        Liam says:

        Trust me, I get novel and humourous circumlocution – Grantland.com is one of my absolute favourite reads of all time; I subscribe to the quarterly, for cripes sake – but Southey is rarely if ever novel or humourous. If she could manage light and engaging on a regular basis, I’d have no problem. It’s that she writes to be so deliberately airy but never actually entertains. Like her “If Tory Caucus Walls Could Talk” from a while back – entirely obvious, toothless and ineffective. I mean, Margaret Wente is basically a certifiable loon at this point, but at least there’s some meat in her columns (albeit rancid).

        Basically, it’s Warren’s entire point here – the jokes never land, and are often so hopelessly unsubstantial (along with the more intellectual arguments that are meant to context them) that I find it impossible to assign any weight or merit to anything she writes.

        Again though, just me.

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          Warren says:

          And, listen, I’ve made plenty stupid jokes, too (remember cookies and the cat thing?). They were mistakes, I apologized, and resolved to try and avoid being similarly stupid again.

          Southey, Coyne, Wells, are all people whose writing and thinking I have admired, even if I don’t necessarily like them as people (although I do like Andrew). They, too, should’ve just said they made insensitive joke(s) – jokes that were too soon, and unfunny – and moved on. They didn’t. Instead, they dug in their heels and tried to defend it. They acted precisely like the politicians they regularly criticize for having a tin ear, in fact.

          And, if they think they can get me to drop the matter…well, you guys who read me know me best: have I ever been the kind of guy to drop something because some famous person wants me to?

          Screw that. I’ll say what I want, and I don’t give shit if the chattering classes disapprove.

          In fact, I rather dig that.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    There’s a reason why a good writer turns his tongue three times in his or her mouth before putting pen or keyboard to use…

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    Mike says:

    But Warren, didn’t you make jokes about it the day it happened? Check out this screen capture: https://twitter.com/NPsteve/status/210118455591059457/photo/1/large

    Or maybe I misunderstand? Please explain…

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      Warren says:

      I invited lines for me to use on Sun News. Some Ottawa reporters responded with jokes. I thought about it and took it all down.

      That National Post guy is a douchebag. Can’t want to meet him face-to-face.

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        Anne says:

        Will you apologize for laughing at Tim Harper’s joke? Seems reasonable since your giving everyone else so much trouble.

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    Tracey says:

    Chuckles the clown from Mary Tyler Moore show died of an accident.

    Not being drugged, stabbed, dismembered, raped, eaten all while being taped for the Internet.

    Would they have joked if the victim was a young woman?

    Do they joke about Lesley Mahafey?

    Are there John Wayne Gacy stand up routine they’d like to write up?


    They’re vanity and self indulgent twitter egos stood in the way of acting like human beings.

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    Nurie Jahangeer says:

    Dear Ms. Southey,

    I find your remarks about Mr. Kinsella to be vulgar, low class, unprofessional and most unbecoming
    of a journalist who is employed by a very prestigious Canadian newspaper. Furthermore, while I do not
    “follow you” on Twitter, as it were, I quite frankly cannot even understand what it is you are trying to
    say in this tweet. You would do well to remember that there are millions of Canadians who are
    visible minorities, recent immigrants and/or do not have English as a first language; so perhaps you
    could keep that in mind the next time you chose to use such euro-centric sarcasm.

    Mrs. Noorjahan (Nurie) Jahangeer PhD

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    Tim L says:

    What did you think of the Onion 9/11 edition? They got laughs from 3,000 deaths that only happened a few days previous. Probably horribly offensive to the families of the victims, but it was also pretty funny. Still is. People find humour in awful stuff: its how we all get through the day, isn’t it?

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      Kre8tv says:

      Actually, Tim L, I remember that very edition and how I felt reading it just days after 9/11. And after so many heavy, horrible days, it was fucking incredibly funny. Go back and read it again: the victims weren’t the target at all, but rather it was the terrorist assholes who thought they were on their way to paradise with virgins but instead were in hell having their flesh peeled off of them. Dark and macabre. But right for the time. Anyhow, my point is that The Onion has writers who are paid to be funny. That’s their job. That’s all people expect of them. Ottawa’s press are not paid to be funny. They’re paid to be objective and provide informed opinions about things. That’s hard enough for some of them to do. And while all closed clubs have their gallows humour (the knitting circle that is the Ottawa Press is no exception), it wouldn’t kill them to keep that shit off of twitter and just keep it to themselves.

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