20 September 2006

Gobsmacker of the week: Jan Wong's writings are offensive

There's a reason why I read Toronto's nationally distributed rag very selectively.

My careful habits have apparently been confirmed with the reaction to Jan Wong's September 16th column that argued, in effect that the recent shootings in downtown Montreal have something to do with Quebec society.

Now, those who are on my messenger know that I jokingly had a comment about banning guns in Quebec only, but there's just no way that I could have sparked the flurry of condemnation Wong earned. Aside from the prime Minister's simple letter to the Globe, there's a rather lengthy one from Quebec premier Jean Charest. And besides, I wasn't being serious. There have been three serious mass shootings in Montreal but there has been the scattered one elsewhere in Canada as well. Kimveer Gill's rampage isn't a uniquely Quebec phenomenon.

But here's one thing that all the commentators seem to have missed:

Jan Wong is famous for writing scathingly critical columns. It's her schtick. Remember that the most famous series she did for the Globe was her lunch columns in which only the completely moronic sat at lunch with her so she could write catty remarks about them later on. To engage Wong in a conversation for print was to declare yourself a masochist or someone who had a deep and abiding psychological need to relive the public excoriation of a Maoist self-criticism session.

In that context no one - not the Prime Minister and certainly not the Quebec Premier - should waste an ounce of energy discussing Wong's scribbles. They don't deserve it. She provided absolutely no insight into the events in Montreal and her comments on Quebec society are facile.

Her piece is as worthy of attention as the rantings of the callers to Open Line shows in Newfoundland who think that Canadian Idol was rigged. Incidentally, an ex-pat Newfoundlander now living in Iqaluit has some very accurate observations on the Idol racket including noting that our province is fast slipping into national irrelevance due in no small measure to a collective tendency to whine about just about everything.

I went back to read Wong's column because of the minor flurry of criticism she has received.

Obviously, I didn't miss much.

I did, however, confirm my practice of reading the Globe very selectively.

And to be sure, anything involving Jan Wong has been off my reading list for a very long time.

I'd suggest others join me.