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TSE  August 2001

TSE August 2001

Subject:

Re: Essays In Criticism

From:

Tom Gray <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 30 Aug 2001 05:00:08 -0700 (PDT)

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (94 lines)


--- [log in to unmask] wrote:
> In a message dated 8/29/01 10:11:55 PM Eastern
> Daylight Time, 
> [log in to unmask] writes:
> 
> 
> > So maybe someone non-literary would not choose to
> rent Hamlet, but such a 
> > person may rent "The Fisher King" or "Midnight in
> the Garden of Good and 
> > Evil" - which will benefit's that person's
> perspective.  Not everyone can 
> > do 
> > 
> 
> You wouldn't believe me if I told you that the world
> is full of people who 
> read wrestling magazines. 
> 
There are other forms of this 'wrestling magazine'
syndrome. Recently in Canada a major newspaper
publisher named Conrad Black has decided to sell his
Canadian newspapers, renounce his citizenship and to
live permanently in the UK. He is the publisher of the
major UK newspaper The Telegraph among others. In the
early 1990s Black created a revolution in newspaper
publishing in Canada by dramatically increasing the
number of viewpoints that were visible. He founded a
major national daily and acquired chains of newspapers
that served the major cities. 

Previous to Black Canadian newspapers were all the
same. There was an acceptable viewpoint and the only
columnists that subscribed to that viewpoint were
published. This of course led to the expected result.
Canadian newspapers aspired to mediocrity and
sometimes were able to achieve it. 

Black challenged this idea that only the bland and
acceptable could be permitted and hired columnists
from all points of view with what seemed like an only
requirement of aspitation to excellence. In Canada
this was seen by the establishment as an outrageous
political act. To read a newspaper column with long
words and unfamiliar ideas with sometimes quotes from
Aristotle was considered un-Canadian.  It was British
as Black aspired to be and even worse since Black was
not afraid of international competition it would
expose us to the worst fate of all. It would make us
like Americans.

What passes for an intelligentsia in Canada reads
books. They interview each other on our very proper
public broadcaster the CBC. However they do not read
to challenge their ideas and learn. They read to
confirm their own prejudices, the evils of their
opponents and their absolute virtue. 

A clear example of this occurred recently when the
leader of the public school teachers' union in Ontario
commented on the prospect of tax credits to parents
who send their children to private schools. The
teachers' unions until recently effectively controlled
the curriculum and day to day operations of all
schools in Ontario. This control has been challenged
by a new government which among other things has
proposed the tax credits. (It has also proposed that
the ability to read effectively be a requirement for
high school graduation but that is another story.)
According to a union president the private school
option is unacceptable because private schools are
racist, homophobic and sexist. To educate children in
'diversity' there needs to be a common viewpoint
taught to them in universal public schools. Needless
to say uniform diversity is a very advanced concept
understandable only to senior members of the Canadian
intelligentsia.

This wilful ignorance and the rejection of the
challenging is not uniquely Canadian but it does
exactly describe what goes for the public debate in
Canada. It is the 'wrestling magazine' syndrome. It is
no exaggeration to say that Black is hated by a large
proportion of the political class in Canada. This is
the result not of his politics but because he is not
afraid of ideas. Black challenges the uniform
diversity principles of a class of educateded
illiterate literates

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