Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tell Me All About Your Precious Wounded Feelings.

Journalists who feel no compunction about being irritating, wrong, annoying and insulting to anyone they please should really have rather a thicker skin when an object of their axe-jobs (in this case, myself) resorts to the impudence of turning the tables just the tiniest a bit and having a bit of fun in pointing out what bores they are (in this case, Charlie Smith, editor of the Vancouver newsweekly, the Georgia Straight).

To a couple of Charlie's recent attention-getting devices at my expense, I am happy to draw attention. The first is a sprawling, inaccurate and incoherent tempter tantrum that masquerades as a review of my most recent book, headlined Terry Glavin Is Up To His Old Tricks in Come From The Shadows. Now, to be clear, when you write a book you should expect everything from praise to sophomoric calumny to nasty personal attack. You put yourself out there, it comes with the territory. So fair enough that I should now and again be allowed a laugh, I would have thought.

Now, Charlie Smith most recently, most humorlessly and predictably couldn't resist taking another shot that revives his previous insult in a smear that takes on a decidedly conspiracist tone. It appears to rely for evidence solely on an article Charlie himself wrote 13 years before. I do confess that after I saw that I couldn't resist making a bit of fun about it. My mistake. It seems I upset him.

In comments below his whatever-it-is about my upcoming March 8 talk at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, Charlie responds with hurt feelings to my fun-poking, thus: "Terry Glavin couldn't resist taking shots at me on his site for being a friend of the 9/11 truth movement, even though I've never written a word on this subject in my life. This type of attack was fully expected when I published this post. I feel I understand why some writers have a compulsive need to slash and attack others."

Actually, I made only glancing mention of what Charlie refers to when he describes himself as "being a friend of the 9/11 truth movement" and it wasn't the sound that slashing and attacking makes. It is what laughing sounds like. Still, poor Charlie. Sorry to offend. But wait. Now that he mentions it: Never written a word on the "9/11 truth movement" in his life? Really?

I can set aside the fact that he's the editor of the Georgia Straight - that's his job - and that I stopped counting the public-relations jobs the Truthers were getting into the newspaper Charlie edits right around the time I stopped reading it (and it hasn't stopped, I see, just in recent months, here's one, and here's one, and here's another, and here's another). Oh, wait, here's an article about Truthers Charlie himself wrote since then. Maybe that doesn't count for some reason, but I don't know why I should set aside a certain news article that Charlie himself most certainly did write under the headline U.S. antifascist to warn Vancouverites about dangerous global elites.

Straight away you should notice that Charlie not only wrote in the most flattering and promotional fashion about a prominent and especially crazy Truther. You should also know that Charlie either lacked the decency or the competence or the time before deadline to let his readers in on the fact that they were reading a hagiographic promo of a certain U.S. Lieutenant.-Colonel Bob Bowman that strangely fails to mention who it was that brought Bowman to Vancouver in the first place, or why, or indeed anything at all relevant about who Bowman really is.

Bowman is perhaps the highest profile member of the "They Let It Happen" sect among 911 conspiracy theorists. Charlie's article makes no mention of the fact that Bowman was presented to him by the Vancouver 911 Truth Society, which was openly and quite unsurprisingly presenting Bowman to Vancouverites as part of the far-right 911 / Patriot Tour, and for some reason Charlie chose the term "antifascist group" to describe what is in fact a well-known far-right 911 Conspiracy outfit.

Neither would you know it from reading Charlie's article that Bowman is also an infamous religious crackpot who claims to be the real pope and lords it over his very own Holy See from some hicktown in Florida. Charlie also somehow managed to fail to tell his readers anything about Bowman's scandalous counseling of the American military class to mount a putsch against the American government, beginning with the "detention of executive branch officials."

To remind: "Terry Glavin couldn't resist taking shots at me on his site for being a friend of the 9/11 truth movement, even though I've never written a word on this subject in my life."

Not to be too hair-splitting or niggling about accuracy - and this is wholly unsolicited advice, I concede - but perhaps this would have been better: "I've never written a word on this subject in my life that was either accurate or honest enough to even allow my readers to know that despite all appearances, and they would never have guessed from my article, but the 9/11 truth movement was exactly what I was writing about."

Just a suggestion is all. Perhaps it's a bit wordy. This is not to "slash and attack" anyone, least of all any fellow writers, humourless or otherwise. It is rather intended as a small contribution to civic hygiene.

It is a gesture of solidarity with all those of my fellow writers, especially writers of books - and come to think of it with any number of people I could count - who know the feeling, when nasty insinuations and abuses of all stripe are catapulted in one's direction out of the pages of newspapers and magazines, that one is expected to just sit there and shut up and take it.


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