Thursday, August 10, 2006

Predictable, Warren

Well I guess that, strictly speaking, I was wrong in my predictions of the likely substance of Warren Kinsella's column in today's National Post. Though there was a certain amount of opportunistic toadying there to those who would be his sworn enemies under any other phase of the moon. And I really was a fool not to expect the inevitable slab of obtuse magnanimity that has become something of a trademark of Warren's; bestowed in this case upon that poor hapless sap Michael Ignatieff, about whom he (Kinsella) is quick to point out to us, he has "written critically" on other occasions. (Another ripe example of this safe self-effacement can be found on his website, under today's date, in re. accusations he once made in The Hill Times about the NDP being, as he puts it, "a repository of anti-Israel hatred.") Yes, okay, Warren. We get it. You are the very encapsulation of Voltaire's maxim.

That being the case, I feel honour-bound to point out that the article still doesn't really work. I was under the impression, in light of the touting the piece was given yesterday in the Post (i.e. "Are blogs the vanity press for the demented or a new way of reporting the news? Warren Kinsella presents two case studies"), and the very first line of the piece itself ("Blogs are a vanity press for the demented, some say"), that this might have been something in the nature of a dramatic study in contrasts. Instead, the cases presented consist of two rather fiddly, middle-of-the-road examples of defensible partisanship ... If Warren's 'some' had said that blogs are a vanity press for the informed mundane the exemplars would've been fine but, as it stands, I fail to see what, apart from the obvious, has been achieved here.

In any case, as I say, strictly speaking I fell somewhat short of the mark in my expectations. Strictly speaking, mind. The email I received from Warren this morning, though, proved my point rather well I thought. He had this to say:
Cool. I get whacked before you even read it! Let's move the markers, shall we? Whack me before I even think of something!
Which is, in and of itself, a totally fair comment. One, I freely admit, that I might've made myself had I come across something similar written about me. But the difference is: I would've said it. Under my breath, probably, but I might've shouted it at my computer screen too. What I definitely would not have done--particularly if I was a person of no small reputation; a lawyer, media critic for the National Post, and former assistant to former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien--is bother to write the offending soul in order to say it to him directly. That's just weird. Demented, if you will. And so you see: quod erat demonstrandum.

My reply:
Yes, well ... But you have kind of proved my point, you know (in spite of the fact that your column didn't quite go as predicted--which, in fairness, I intend to address in a posting today).

As for your challenge: in the next minute you will be thinking "I wonder what people think about me now." ... At some point today you will lament the non-existence of Google Thought.

... The man, as I mentioned yesterday, has done this before. And, it is important to note, he has done it to many, many others before too. It's the strangest thing. Indeed, his need to exact some form of verbal retribution (at his mildest) on anyone who dares take his apparently sacred name in vain has earned him something of an infamous reputation. At least, in the so-called blogosphere it has. It doesn't seem to want to stick anywhere else. Not explicitly anyway. But there (in the blogosphere, I mean), the name Warren Kinsella has become a byword for ... well, for lunatic. (To give an example: Kevin Libin, of the Western Standard, quips that "I don't want to get all Warren Kinsella on anyone here, but...")

Between his multitudinous filings of libel suits against various bloggers (one in particular ringing a rather sinister note given the insane amount of money involved), and the goopiness of sentimentality that characterizes so much of what he writes, one gets the distinct impression that the man is unwell. Clinically unwell. A megalomaniac perhaps? A sociopath? He is not, in any case, the "Prince of Darkness" of Canadian politics, as he wants so pitiably for us to think of him.

That being said, while Mark Bourrie--the defendant in the sinister libel aforementioned--insists that "We are not afraid of Warren Kinsella" ... I am.

(Although I must admit to feeling a certain affinity for the man. He complained recently of cyber-stalking (Aug. 6th) and, this morning, in spite of my embarrassingly minute readership, I too was made to suffer the digital gropings of some whacko. He touched my site enough to make a hooker blush. If only on this common ground, then: I hear you, brother.)