Generally, I like Christy Blatchford’s writing in the Globe and Mail. She’s kind of right wing, like a harsher Margaret Wente, but that’s ok (Margaret is good to read as well). She handles the crime beat with aplomb and manages to convey the misery and suspense of that realm of existence. I like her take on the world and really want to read her book on Oka (Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us).
However, the article “Massaging Jack” that I just read in the Globe was really embarrassing for her as an author. It was kind of an underhanded hatchet job on the new leader of the opposition. Now I’ve never been crazy about Jack Layton either. He’s always so freaking cheerful, talks a lot about families in very vague terms, and what is it with that moustache anyway? Why does a guy who loves to bike to work look so much like a used car salesman? But Jack is a hard worker, learned to speak Mandarin (or maybe it was Cantonese, I don’t remember) and has been vaulted into an amazing position. I guess NDPers can now stop pining for the days of Ed Broadbent and get on with the task of watching over the government.
So I don’t care a great deal about what Jack was doing in the massage parlour (his wife says she’s ok with it) and Blatchford decided it didn’t matter either, but then wrote about a bunch of apparently hypocritical failings of Mr. Layton. I posted my responses to her article on the Globe website, but it will only be one of many so I’ve decided to let the faithful readers of my Blog see my reply as well. So here is what I posted for Christie:
“Ms. Blatchford: I enjoy many of your columns, but this one is ill informed and reflects poorly on you.
#1: I regularly have shiatsu and the amount of clothes you wear depends on your modesty but most should be taken off. It is completely untrue that it “traditionally doesn’t involve the removal of clothes” and it should be embarrassing to your journalistic pride to even write that.
#2: $120,000 is not a tremendous amount for two people to earn living in Toronto. It was legal for them to save money and live in a co op so what is your point exactly? Oh, that’s right, there is no point except a cheap shot.
#3: I too believe in public health care, and I also had hernia surgery at Shouldice clinic. They perform an amazing style of hernia operation which some hospitals are following, but many don’t. Our health care system is a patchwork of public mixed with private plans (dental treatment anyone? Eyeglasses?). Should Jack have checked into a public hospital and undergone an inferior operation just so you would feel happier about it?
I am really disappointed you wrote this article. It is beneath you (I hope). ”
I hope Ms. Blatchford returns to real journalism soon because I miss it already.