Turned off, logged out

I turned off Twitter and Instagram, and logged out of Facebook, last month.  Click.  Bye.

Now, that was the first paragraph.  In the second paragraph, you are perhaps expecting me to write that I sleep better, eat better, and that I am now capable of great insights into the human condition.  That I read a dozen books a day, I commune with spirits, and I am planning a Scottish tour of my punk band in the coming months.

None of that is true.  (Although the part about the punk tour actually is.  More on that at a future date.)

On Twitter, I had – and perhaps still have, I don’t know – about 42,000 followers.  I had maxxed out on Facebook followers, and had three platforms there.  But turning them off was pretty easy.  I don’t miss ’em.

Often, people turn off Twitter because they’ve tweeted something they regret.  Elon Musk is one of those.  One of his tweets cost him $20 million or something.  Here he is tweeting about how he doesn’t think tweeting is a good idea.

My bet?  He’ll be back.

For me, turning off social media was simply good for my soul.  For one weekend in October, journalists who had devoted months to documenting the racism and bigotry of Maxime Bernier and his political party did a whiplash-inducing volte-face, and decided to depict Maxime Bernier and his political party as victims.

Thereafter, the winged monkeys in Bernier’s cabal went crazy, and unleashed a barrage of threats and hate.  It got so bad, my EA had to change her phone number.

That’s all Bernier’s ilk can do, really: spew hate on social media.  They’re keyboard warriors.  They’re not so good at actually winning over Canadians in real life, as it turns out.

Now, in this paragraph – the tenth, I think – don’t expect me to lament how social media has become horrible and mean and nasty.  Don’t expect me to express surprise. Social media has always been horrible and mean and nasty.  That’s the one thing social media excels at: being mean.

And anyone who ever expected something else make me roll my eyes. Every January, for example, journalists are moved to contact the inventors of the Internet – to wit, when ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983 – and they all express profound sadness, and surprise, that pornographers and Klansmen would embrace a medium that was (a) global (b) immediate (c) unregulated and (d) basically free.

Hear that?  That’s the sound of me rolling my eyes.

Anyway.

Every morning, and every night, I hear from lots of people who say they miss reading me on social media.  They express hope that I’ll come back.  They say they understand, because social media is horrible.

And I’ll sometimes write back and say: I didn’t leave because it was horrible.  It was always horrible.  And I’ve been exposing and opposing racists, anti-Semites, homophobes, Holocaust deniers, misogynists and Islamophobes for more than three decades, so I’ve kind of gotten used to horrible.  I know how to push back at horrible people, too.  I’m not bad at it.

And, just so we’re clear: I’m talking about platforms, not talking.  I’m going to keep doing this web site.  I’m a keynote speaker at a political conference this weekend.  I’m on a political panel at a big conference on Monday.  I’ve got another book, my tenth, coming out next month.  In other words, I plan to keep shouting at passerby – but how?

So, a question.  What do you, regular readers of this nearly-twenty-years-old-website-that-isn’t-a-blog, want me to do?  Come back to those platforms, or no? Yes to Twitter, no to Facebook? The reverse? Instagram Joey pictures and nothing else?

I read every comment y’all make.  Every one.  Most I approve, the defamatory and stupid ones I don’t.  There are rules, you know.

So, tell me what you think.  I may put up a poll to solicit views, but those Internet polls are total crap, as you know.  They’re wildly wrong, 20 times out of 20.

Comment away instead.  And, I may or may not share your comments with Elon Musk.

Not sure he’ll listen, but maybe it’ll save him a few million bucks.


That’s how you do it, Canada

You don’t hire him again. You suspend him.

From CNN:

A high school teacher has been placed on administrative leave in California after he wore blackface to school on Halloween, according to the Milpitas Unified School District.


A video posted on social media shows the teacher with his face painted black and dressed up in an apparent attempt to imitate the rapper Common.
Milpitas High School Principal Francis Rojas and MUSD Superintendent Cheryl Jordan said in a statement that the teacher, who has not been named, was suspended and now is under investigation for the “disparaging” act.


“In a school community where we welcome learners and families from over 50 languages who represent cultures and religions throughout the world, and where our long-standing neighborhood, Sunnyhills, was established as the first city in the nation for planned integration, it hurts to know that this type of cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness still hovers in the background,” reads the statement.


Chris Norwood, the MUSD school board president, called the teacher’s actions “inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive,” according to an online statement.
“As an African American man, the history of Blackface reminds me of the cruelty, hatred and fear my parents and people of African Ancestry have dealt with in the past and still experience today around the world,” Norwood said.


Gay kids, trans kids, are made in God’s likeness

…how could they not be?

Read Rosie, who is at her passionate best, here.

Oh, and she quotes what the Pope and the relevant Ontario minister have to say.

Heed them, not the haters.

Pope Francis: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?I am glad that we are talking about homosexual people because before all else comes the individual in his wholeness and dignity. People should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.”

Minister Lecce: “My message to the board is quite clear. My expectation is that every child, irrespective of differences, can see themselves reflected in school and, more importantly, that (the board) will adhere to the Ontario Human Rights Code.”


Good start.

Maybe it’ll even work.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is preparing to meet with opposition leaders as the Liberals start to map out how they will govern in a minority Parliament and identify a legislative agenda that other parties will support.

The Liberal Leader has kept a low profile since the election two weeks ago where he lost his majority government but hung onto the prime minister’s job. Behind the scenes, the Liberals have been working on the transition to a minority government, where they will need the support of either the Conservatives, NDP or Bloc Québécois to pass legislation.

Mr. Trudeau’s office reached out to all four opposition leaders, spokesperson Chantal Gagnon said Sunday. The Conservatives, NDP and Greens all confirmed their leaders will meet with the Prime Minister some time in the week of Nov. 11.


“Our culture is dying because we have no capacity for forgiveness or discussion.”

Cancel culture, so-called, interests me. Two reasons.

First reason: Barack Obama decried it recently, and what he said made a lot of sense. Here’s part of what he said:

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids. And share certain things with you.

The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that’s enough. That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”

Second reason: I’ve been “cancelled,” a bit. Someone broke into our files at the office, and stole some material. What they stole has found its way into the hands of others – mainly a reporter in Ottawa – who, inter alia, has sought to depict a gang of racists as victims, and demonize us for helping a group pro bono. Cancellers thereafter got to work.

It’s been weird, to say the least. I had more than 42,000 followers on Twitter, but I turned that off. I had thousands on three different Facebook platforms, too, but I logged out of those. You could say I self-cancelled, I guess. The invitations to kill myself got to be a bit much, so, bye. See ya.

Cancellation often happens because someone is seen as insufficiently ideologically pure. Sometimes, however, it happens because some people just dislike you, or disagree with you, and they want you to bleed.

This lengthy New York Times piece on cancellation mainly focusses on people who have been cancelled for ideological reasons. Quillette’s Jonathan Kay makes an appearance in there, too.

(Disclosure: Kay used to be my editor at the National Post, and – if nothing else – he’s always been pretty absolutist when it comes to speech issues. We weren’t buddies, to say the least, but he was right when he years ago said to me that the orthodoxy of progressives would – like a snake – one day start to consume itself.)

Anyway. Here’s some snippets from the Times piece. It’s a fascinating read.

“…The term for people who have been thrust out of social or professional circles in this way — either online or in the real world or sometimes both — is “canceled.”

…Readers want to hear from the canceled, but the larger motivation is philosophical. Quillette’s editorial point of view is that so-called cancel culture is overly punitive and lacks nuance. 

“When I went to law school, in the ’90s, the presumption of innocence was seen as a progressive value,” Mr. Kay said. “Because who is mostly wrongly accused of crime? Racialized minorities. Blacks, Hispanics, the poor. More often than not, it protects marginalized communities. And now the presumption of innocence is seen as a conservative value. And that troubles me.

…Cancellation does present a question about power, and who has it.

“The biggest problem we have as a culture is that we can’t define who the establishment is,” Mr. Tavana said. “Is the establishment the woke media people who own 99 percent of the keyboards in the country, or is it the old, canceled guys in media? Who’s the punk rock band and who’s the corporate rock band?”

Mr. Rubin imagines a near future where everyone is canceled for 15 minutes.

“The woke progressives are going to implode, and pretty soon they’ll destroy everything,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how much will they take down with them. They’re going to cancel Barack Obama one day, because Obama ran against gay marriage at one time.” 

Mr. Shapiro said, “Our culture is dying because we have no capacity for forgiveness or discussion.”


Reality check: Scheer, Conservatives and homophobia

Some Conservatives want Andrew Scheer out. Fine. It’s their party, and they can have a fight if they want to. Whatever.

But some of the Scheer critics are saying they oppose him because he isn’t pro-LGBTQ. In fact, some suggest, he may even be homophobic.

Maybe so, maybe not. All I know is I let him know what I think about him and LGBTQ folk just before the election. It’s here.

But what of the Conservative Scheer critics? What about them? Were they critiquing the Tory leader for his crypto-homophobia before the election? They were, weren’t they? They were as courageous before the election as they are now, right?

I’ll spare you a lot of Google time. They were not.

In fact, some of Scheer’s most ardent critics on the LGBTQ issue had positions that were…well, I’ll let you decide.

Here’s some stuff that Michael Coren said on Sun News Network, back when it was around. Lisa and I used to refuse to go on his show, because it was so hateful and homophobic.

Oh, and here’s the wording of a wildly homophobic ad that ran on Sun News Network in the Coren era.

Anyway.  There’s a lot more of that out there, if you want to go looking for it.  I don’t.

Consistency: that’s my point.  Criticize Andrew Scheer’s retrograde views on the LGBTQ community, by all means.  He deserves it.

But don’t do it if you’re guilty of the same sin.