Some of her best friends are Jews

If B.C. Green Party advisor Mr. Spector was still alive, we would send him this about the Trump Party that he, you know, defended.

Child molester Roy Moore’s wife:

“Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews. I tell you all this because I’ve seen it all, so I just want to set the record straight while they’re here. One of our attorneys is a Jew. We have very close friends that are Jewish and rabbis, and we also fellowship with them.”


Does HuffPo protect sexual abusers?

Get this: I sent that column below – the one the Hill Times printed, about sexual harassment on Parliament Hill – to HuffPo.

Here’s the response I got from one [name removed at HuffPo’s request], a student at Ryerson:   “DECLINED…[this] is not the forum for investigative reporting…Although you omitted names, the CBC employee you describe is easily identifiable.”

So Huffington Post will therefore assist in protecting that harasser.  Because theirs “is not a forum for investigative reporting.”  And because he’s “easily identifiable.”

Listen, [name removed at HuffPo’s request]: you are full of shit.  It isn’t investigative journalism – it’s an opinion column, based on verifiable fact.  Ryerson, I’m confident, teaches you the difference.  If not, I’ll send you one of my books to help you out.

But if the victimizer is “easily identifiable,” as you claim – and I’m not so sure about that, but let’s just say you are right – then why are you conspiring to ensure he is not identified? What about HuffPo’s pious editorials, demanding that we all take these stories of abuse seriously?  Oh, wait.

HuffPo protects sexual harassers: that’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from your actions, today.

 

 


Toronto Star on Recipe For Hate: it’s “of interest to anyone interested in punk culture!”

Hey! The good folks at the Star wrote about Recipe For Hate – thank you, Sarah Murdoch!  My punk rock credentials are estimable – which, my dictionary tells me, means “worthy of respect!”

Recipe For Hate, Warren Kinsella, Dundurn

Warren Kinsella is known mostly as a political operative and pundit, but he also has estimable punk-rock credentials (as punk historian and as bass player in SFH, which bills itself as Canada’s best-loved geriatric punk band). This YA novel is “loosely” based on real-life events, and concerns the murder of two teenagers in 1979 in Portland, Ore., then the epicentre of the punk scene. It will be of interest to anyone interested in punk culture — not just the music, but the fanzines, art and writing of the period. Bonus: The author has curated a Recipe For Hate online punk playlist for uneasy listening.


Column: why hasn’t #MeToo hit Ottawa?

It’s hit Hollywood.  It’s taken down big names in the media.  All over Capitol Hill in Washington, too.

So why hasn’t the #MeToo movement claimed any of the creeps crawling through Ottawa’s corridor of power?

Because, God knows, there’s plenty of dirty old (and young) men up there.  The stories are legion.  So, where is the #MeToo coming out of political Ottawa?  Where are the men of Parliament Hill, solemnly pledging #HowIWillChange?

We are in the midst (hopefully) of a profound transformation:  Matt Lauer; Harvey Weinstein; Al Franken; Kevin Spacey; Mark Halperin; Charlie Rose; Glenn Thrush; Louis C.K.; Roy Moore; Russell Simmons; Steven Segal; Dustin Hoffman.  And dozens more – accused of, and guilty of, everything from rape to inappropriate sexual remarks.

It is extraordinary, it is positive, and it is overdue.  As jarring and as unpleasant as the details may be, we seem to be on the cusp of an actual change in the culture.

Everywhere but in Ottawa, that is.

Here’s a tale, in which the names have been omitted to protect the victim.  It’s not by any means recent, but it is still relevant.

Way back when, when I was student council president, a friend at Carleton’s journalism school told me that a prominent broadcast journalist was sexually harassing her and threatening her.  He told her she would never work in journalism if she didn’t give him what he wanted. She was very upset; she was crying.  I believed her.

I called his boss to complain – and to say, as student council president, I didn’t want this man on campus.  I told him what my friend had told me.  I told him my friend would not make this up.  The boss told me someone at CBC would get back to me.

No one ever did.  Instead, I later ran into the prominent broadcaster at a political event I’d organized.  He looked at me, almost with delight.  “Ah, the famous Warren Kinsella,” he said.  That night, he and the CBC broadcast a venomous, one-sided hatchet job on my candidate, and me.

The broadcaster?  He stayed employed at CBC, and later got a plum political appointment.  He’s still on the Hill, too.  My friend? She never ended up fulfilling her dream of working as a broadcast journalist.

And me?  I learned a lesson: powerful men in Ottawa have power, and they know how to use it.  They know how to get what they want.

There are other such stories, much more current.  Not long ago, I was told of allegations made by some young people about a very, very powerful man in Ottawa.  I did not see the statements, so I do not know the specific allegations made therein, as the lawyers would say.

But these allegations – which were confirmed to exist, by multiple people who would know – describe a profound imbalance in power.  They describe how this very, very powerful man used his power to get what he wanted sexually.

There are many other such stories, involving elected men and male staffers in all of the political parties.  All of us who work on the Hill, or who have worked there, have come across these stories.  We have seen some of the evidence.  We have heard from the victims.

In my case, I tried.  I did what I could.  It didn’t work out.

But that doesn’t mean we should give up.  That doesn’t mean we should look the other way, either.

Young people occasionally come see me to get advice about how to get involved in campaigns, or how to work for a particular candidate.  I always tell them the same three things: one, work only for those who share your passion for an issue.  Two, work only for those who believe in something other than power.  Three, work only for those who treat their own families – and strangers – with the utmost respect.

Because, I tell them, if they treat their wives like dirt, they will treat you like you are less than dirt.

Personally, I have had the great fortune to work for three men who married their high school/university sweethearts – Jean Chretien, Dalton McGuinty and John Tory.  All three men always treated strangers, and their wives and their families, with respect.  All three have conducted themselves with decency and probity.  Always.

Such men still exist.  Not every man in Canadian political life is a scumbag.

But, in Ottawa nowadays, the silence is deafening.  It is impossible – impossible – that #MeToo stories can’t be found on Parliament Hill.

So why isn’t anyone telling them?

 


December 8, 1980

My girlfriend Paula Christison had been over, and we’d been studying, then watching something on the little black and white TV we had. My Carleton roommate, Lee G. Hill, was there too. Lee and I had been great friends in Calgary. In junior high, we’d started a couple fanzines with Beatles-centric themes. In our shared room on Second Russell, we had a couple John Lennon posters up amongst the punk rock stuff.

Paula left for her place downtown, so Lee and I were studying when the phone rang. It was Paula. “John Lennon’s been shot, babe,” she said. “It’s on the radio.”

His assassination, on December 8, 1980, was of course a terrible tragedy – and so, to me, was the fact that his last album (before the inevitable avalanche of ham-fisted compilations and retrospectives) was a piece of self-indulgent, saccharine shite like Double Fantasy.

Generally, he always needed Paul as an editor, and vice-versa. But his best album – and one of the best albums of all time, in my view – was Plastic Ono Band. It was like him: it was stark, and raw, and different, and deeply, deeply personal. Some say the LP was the product of his dalliance with primal scream therapy, or his response to the (necessary, and overdue) collapse of the Beatles. To me, it was instead an actual piece of art and great rock’n’roll, improbably found under the same piece of shrink wrap. Like listening to someone’s soul, without having received an invite to do so.  You should listen to it today.

The next morning, exams weren’t cancelled, though it felt to me like they should have been. When I walked into Carleton’s gym, there was a guy sitting there, already wearing a John Lennon T-shirt. I wanted to punch him. Instead, I just took my seat and wrote the stupid exam.

So long ago. I can’t believe he’s been gone that long; I can’t believe I’m way older than he ever got a chance to be. It sucks.

Here’s my favourite picture of him, the one I used to use on posters I’d make up for Hot Nasties shows.  I liked it because he looked like a punk. That’s Stu in the background, I think.  Also long gone.

We miss you, John.  Hardly knew you.

Lennon_l


Publishers Weekly: Recipe for Hate “riveting…an unflinching page-turner”!

Publisher’s Weekly is the book trade publication in the United States.  As Wikipedia notes, it is the “American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents. Published continuously since 1872, it has carried the tagline, “The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling”.

And I have never had one of my books mentioned in it.  Like, ever.

But here’s what they have said about my new one, Recipe for Hate:

“Riveting…Tension starts high and stays there in this unflinching page-turner, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the early punk scene and a moving testament to the power of friendship.”

Link is here.

Quill and Quire, now Publisher’s Weekly.

For those of you who have asked, yes: Daisy and Dundurn are working on a book launch in Toronto, to which all of you will be (somehow) invited.  And we are also putting together book events/media in different places in Canada in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, feel free to order your copy (or copies!) here and here!


I stand with Trudeau

We used to be friends, we had a falling out.  And: he has a very different style than my guy, the Shawinigan Strangler.  We were the undersell and overperform gang, you know?  We were more fiscally conservative, we didn’t bet the house on rookies, and (I think) we were a bit more adept on the international stage.

But – upon reading this David Akin report – I’ve never been more proud of Justin Trudeau, and never more happy that he is presently Prime Minister.  Why?  Well, as I get older, and as I get closer to the grave – and as I regularly tell friends and family – I find myself becoming far less partisan than I was in my youth.  These days, I tend to think the differences between the Canadian political parties is pretty negligible.  And, these days, I am a great admirer of pretty much everyone who dares enter public life.

As such, as I prepare to shuffle off to something else, my only partisanship is increasingly my first love, journalism.  I evaluate every politician’s worth, these days, through the prism of journalism.  If they promote a free and flourishing media (like the aforementioned Trudeau), I’m a fan.  If they don’t (like Donald Trump and Melanie Joly), I’m not.

In the Trump era, where political/governmental institutions are failing us, and the only people defending democracy seem to work at the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN, a free press has never been more important.  Democracy is literally at stake.

Ipso facto, here’s David Akin, who clearly was as impressed as I was.  To me, Trudeau’s words, below, should be inscribed on the wall of every journalism school in Canada.

On Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s last day of a week-long visit to China — a week in which he had done his best to be a gracious guest and not say anything remotely controversial about the dictatorship that was hosting him — Trudeau said something rather remarkable.

It may even be historic.

Speaking on Chinese soil, in the presence of several members of China’s obsequious state media, he said that reporters play an essential “challenge function.”

He told his Chinese hosts that “traditional media” — a traditional media which, in his own country, has been, at times, harsh, unfair, and ungenerous to him personally as well as to his own government — he said traditional media play “an essential role … in the success of the society.”

Journalists. Essential.

In the age of Trump and #FakeNews, this is heady stuff.

It is to Trudeau’s great credit that he said these things and said them in China!

He was not delivering prepared remarks on the value of journalism to grad students at a Canadian university.

He was speaking off the top of his head, from his heart, in response to a question put to him in the midst of a 45-minute press conference in a communist country where independent-minded journalists go to jail.

Trudeau was prompted to make these comments about the value of an independent and free press because a reporter had asked him if his Chinese hosts had intimated that criticism of China in the Canadian press was making it difficult for his government to advance talks on a Canada-China free trade deal.

If the Canadian media was a thorn in Trudeau’s side, he refused to say so. Instead, Trudeau clearly indicated that this was not only the price he was willing to pay, if that was, in fact, true, it was a price he was happy to pay.

“Allow me to take a moment to thank members of the media,” Trudeau began. “You play an essential role: a challenge function, an information function. It’s not easy at the best of times. These are not the best of times with the transitions and challenges undergoing traditional media right now and I really appreciate the work that you do.”

But he was not done. He acknowledged that the spin masters in any political operation from any party these days are set up precisely to make the job of an independent and free press harder.

“We make your job difficult,” he said, acknowledging his complicity, as a successful politician, in trying to manipulate journalists for his own political gain.

I want to underline, once again, that this acknowledgment came on Chinese soil, in a country where the government’s spin — the government’s propaganda — is the only thing one can read in a Chinese newspaper or see on a Chinese television broadcast.

“External factors make your job difficult,” Trudeau said. “But it’s an essential role that you play in the success of the society. That is my perspective. That is a perspective shared by many and it’s one that I am very happy to repeat today.”