Media: let's bury the party beneath praises of Jack

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JeffWells
Media: let's bury the party beneath praises of Jack

Warren Kinsella - who still dreams of revitalizing the Liberals by "uniting the left" (ie, absorbing the NDP) - "paid tribute" to Jack Layton in the Conservative [url=http://www.torontosun.com/2011/08/22/democracy-has-suffered-a-terrible-l... Sun[/url] - which "broke" the Layton massage parlour "scandal" (for which Kinsella believed Layton [url=http://warrenkinsella.com/2011/04/kcccc-day-36/]needed to apologize[/url]) - by writing:

Kinsella wrote:
For his NDP - because it was his NDP - sad and bad times lay ahead. There is no possibility, none, that they can ever expect to maintain what they achieved with Jack Layton.

Nor can the party's blasé dismissal of a union with the Liberals be allowed to remain unchallenged. Our democracy will suffer if the Harper government is not facing an effective Opposition. All of us - Stephen Harper included - need the NDP and the Liberals to consider the gravity of the moment, and abandon their pride and hubris. Now, more than ever, progressives need to come together for the good of Canadian democracy.

Jack knew that it would happen:

Jack Layton wrote:
To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

 

Conservative and Liberal pundits - and that represents, scattered lone voices excepted, our pundit class - are using this occasion to bury the Left and the NDP by praising Jack. It's grave dancing done up like a dirge, and it's not fooling me.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

If only it were all praise. 

I refrained yesterday from mentioning Christie Blatchford's opinion piece in the National Post yesterday. 

Now they have followed it up with  Jonathan Kay's article in the same paper today.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
I refrained yesterday from mentioning Christie Blatchford's opinion piece in the National Post yesterday.

Me too, Winston. What a disgusting piece. rabble.ca editor emirita, writer, had this to say: "I want to thank Christie Blatchford for providing such a vivid contrast to the words Jack Layton chose to leave us with before his great departure. They will have a longer, richer, more vivid life than the very best of Blatchford's work. That can be a tough burden for the small-hearted professional hack."

I don't even want to touch the Kay piece. What a fucking rag that "paper" is.

josh

It's takes both extraordinary courage and breadth of vision for an editor to praise one his columnists in his own newspaper.  Not to mention in such restrained language:

 

"When I read these words, I got that feeling I always get when reading a truly great columnist."

 

 

6079_Smith_W

On the actual coverage though, I was pleased to hear CBC radio lead the question of the party's future with a comment from someone who said she intends to stay with the party despite Layton's death. Of course they followed that with someone who said the party had a challenge ahead.

 

Anonymouse

For all the bile, there have been many more nice articles about Jack. I think he would want us to focus on the positive.

6079_Smith_W

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/now-no-one-stands-in-stephe...

The article is actually better than the headline. 

JeffWells

Anonymouse wrote:

For all the bile, there have been many more nice articles about Jack. I think he would want us to focus on the positive.

 

Very true. Though he did anticipate, in his final letter, that there would be voices telling New Democrats that with his death the party's over. I think it's important to call out the pundits and editorial boards doing so.

 

pogge

The tweet that won the internet yesterday evening:

Quote:
I admire the courage Christie Blatchford has shown in her long battle against sensitivity and good taste.

writer writer's picture

Thank you, Catchfire! The longer the media keeps trying to fit the current NDP into their old political narratives, the more irrelevant they will be seen as they continue to miss the story, caught short by what unfolds.

We just had a little tremor, with an epicentre in Virginia. Writer ‎Justin Stayshyn commented, "Please tell me the earth just swallowed up Christie Blatchford."

edmundoconnor

How much money would have to change hands to make Blatchford never commit another word to publication?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Well, Ms Blatchford may very well have ensured that her own death will be greeted with howls of laughter, snorts of derision, and choruses of "Good riddance to ..." . OTOH, perhaps knowing that that is in store for her ANYWAY, maybe she's just getting a head start on revenge.

Peter3

It is not a bad thing that Blatchford and Kay have soiled themselves in public. It will haunt them.

Roscoe

How do 'the left' intend to take down Steven Harper when the default response to any whiff of criticism is whiny complaining about the author and the newspaper. 

Blatchford, like Mallick and any number of other writers peddle their scribblings to media based not on gravitas and irreproachable integrity but on how much they can stir the pot to sell advertising.

Jack would react by turning the criticism into an opportunity. You lot turn it into a pity party - not for Jack's letter but for yourselves.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Stay classy, Roscoe.

Debater

The media seems very positive towards Jack this week - even people like Andrew Coyne who used to bash him and who took glee in the coalition's downfall in 2009 ("I just loved the look on Jack Layton's face when Ignatieff knifed the coalition") were very praiseworthy and overflowing in their praise for Jack last night.

But yes, as you say, there may be respect and love for Jack as a person from the media, but that does not mean they are going to let up on their criticism of the NDP party itself.

Doug

To be fair, when Brian Mulroney kicks it, I don't imagine that all left-wing columnists will choose not to speak ill of the dead.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The "left" will never get to monopolize or dominate public discussion about the death of an honoured right wing dead and you know it.  Even in the current circumstances what's obvious to me is how much the right wing is allowed to put out their vile metanarratives on Jack Layton. Have a nice day.

Lens Solution

Have you ever wondered what determines longevity?  I suppose a lot of it just comes down to the genetics you get, but it seems that a lot of horrible people tend to live long lives and keep going year after year (eg. Dick Cheney) while much nicer individuals get struck down early.

Ripple

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjCyZ2P9bCA]You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.[/url]

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

At the time it was good to see the late Sir Alec Guiness getting the wide acclaim in this part of the world that he had already received across the Atlantic in the UK. Who cares what shlock he got it for; the character he played, simple as it was, was much loved. I was a huge Guiness fan in those days ... his films with Ealing Studios and as Gulley Jimson in the film version of The Horse's Mouth were legendary.

Jack Layton did a fine job right to the end, with failing hands, of passing on the torch in an orderly way and drawing attention away from himself. We should all be so neat and tidy.

JKR

As far as dealing with negativity, the media's and otherwise, Jack's parting words are instructive:

A letter to Canadians

Quote:

Love is better than anger.

Hope is better than fear.

Optimism is better than despair.

So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.

And we’ll change the world.

writer writer's picture

I posted this elsewhere, and it seems to be resonating with others. Thought it might give some context for folks here – especially those who might not be aware of Toronto media / political history:

Blatchford would have been ridiculing Jack since she was a [Toronto] Sun writer and he was a gay-positive bike-riding jovial left-wing kook of an alderman.

I can only begin to imagine how much it has burned the right that used to belittle him constantly in this city. His star rose far beyond anything they've had to contribute, or could contribute, to our civic life.

The bitterness Blatchford has revealed is deeply held. It is the rage of a frustrated hack who predicted only humiliation and failure for Jack. Having missed the mark so widely, she has tried to fulfill her own prophesies with a miserable piece of drivel that only illustrates how miserly she is, and always has been. And how generous, positive and bursting with euphoric life Jack Layton was in contrast.

Policywonk

Kinsella wrote:
For his NDP - because it was his NDP - sad and bad times lay ahead. There is no possibility, none, that they can ever expect to maintain what they achieved with Jack Layton.

Nor can the party's blasé dismissal of a union with the Liberals be allowed to remain unchallenged. Our democracy will suffer if the Harper government is not facing an effective Opposition. All of us - Stephen Harper included - need the NDP and the Liberals to consider the gravity of the moment, and abandon their pride and hubris. Now, more than ever, progressives need to come together for the good of Canadian democracy.

Kinsella may have missed the part about the Party defeating a resolution rejecting union with the Liberals. Beyond that, it is not worth commenting on.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I wonder if Blatchford filed her venemous piece before it became obvious that people across the nation were absolutely gutted by Jack's death and doing everything possible to express their respect for him. Kay jumping in to defend her just smacks of smarmy desperation.

dacckon dacckon's picture

Ignore the silly news commentators. Kinsella is a name I'd rather not hear for a couple of days.

ottawaobserver

Kay jumping in to defend Blatchford is him jumping in to defend the very large investment the Post probably made in hiring her. Wouldn't it be a shame if that was money down the toilet for them.

Anonymouse

Kinsella is the gift that keeps on giving. Every time he lifts his pen, Liberal credibility falls. 

He is like a Don Cherry of the Liberal party, always putting his foot in it, and approximately as profound and insightful.

My favourite Kinsella columns are the ones where he crows about how he loves negative advertising and how negative advertising done well (e.g. very negatively) works wonders and can part the Red Sea.

That being said, Kinsella is not a bad person, but he knoweth not what he does, just like Don Cherry Smile

KenS

I go away and there is at least some good news.

Blantchford at the Post?

I never read her drivel or commented when people talked about it. Life is too short. Now I wont even be seeing her name as often... and that smug picture.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

JKR wrote:

As far as dealing with negativity, the media's and otherwise, Jack's parting words are instructive:

A letter to Canadians

Quote:

Love is better than anger.

Hope is better than fear.

Optimism is better than despair.

So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.

And we’ll change the world.

 

[url=http://canadiandimension.com/articles/4112/]Jack's Final Message is a Recipe for Disaster[/url]

David Fennario wrote:
Jack’s final message might work on a personal level but its a recipe for disaster as a political strategy in the ongoing struggle against attacks by a corporate elite on our pensions, public healthcare and other rights and benefit, led by Stephen Harper.

Being loving and hopeful and optimistic won’t go very far with corporate scum like Harper. It will just make them worse.

Force only understands force.

My friends

Anger is better than fear

Solidarity is better than despair

So let us be angry and hopeful in solidarity

Against our oppressors

And together we can change the world.

knownothing knownothing's picture

M. Spector wrote:

JKR wrote:

As far as dealing with negativity, the media's and otherwise, Jack's parting words are instructive:

A letter to Canadians

Quote:

Love is better than anger.

Hope is better than fear.

Optimism is better than despair.

So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.

And we’ll change the world.

 

[url=http://canadiandimension.com/articles/4112/]Jack's Final Message is a Recipe for Disaster[/url]

David Fennario wrote:
Jack’s final message might work on a personal level but its a recipe for disaster as a political strategy in the ongoing struggle against attacks by a corporate elite on our pensions, public healthcare and other rights and benefit, led by Stephen Harper.

Being loving and hopeful and optimistic won’t go very far with corporate scum like Harper. It will just make them worse.

Force only understands force.

My friends

Anger is better than fear

Solidarity is better than despair

So let us be angry and hopeful in solidarity

Against our oppressors

And together we can change the world.

Be angry about the issues not hateful towards the person

We will never win with an angry stance, you have to kill them with kindness,

It sounds like you want violent revolution but we live in one of the most controlled police states in the world. If any serious revolutionary dissidence were to arise it would be cracked down so hard you wouldn't even know about it. Just look at Vic Toews, the guy thinks he is Robocop or something. 

You say one angry thing and they turn it against you and it sets you back so far look at Howrd Dean

adma

I think the *ideal* thing for the MSM would have been for the Jack funeral/wake to be a passionate partisanfest that backfired on the party, a la Paul Wellstone in 2002...

SRB

Some are trying to construct it as such:  http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1260532.html

knownothing knownothing's picture

adma wrote:

I think the *ideal* thing for the MSM would have been for the Jack funeral/wake to be a passionate partisanfest that backfired on the party, a la Paul Wellstone in 2002...

That is why I wanted Anne McGrath to publicly thank Harper at the funeral, not just out of decency but it would have been strategically the right move as well

ottawaobserver

SRB wrote:

Some are trying to construct it as such:  http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1260532.html

I felt that was just the headline, though. The rest of the story never supported the headline (and of course the reporters don't write the heads, the editors do).

ottawaobserver

knownothing wrote:

adma wrote:

I think the *ideal* thing for the MSM would have been for the Jack funeral/wake to be a passionate partisanfest that backfired on the party, a la Paul Wellstone in 2002...

That is why I wanted Anne McGrath to publicly thank Harper at the funeral, not just out of decency but it would have been strategically the right move as well

I know what you mean, but knowing some people in our movement, that might have led to some boos in the audience - which would have been still worse.

knownothing knownothing's picture

ottawaobserver wrote:

knownothing wrote:

adma wrote:

I think the *ideal* thing for the MSM would have been for the Jack funeral/wake to be a passionate partisanfest that backfired on the party, a la Paul Wellstone in 2002...

That is why I wanted Anne McGrath to publicly thank Harper at the funeral, not just out of decency but it would have been strategically the right move as well

 

I know what you mean, but knowing some people in our movement, that might have led to some boos in the audience - which would have been still worse.

I guess, but that is in itself a problem that I think Jack was trying to fix with his message, nobody should be booed especially for doing something respectful

ottawaobserver

Agreed.

adma

ottawaobserver wrote:

SRB wrote:

Some are trying to construct it as such:  http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1260532.html

I felt that was just the headline, though. The rest of the story never supported the headline (and of course the reporters don't write the heads, the editors do).

Or, it would support the headline were one to frame Stephen Lewis as some kind of dangerous radical-left firebrand.

Aristotleded24

knownothing wrote:
Be angry about the issues not hateful towards the person

We will never win with an angry stance, you have to kill them with kindness,

Exactly. There are many people who respect Layton immensely even though they voted for Harper this go around, and this approach is the way to win them over. Getting angry with them will only force their backs against the wall and more resolute in voting Conservative.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Bruce Livesey wrote:

There is nothing wrong about being optimistic and hopeful, of course. Yet I contend we are in a time when we need to see people on the left express more anger and less willingness to compromise. For 30 years, unions, social democrats, liberals and other progressives have caved into the right and the corporate sector in the hopes that by giving them something they will leave social programs, labour laws and other progressive institutions alone. And it never works. There is no such thing as enough for the right-wing. They see this willingness to compromise as a sign of weakness and they take advantage of it and demand more takeaways. And bit by bit we have seen our social safety net fray and the power of capital grow to the point it is now pretty much free to do whatever it pleases.

[url=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/progressive-economics-forum/2011/08/jack...

ottawaobserver

I read Bruce Livesay's piece and must say that I disagree with his conclusion. I'm not against a little righteous anger, but it doesn't change minds, and it doesn't make things better. And it only validates anger on the other side, which is toxic to our entire political system.

No, I think Jack was right that the way to not only combat the anger machine of the right-wing, but replace it, is to build hope.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Where have we heard that before? *cough*Obama*cough*

ottawaobserver

My criticism of Obama was that he did not use the language of hope for social democratic ends - and if you read his campaign manager's history of the campaign, never intended to. Their targets were very clearly Independents and Republicans, from the very beginning, and he clearly was interested in a politics of accomodation. That is a very different thing than what Jack was advocating.

Moreover, Obama (never having spent too long in actual political office) has been at sea when it comes to negotiating things. He just starts off with what he thinks the final compromise should be (giving away far too much in his own mind off the top, with nothing in return), and then digs his heels in.

The concept of "hope" doesn't need to be eternally wedded to those two other failings, in my mind.

Aristotleded24

ottawaobserver wrote:
My criticism of Obama was that he did not use the language of hope for social democratic ends - and if you read his campaign manager's history of the campaign, never intended to. Their targets were very clearly Independents and Republicans, from the very beginning, and he clearly was interested in a politics of accomodation. That is a very different thing than what Jack was advocating.

Moreover, Obama (never having spent too long in actual political office) has been at sea when it comes to negotiating things. He just starts off with what he thinks the final compromise should be (giving away far too much in his own mind off the top, with nothing in return), and then digs his heels in.

The concept of "hope" doesn't need to be eternally wedded to those two other failings, in my mind.

Yes, you got that point very well. I also wish to add that the Tea Party didn't suddenly spring up after Obama got elected, they were there shreiking loudly and hysterically in the lead up to November 2008. Their influence was marginal precisely because Obama was thought to offer something new. It was only after Obama failed to live up to that hope that the Tea Party moved in to fill that vacuum.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Stephen Lewis read an excellent eulogy to Jack Layton on the weekend. It can be read over here at the Toronto Star.

I found it angering, however, that Lewis tried to appropriate the words of Arundhati Roy in order to heap more - in this case, undeserving - praise on Jack Layton. Here is what I mean ...

Stephen Lewis wrote:
My wife Michele reminded me of a perfect quote from the celebrated Indian novelist, activist and feminist Arundhati Roy. Jack doubtless knew it. He might have seen it as a mantra. "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing."

She "reminded me of a perfect quote ..." , "He might have ..." blah blah. Neither Lewis nor Layton deserve to "borrow" Arundhati Roy's remark when they do NOT represent her views.  Sorry, your party is too damn right wing AND YOU KNOW IT. And so Lewis' remarks actually do harm to Jack Layton's memory by laying it on too thick and not being truthful.

The quote from Arundhati Roy comes from a statement she made in Brazil in 2003 at the World Social Forum. The title of her remarks was "Confronting Empire" and her actual statement can be listened to over here.

Her remarks were on the eve of the war crimes that the US and its axis of "willing" partners carried out on the Iraqi people.

Arundhati Roy wrote:
After all they have to make sure that it's only money, goods, patents and services that are globalized. Not the free movement of people. Not a respect for human rights. Not international treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear weapons or greenhouse gas emissions or climate change, or -- god forbid -- justice.

This is very clearly the elaboration of an ALTERNATIVE to globalization under capitalism and not capitalism with a human (ie, social democratic) face. NDP = Fail.

Arundhati Roy wrote:
We may not have stopped it in its tracks -- yet -- but we have stripped it down. We have made it drop its mask. We have forced it into the open. It now stands before us on the world's stage in all it's brutish, iniquitous nakedness.

Empire may well go to war, but it's out in the open now -- too ugly to behold its own reflection.

Roy IDENTIFIES Empire, what can be done to fight it, and so on. It's a good read and very clear.

Arundhati Roy wrote:
Killing people to save them from dictatorship or ideological corruption is, of course, an old U.S. government sport. Here in Latin America, you know that better than most.

Yes, and we know it here in Canada, where even our Social Democratic Party supported the NATO atrocities against the Libyan people. So spare us the bullshit, Stephen Lewis, and quit heaping praise where it's not deserved. And no, if the bombing campaign is no longer supported by the NDP after the horrific deeds have been already carried out ... that doesn't make up for supporting the war crimes in the first place.

The NDPs disturbing and slavish support for the Israeli militarist and racist regime is very well known on the left as well. A list could be made of such disturbing foreign policy approaches by the NDP. You get the idea.   FAIL.

Arundhati Roy wrote:
Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness -- and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we're being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling -- their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

Stephen Lewis should not be appropriating the words of Arundhati Roy to heap undeserving praise on Jack Layton like this. PERIOD.

...............................

 

It's a great quote. But the NDP does not live up to it and it does no favour to the memory of Jack Layton to pretend that, as the leader of the NDP, he lived up to it. Arundhati Roy here, and elsewhere, elaborates an anti-imperialist perspective - a perspective that our own discussion board babble supports - that is a genuine alternative to the world of Empire. And we need that ... because the World is at stake. Literally.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

It's quiet here and I'm thinking that my small, but important, point has no serious rebuttal. I encourage those who usually find themselves on the left IN the NDP - or left OF the NDP altogether -  to look at my claims here about the necessity for clarity on anti-imperialism, what this actually means, how it is not the same as the policies of the NDP (under Layton or under someone else) , and see if they don't agree with the general thrust of what I've written here. Anti-imperialism - what Roy has identified as resistance to Empire - is a step up from mainstram social democracy and is furthermore not identical to advocacy of some sort of socialist alternative. Anyway, any critique is welcome.

6079_Smith_W

@ ikosmos

I wouldn't take silence as consent or as evidence of an unassailable position.

Speaking only for myself, I don't feel comfortable having this kind ofdiscussion about someone's funeral service.

Where I see it differently than you is on the question of condemning someone based on one single issue, even  the one you raise, and by defining people based on your differences, rather than on how you agree. 

Feel free to set that standard for yourself, but I see it very differently, and seeing as it is an issue we run into regularly, I don't want to discuss it further here.

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

I'm not "condemning" anyone. (And you are one of those already yakking about who will replace the late J. Layton, ffs.) The point is a critique of Stephen Lewis' choice of quotes to describe the late Jack Layton and what I think is a misappropriation of someone else's eloquence. This thread was begun by someone who saw an effort by political rivals on the right and the MSM to harm the NDP by heaping excessive praise on Layton. In a way I'm saying that Lewis did the same thing.

I've waited an appropriate length of time to make such comments, IMHO. And my critique is ultimately of the NDP, and its weaknesses as I see it, and not really personally directed at Layton. I can hardly hold people accountable in the usual manner if their views are limited by the narrow horizons of the party they belong to and remain loyal to.

6079_Smith_W

ikosmos wrote:

(And you are one of those already yakking about who will replace the late J. Layton, ffs.) 

Not that I have a problem with that discussion - I don't - but other than mentioning that the NDP has a perfectly capable interim leader I haven't been taking part in the horse trading at all. I don't really consider myself an expert in that department.

But you brought up a completely different matter, as far as I see it.  I don't object to your right to think or speak your mind. But since you questioned what the lack of response might mean I figured I'd tell you how I feel about your comments.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Yea, ok, np. I remember babble when ANY claim would be challenged. babble-algia, eh?

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