Friday, July 27, 2007

Odd & Ends

1. Cherniak continues to be all hot and bothered about the Ontario Liberal funding scandal being labeled a "slush fund", so he keeps repeating over and over that there was no slush fund. Fine by me. Let's just call it an illegitimate, irresponsible fund for currying favour with a declining voter base which the Liberals once could take for granted, but now have to earn, I mean buy, its vote.
But it's not a slush fund.

2. Final thoughts on the Warren Kinsella affair.

First, on the apology on his blog:

After threatening to equivocate, Kinsella opts for high moral ground by listing potential excuses, getting in a couple of digs at MPP's who were outraged by his sexism (you know the NDP is just retaliating for his smear of Cheri DiNovo and that he still opposes her fitness for office over something that happened more than 40 years ago, more on Lisa Macleod a little further down) by leaning on his record of standing up for women, and even a character reference from one of his editors. You know, things he might have done were he inclined to equivocate, but since he's not going to equivocate Warren Kinsella does the honourable thing and admits "he made a dumb, sexist mistake." And thus, he falls on his own sword, martyred for the betterment of sexist males everywhere.

Although I believe his apology to be sincere, it is telling that not once does he acknowledge the immediate victim, Lisa Macleod, of this sexist incident. In fact, Kinsella apologizes to virtually every woman in the world, except the one he most injured by his insensitive mistake. In fact, all he can say about Lisa Macleod amounts to I don't know what she's so upset about, she should be more rattled by her colleague Randy Hillier.

I don't think Warren Kinsella is a sexist. He's certainly no knuckle dragging Conservative, but I also don't think he's ideologically committed to ending sexism and other injustices. This was a sexist act and all the more dangerous for its innocence and banality. Because the moment we really need to worry about is when people start turning a blind eye to this type of thing. That's my whole point. As a Liberal ideologue, his arrogant commitment to personal gain and winning, even unscrupulously, is simply deeper than any commitment to progressive politics, to the disenfranchised and marginalized, to the poor, to a more just and equitable society. I'm struck that in his apology what he seems most contrite about is not his offending Lisa Macleod and women everywhere, but that the cartoon was tactically a stupid move that backfired. It cost the Liberals points in the race for re-election and made Kinsella look bad.

Second, on Warren's publishing of received emails. 

How can it not seem as a withdrawal of any contrition?  Kinsella's dumb sexist act  was simply wrong. To initiate the topic with "Survey says" undermines any previous sincerity. Even if everyone who wrote in agreed with Kinsella, it wouldn't change the fact that his action was wrong. Social justice is not a popularity contest. The threat of a "tyranny of the majority", as Mill well understood, is a serious flaw in majoritarianism. Regardless, it is the right and decent thing to do to personally apologize to about the only woman to whom Warren had yet not apologized. I commend him for contacting Lisa Macleod.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.


Raymaker said...

Please explain why the target of Kinsella's harmless satirical Photoshopping, Randy Hillier, doesn't earn your scorn.

As you know, but have blissfully ignored here, PC candidate Hillier shot a deer, then displayed its carcass in public for the media with the sign "Leona" around its neck, a not-so-subtle violent sexist attack on then-Ontario Environment Leona Dombrowsky.

It appears that you and Cheri DiNovo think Hillier's act of violent and threatening sexism is perfectly acceptable, as long as its directed toward a Liberal.

How does it feel to be blinded so badly by your hatred?

Goodwin Ginger said...

We think you too kind to Kinsella. He is a knuckle dragging sexist. Indeed, when it comes to racism and sexism Kinsella has but the most superficial comprehension of the issues. That is what marks him as a liberal and not a conservative. But when push comes to shove his instincts are...

Derrida said...

I don't know what's more puzzling?
That you somehow assume that, by my condemning banal, but no so "innocuous", acts of sexism, like Kinsella's, which serve only insidiously to perpetuate sexism, I somehow would endorse flagrant and twisted acts of sexism such as Hillier's.

Or that you who in your blog have variously referred to women as "douchebags" and "heinous cows" and who in full phallocentric splendour gushed at the thought of a certain person who "rocked with his cock out in Bangkok" would have any credibility when it comes to calling out sexists.

Derrida said...

goodwin ginger,

for any who haven't read this blog before, these are among the most intelligent and incisive folks in the blogosphere.

I get what you're saying, and in fact my point of departure exactly is that it would be too easy to simply call out Hillier and Kinsella as sexists. More important is to differentiate these two types of sexism and to discuss the conditions of possibility that engender this.

It is with this in mind that I link Kinsella to Liberal/Capitalist ideology of personal entitlement, narcissism, and win at all costs. One could of course link Hillier's visceral and incendiary sexism to a Conservative ideology of fear and intimidation. My point is simply that's it's no coincidence that sexism manifests itself the way it does through Hillier and Kinsella respectively.

And Kinsella's is no less insidious. In fact possibly even moreso. I'm reminded of Arendt's thesis on the banality of evil as the necessary condition for the spread of radical evil. Evil flourishes not only when good people do nothing, but when people of middling intelligence think badly.

I agree with you...