Dispatch from the Front Line: More petty-ante beer-league bullshit
On men who are not victims. And lobster.
Hello! We’re back! Enjoying your fading summers? We hope so.
We’ve got lots to talk about today, but let’s knock a few quick house-cleaning items off the list first.
Remember, these emails may not fully display in your email client. If you run into any abrupt mid-sentence ends, just click the headline and read it all on the website.
We are raising our subscription rates after Labour Day. To clarify something we were asked about by a reader, if you are a current subscriber, you’re fine. That rate will remain locked in for as long as your subscription remains active. If you unsubscribe or allow it to lapse, and then re-subscribe after Labour Day, you’ll get dinged the new, higher rate. So we encourage you, for your own sake, to sign up now. We’ll give you one final warning next week, then you’re on the hook.
Our first in-person event in Toronto is coming up in October. We are thrilled to now have a few sponsors lined up, but we’re interested in more! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss an offer! Sponsors are obviously going to be included in our event!
And now, enjoy our video.
The podcast version is here, if you prefer that.
In a column here during the pandemic, Line editor Jen Gerson observed that for those caught up in a mental-health crisis, it's hard to see it when you're in it. Crazy people don't realize they're crazy — that's a big part of the problem. The other Line editor has often thought back to that insight — it applies to a lot more than just mental health, right? You can’t see a lot of things when you’re in them — it all gets normalized. As a friend of The Line once quipped, you can’t smell your own house. And in that spirit, during his recent jaunt outside of the country (and the continent), he found himself reflecting on how Canada looks with a few thousand miles and a few weeks of distance.
Crazy. It looks crazy.
Not that Europe doesn't have problems of its own. The Line is well aware of the habit of Canadian journalists to travel abroad and be wowed by what they see and then immediately declare their wish that we had more of that here. Even when there's merit to it, it's a pretty tired trope, and we'll take a pass on it this time. (The trains, though. By God, are they wonderful.) The point isn't to deny that Europe has problems, or even to compare our problems to theirs. It's simply to note it takes only a little distance from the daily headlines to realize how grotesquely dumb they are, on every side and coming from every direction.
Line editor Gurney tried to tune out the news while on holiday — he really did. Even so, he couldn't help but notice some of what Line editor Gerson referred to so aptly as "dumbfuckery" in a recent column: Justin Trudeau's dumbfuck comments on Meta and C-18; Andrew Scheer's dumbfuck comments on the entirely routine practice of multiple news services running the same article and headline, both written by one of the wire agencies Canadian news outlets subscribe to. Both of these men are smart enough to know that what they're saying is abject dumbfuckery. They know what they're doing. But they do it anyway because they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that some of their supporters are either not smart enough to catch the dumbfuckery, or will decide to pretend they're dumb enough to fall for it, in the service of spreading dumbfuck outrage ever further and wider.
Since Gurney has arrived back from the continent, he's seen other issues like this popping up, like Chrystia Freeland's speeding ticket — both the outrage and the counter-outrage. (He did think the Sun front page was art, though.) In recent days, the federal small business minister sharing a video of herself eating a lobster roll in Prince Edward Island has been driving just absolutely mind-rotting stupidity, both in criticism and in counter-criticism, as partisans on both sides jump in.
Everyone? Hello? Human race? It's a fucking lobster roll. We don’t need to pretend a minister can’t afford a sub-$20 sandwich.
Was the video a bit tone deaf, given grocery costs and the cost-of-living challenges many Canadians face today? Yeah. It was, we think. A bit. It struck us as yet another sign that the one thing the Liberals used to always be fairly good at — communications — is something they are increasingly not good at.
But, like, that's it. That's our analysis. It barely moves the needle on the give-a-shit meter, because it's just a fucking lobster roll. Honestly. It's. A. Lobster. Roll. The fact that purportedly serious people want to craft a meta-narrative about a lobster roll, and that different people, also purportedly serious, want to go out and argue with those people, is just an appalling testimony on Canadians as a people and, perhaps, humans in general.
You know why? Because it's a lobster roll, you morons. It's in-season lobster meat, some mayo and a lightly toasted bun. That's it. And before that, it was a speeding ticket, and before that, it was a Canadian Press article, and before that, it was the PM playing dumb at a press conference ... and so on and so on.
When The Line launched just over three years ago, in our very first note to our readers, we said this: "We want to call out illiberalism, hypocrisy, and bullshit wherever we find it, without worrying about a backlash on Twitter or in a corporate boardroom. We want to swear in print, goddammit."
We've certainly accomplished the swearing part. And we hope we've done a good job with the rest of it. Simply putting up our hand and calling bullshit on some of the manifest bonkers insanity out there isn't just something we enjoy doing, it's something we consider to be absolutely central to our mission and purpose.
So yeah. The lobster roll, the CP wire copy, the Meta bashing, the speeding ticket — bullshit. All of it. Everyone involved, playing attack or defence — bullshitters. This stuff is all a distraction, or worse, a con. We are all being had, played by people, including those at the very top of both the Liberal and Conservative parties, who are deliberately dumbing down our politics and our broader society because they see advantage in it.
It's corrosive, it's toxic, and it's hurting us. And everyone who takes part — even if they think they're opposing it — is actually just feeding the fires that are gonna burn us all. So please. Stop it. This isn't helping anyone.
Oh, and as for Gurney? He went out for a lobster roll and is expensing it to The Line. He got some crabcakes, too. They were excellent. There's a donate button at the bottom of this dispatch. Chip in and cover his lunch tab, eh?