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Friday, October 08, 2010

But Bloggers Are the Crazy Ones

From time to time I run into professional writers, usually of an older generation, who love to crap on bloggers. The unpaid hacks of the online world, I am told, simply lack the skills and professionalism of their paid counterparts. "Amateurs," they sniff. 

My reply is a simple one, explain how Heather Mallick is anymore professional, or competent, than the typical blogger. I don't mean the better bloggers, I mean the statistical average. The drooling dolts whose idea of deep analysis extends no further than "Wall Street is Bad," or "Muslims are Bad," depending on political lean. I have yet to hear an intelligent reply. Jonathan Kay dissects the Mallick:

Several people have emailed me a link to Heather Mallick’s column about Rob Ford in today’s Toronto Star, claiming that it’s her most disgusting piece of writing ever. I’ll admit that there’s a strong argument for this: Mallick’s column is based around the idea that voting in Rob Ford as Toronto’s mayor would somehow be akin to a desperate female bar-fly having a blind-drunk one-night stand with an oaf she meets at closing time. Much of the column is composed of a sort of reverie in which Mallick describes this hypothetical drunken episode. She gets back to Ford in the last few paragraphs, but it feels tacked on.

Just imagine Maureen Dowd, without the writing ability. It's not that Mallick is a Leftist. This isn't about the correctness of her ideas, just the inept defense of those ideas. It is true that she attracts a lot of attention, but only in the sense that a crazy bag-lady on a subway car attracts attention. Take this bit of nonsense:

Two years ago, I happened to be covering a University of Toronto conference of abortion-rights supporters where Mallick was a featured speaker. The prospect of regulating abortion should not even be up for discussion, Mallick said. In her opinion, the only reason pro-life voices occasionally make it into the media is that impotent, decrepit middle-aged male  editors subconsciously endorse abortion as a means to “control” the lithe young bodies that they are no longer capable of conquering sexually. She actually said this to a room full of people.

And it's conservatives and libertarians who lack nuance. If Ms Mallick ever emerges from that cave in the Don Valley, she might meet some actual anti-abortion activists. Some of those activists are women, in fact most of the ones I've met are women. For militant feminists they are female Uncle Toms, useful idiots for the patriarchy. They see themselves rather differently. 

For an old misogynist like Publius, the existence of female anti-abortionists isn't at all surprising. Most women have a maternal instinct. The women are men brigade will deny this vigorously, but anyone who has ever seen women interact with children, especially babies, knows this is bunk. If you believe life begins at conception, and have carried a child to term, the idea of abortion is horrifying. "Life" is not an abstract philosophical discussion, but something living and growing inside you. Years ago Elsie Wayne, who was a Red Tory in many but not all ways, literally screamed at a party conference about "killing babies."

Over the top? Yes, but at some level this is kind of how you want a grandmother to feel, if not talk. An instinctive defense of life and the vulnerable. Perhaps it's misguided, but the intention is a noble one. It's one shared by many women, including those with "lithe young bodies." Yet confronted with an issue so complex, and so emotionally fraught, where people of wide education and high intelligence disagree violently, Heather Mallick can only come up with third-rate, hand-me-down, Freudianism. 

Posted by Richard Anderson on October 8, 2010 | Permalink


Although I personally find Rob Ford to be an imbecile, Mallick's piece made cringe.

Perhaps some sort of death match could be arranged between Mallick and her equally loathsome counterpart Sue-Ann Levy.

Posted by: TorontoTim | 2010-10-08 6:01:06 AM

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