Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Twenty-Three.

Canada is debating ghettoizing women in the name of feminism.

The demented logic goes something like this:

Global News first reported back in June that the Liberals were considering the creation of an ambassadorship for feminism and gender equality, and saw it as a means to boost women’s involvement in peace and security around the globe.

Memo to the Liberals: women are people, too. So is it an ambassador for people and then one for women?

What kind of sick and sexist logic is that?

Bring up your ambassadorship up to code, so that we do not need that kind of degrading virtue-signalling and moral masturbation, thank you very much.

You bring equality with every position, not just one.

But government-based propaganda is nothing new. Set up a post with a snazzy and trendy title that all the middle class people are nattering about, and then point to the title whenever you are accused of not doing anything substantial as you raise taxes.

It is the Age of Propaganda, after all.

And these days, it is not just the government in the act of duplicity for amoral ends.

Journalism enabled a lot of government propaganda over the decades. The Chicago Tribune openly wondered about it with this headline:

Reporters used to bury the dark secrets of powerful men. Why it's different now.

Because social media won’t let you play that game anymore. The press came into it kicking and screaming.

They even hid their dark secrets from the public, as we are now well aware of NBC’s antics.

But there is still no transparency in that dead profession.

Once upon a time politicians and tycoons would manipulate the press with their operatives who would leak out damaging gossip about their opponents in order to rig the outcomes.

These days, as there is no journalism, only propaganda, those rich tycoons are openly paying for partisan operatives to spew.

Take a look at this article:

News Site to Investigate Big Tech, Helped by Craigslist Founder

It is not journalism. It is partisan war games of agitprop The operatives are those mislabeling themselves as “journalists”, always with the false halo of doing “public good.”

The way they covered up the sins of Great Men in the name of “public good.”

It is the same game, just mashing up the operative propagandists with journalists.

There is always a spin, never facts, let alone context or logic.

And even when something begins from wanting to know the truth, it can quickly spiral into competitiveness for ratings and exclusivity.

The alternative is not one that is co-opted and relies on a single wealthy benefactor to create a propaganda-machine to sling mud at rivals and opponents as a form of misdirection.

It is about the facts.

Liberating them from lies, spin, propaganda, and being in the hands of those who already have fooled people into thinking they have all the power, wealth, and answers…

The New York Review of Books made mistakes with the Jian Ghomeshi essay? You don't say!

Stating the painfully obvious, the knuckle-draggers at the New York Review of Books admits they messed up.

They did everything wrong, from being beguiled to accepting the essay to not fact-checking anything to taking a partisan stance.

That is mere agitprop.

But in an Age of Propaganda, bad ideas always look like brilliant ones until reality vetos your deluded lunacy…

Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and the difference between social media and journalism.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is having a very bad month with decades old accusations slowly surrounding him with more than one accusation.

This sort of body-count reporting, in fact, is nothing new.

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Spy magazine did it to Clarence Thomas in 1992.

The title is extremely telling.

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The next time someone fawns over Joe Biden, just refer them to that article.

The rest of the press made it sound as if Anita Hill was the only one…and yet Spy magazine found more than one.

They started that kind of specific rock-turning, but it was ignored.

William Kennedy Smith was also the subject of that kind of reportage from Spy.

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April 1992.

However, their impact was negligible. We had women who were harassed back then, and yet it struck no significant chord the way we are seeing now with #MeToo.

As I have mentioned before, Spy had a big impact on me, and one of the reasons was they didn’t ignore stories like those and did serious investigative journalism.

Back then, they had no support from anyone, including feminist groups.

Nor did the press give them the kind of grit of traction to make that story resonate.

But fast forward to 2018, and it is a whole new ballgame that political operatives and activists alike have realized give them an advantage. Some for the good, some for the bad, and sometimes a little bit of both.

Had we had social media in the early 1990s, Spy’s clout would have been greatly amplified. A story about numerous accounts of abuse would bypass the traditional press and make the rounds.

In 1992, you could have had a Ronan Farrow do the same thing, but not get attention, let alone a Pulitzer, and even now, unless social media gave the story a push, the press would have ignored it, if they could.

That is the advantage when you don’t have a gate-keeper slamming a door in your face.

For many people, they thought a #MeToo backlash would have happened by now, but as the old abusers have found out, they are not getting their back their glory days any time soon.

It is a number of factors. We have men grouse how horrible a force #MeToo has become, but they don’t get what happened.

Women were always sold a bill of goods that they had to endure things as they settled and sacrificed, meaning they had to be degraded in order to “play the game.”

The implied promise, of course, was they would be treated like human toilets for them to relieve their crude urges on, and they would get rewarded with some paper crown to validate their suffering.

Hillary Clinton endured and then she ran for president. Except she lost. She was a bad candidate who had no understanding of the nuances of strategy, but for those women who supported her, it proved that enduring abuse is not an actual strategy for real success.

It is a game of misdirection where you end up being a sucker and a pigeon making your abusers look like Great Men.

And then they realized their daughters and granddaughters were going through or would go through the same game.

That’s when they snapped. It is the reason it has taken off in the US: because they were lied to and cheated, and now all that bottled up rage exploded.

For young women like me, who had the strong guidance of a mother and grandmother who were both radical feminists, I never fell for it. I didn’t care about paper crowns. I was taught from an early age not to play games on rigged boards and was trained how to spot them, and how to fight against them.

Then came along Spy magazine that gave me additional evidence how important it was to take the long road and never compromise — and fight no matter what threats were lobbed in my direction.

It didn’t matter who was in authority; they were not gods to make decrees. If I had to stand up for myself in a group of my peers or a teacher, that was what I had to do. My feelings came first, and if something was unfair and abusive, there was to be no sugarcoating any of it or try to spin it as if I were in control. That was how people were tricked and fooled. It was my duty and my responsibility not to passively march to someone else’s orders.

Popularity, fame, fortune were all worthless if someone was going to try to enslave me.

I would get in trouble if I blindly went along with something that would exploit me.

It wasn’t as if people didn’t try to exploit me or do me harm in exchange for something. I always rejected it, and forged my own path, never pining for things predators paraded as being desirable things to possess, such as popularity or “fitting in.”

Spy was my real-life textbook. It showed just how predatory those predators were. They were cruel, dangerous, deceptive, and always blaming victims when they refused to be a victim anymore.

Spy didn’t take the side of predators. They weren’t fooled or beguiled, and they exposed them as being such.

What is happening now in the US is long overdue.

You are never to blame when someone victimizes you. You are not supposed to be perfect; so that’s no excuse for a predator abusing you.

Predators held power and indoctrinated others to be primed to be exploited — that is the reason fame and paper crowns are used and why they are in fact worthless.

How you are being treated is the only thing that counts, and you treat others is the only true value that you have.

So if the abusers thought it would all die down, they are misreading the zeitgeist and ortgeist.

There is a lot of unfinished business up ahead. There is a lot of pent up rage that was unleashed.

Had Clinton won the election, the notion that to endure exploitation was the key to female success would have been reinforced, and we would have never had #MeToo and all the predators would have blithely continued.

Reality intervened and held up a mirror to those people who saw they were broken, in chains, confined, and powerless.

No, that was not the recipe for winning at life.

Yes, you took abuse, and made your abusers more powerful as you gave them your power in the bargain.

No, it is not set in stone.

Yes, you should expose them and liberate yourself immediately.

No, the past traumas are not your fault or reflect on you as a person.

Yes, not everyone fell for it.

No, they don’t look down on you because they respect truth.

And yes, there is always a better way if you stand up for yourself, regardless of the circumstances because it is not about applause or appeasement.

But the truth…

Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Twenty-Two.

The CBC is musing about the onset of “cannabis beats” in the dead profession of journalism, noticing that neither cigarettes nor alcohol ever had such beats, but then again, those were the days where journalism was thing, and now it isn’t, meaning the zombies are trying to reel in a live one to feast on.

The “stories” from those in these beats are presented with a highly naive lens that paints a rosy picture and the scribes are more salesmen for the drug than actual reporters. There is no critical thinking, and the coverage is of the same ilk as the fanboy positive press of the comic book industry. No critical thinking or actual research because people are too afraid they will come off as fuddy duddies and nerds if they point out the problems.

And there are plenty of problems up ahead. With so many Canadian farmers switching to cannabis crops, the price and availability of fruits and vegetables will become an issue. If India, China, or the US enter the market, Canada will be decimated and quickly with no back up plan. If there is actual money to be made, Canadians will not be the ones making it.

We do not own our beer stores, bridges, toll roads, wheat boards, and many other things that are assumed to be Canadian. The biggest problem with the legalization of cannabis is that the prime customers are always underage, and I have yet to meet someone who just does one drug. The illegal market can undercut easily and have a better selection than the one that you have to pay tax and follow stifling governmental rules. Cigarettes are far cheaper on native reserves and that’s where people get their smokes. The legal and health ramifications are the least of it.

Mind you, we do have an opioid epidemic in Canada, and that hints at something more significant, and not that people become addicted to other drugs so much as that one softcore drug being legal isn’t as impressive to people as the hardocre ones.

The spike we are seeing from cannabis overdoses also points to collective ignorance because of the oversell of the perky weed narrative. Weed has been shilled as some sort of harmless drug, which it isn’t. If you can overdose on something as benign as water, you can overdose on drugs.

But there too much short-sightedness in the name of trying to look liberal, hip, and open-minded. Journalism was never supposed to be about advocating, but merely relaying information, and sticking to facts.

And to ask questions.

Not to try to look as hip as your grandkids.

Weed has always been the drug of choice to sooth the middle class and suppress their rage at their mundane and tedious existence at shopping malls and contrived family get-togethers where you have smile in pictures with the uncle who molested you and the wife who is cheating on you with your obnoxious boss. It is the apathy cigarette to help them cope with brainlessly following authority’s rules and decrees because they cannot stand up to others or know who the hell they really are and what they actually want in life.

It is also the drug for journalists who wanted to be rich, famous, and envied, but settled for the middling and mundane life of a lousy pay check, no job security, an abusive boss, and being forced by their own conniving nature to marry someone with a bigger wage to support them in a profession that has collapsed. It’s why there is suddenly an advertorial cannabis beat in a profession that, like the rest of the country, thinks that weed alone is going to save them from themselves.

Like any other drug, there is a short and fleeting high, followed by that crash. You need more, but get less, and all of your problems and personal shortcomings don’t go away, and the dysfunction and chaos goes on even as you tune out.

I do not see some sort of Apocalypse happening, even if Canadians are dropping like flies from opioid overdoses where the solution is to merely keep feeding the habit at “safe” injection sites. I do see that this is a country that does not take negative news very well, or ever admit an error in judgement, and when someone else easily bests us, I do see panic coming in that the smug, simple, and easy passive solution that everyone banked on to save everything didn’t do its magic trick, and that isn’t as far off as people think.

After all, I recently have literally had university educated adults (note the plural) with grown children run away from me when I said that the PCs would win a majority in Ontario, and if that happened, big cities would be shut out of the grabbing from the goody bag (with one saying in a meek voice, “No, no, no, that won’t happen!”), so what will happen when cannabis doesn’t solve everything, and leads to other problems…just like everything else in life?

The problem is journalists have turned into shills and propagandists for the industry. It is one thing to take a calculated risk, and another thing to take a blind gamble, and the government is taking a gamble, and not a risk.

In his excellent book Flat Earth News,  Nick Davies recounts UK’s response to heroin usage after the Second World War among solders who became addicted, and the elegant solution the government provided then that worked fine for decades until it was decreed a bad and wasteful thing to provide, and then it all broke loose. Canada is doing the same thing from the opposite direction. It is not as if we have no framework as a starting point, but that’s how the government has been behaving: winging it and hoping it will all work for the best because they decree it so, and they know everything; so the little people needn’t worry, and if they do, they can toke up and shut up.

It doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster: all it takes is a recipe that doesn’t produce triumph, and that will be enough to cause problems that never go away, but always insist on bringing another problem with them.

Risk assesses potential problems and creates counter-plans. A gamble goes in blindly assuming everything will work out for the best, regardless of obstacles.

But when you have advocates and cheerleaders whose own interests are not exactly disclosed who won’t deal with facts that spoil their narrative, even the smallest problems have a bigger impact than if they were exposed early and realistically so that it can be dealt with early on.

A risk exposes people to potential problems so there is no panic when it arrives. A gamble assures everyone there is no problem because you just have to go for it.

That was the original mandate of journalism: to show the problems as they happened precisely as they were so that they could be dealt with and society could progress in a realistic manner.

That mandate got lost somewhere along the way because reporters started taking the path of least resistance. It is easier to enable a sheltered mindset than burst a bubble to remove the filters and show reality.

A risk sees reality in order to navigate in it to reach a goal. A gamble sees the fantasy outcome and sees nothing in-between or beyond.

The alternative plays no favourites. It doesn’t cheerlead or root. It doesn’t malign or condemn. It presents facts. It asks questions, not create a melodrama or a fairytale.

Troubles don’t happen because the sky is falling. They start when the ground is eroding.

The Canadian press is a prime example of confusing shilling with reportage.

It didn’t start with weed, however, just look at this recent National Post headline:

Canada’s housing market has achieved the ‘magical soft landing’: Royal LePage

Canada's housing market has passed through the correction without the carnage predicted, but still remains blah, says Phil Soper

Pollyanna propaganda…and yet as deceptive as Soviet-era cheerleading that was presented as “news.” Summer months are real estate high season, there will be an uptick, regardless. The test is in the autumn and winter months before one can say there has been a soft landing or not.

But using the word “magical” is deliberate tweaking at the realists who see the signs and are sounding the alarm. Realtors don’t want to spook people; but the word “magic” pushes every possible boundary of journalistic ethics imaginable.

Like a villain who seems to defy the odds until he sees he no longer has any ground to stand on, journalists are, in fact, encouraging people to run off that cliff because nothing will happen to them. It’s all good.

And yet there is a single “reader” comment on the page:

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One bad con deserves another, I suppose.

Even the shilling is being ignored.

Because there is a difference between a Fool and a Magician.

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The fool looks up to the sky as he ignores the warning signs of there no longer being solid ground beneath him as he takes a gamble, while the Magician can defy the odds as he has his feet planted firmly in the ground as he takes risks.

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But a Fool becomes a Magician only if he takes one step back to look around him.

The second he takes that one step off the cliff, he becomes his own villain.

A single step is all it takes. Nothing more.

Journalism was supposed to give us more than a map, but also sound the alarm if we veered too far off course, and yes, you can veer so far off that you end your own existence, taking countless innocents down with you.

That’s called bad journalism.

The alternative doesn’t paint rosy pictures or gloomy ones.

It is pointillism with every point a fact. There is no cheerleading or demonizing.

Every point is a stone that surrounds an issue, but not to take away liberties by creating false narratives, but by creating new liberties by turning those points into paths.

If the new world game is Go, then the alternative is the antidote to disrupting those games.

Because games are nothing more than deflections, misdirections, and distractions.

Power doesn’t come from playing games: it comes from using games as feint a to hide from the public what is truly going on.

And the public has no idea what is going on, and yet bank every grain they own based on plans that do not align with reality.

Journalism has beats, but no rhythms, and it is the reason they collapsed, and are also pining their hopes on what they construe as “cool” beats.

But there are no rhythms. No frequencies because they are not in tune with the world, only shallow image.

The alternative is the one where images are to be dismantled to show the ground: whether it is eroding because it is, in reality, a battleground — or is it the fertile place for gardens to blossom.

Not through narratives that lie, but by facts that reveal the truth…

Failure to compute: National Post's hatchet job on Julie Payette misses the Big, Obvious...as usual.

The National Post has serious woman issues.

They will give front-page sympathy treatment to men such as Steven Galloway, blaming everyone else for the trouble he brought on himself. They defend men as if they were helpless and sheltered little boys to the point that it is farce. Their lens is so distorted that they cannot see the obvious.

But that’s what happens when you follow scripts, and not facts and logic. They have absolutely no common sense. They follow some formula that made sense in a bygone era, and try to mimic something that resembles journalism, always falling off the mark, and sounding like uncultured rubes. It’s as if the Beverly Hillbillies ran the newspaper thinking they’ve fooled people.

The intriguing attack on Governor-General Julie Payette is pure narrative propaganda that is downright Victorian in its assumptions. Children, this 2018, and it time to be woke.

The entire thesis of this piece is that Payette is ill-suited for the job as she seemingly bungles by questioning the ribbon-cutting, rubber-stamping, and the tea partying as if she were doing something wrong.

No, here is a thinking woman who has skills, knowledge, and talents whose assets are being squandered by the federal government as they sink money on sanctioned insanity that produces nothing. We are wasting taxpayer money on garbage scripts and we have bureaucrats get their knickers in a knot because someone with a brain and critical thinking skills is questioning their zombie rules and trying to — heaven forbid! — do something real.

STEM policy is important, not enabling leeches who got their positions via nepotism and patronage to get a photo-op with someone wearing a paper crown so they can brag to their fake friends at cocktail parties.

Payette is the lone sane person in an asylum we call Parliament Hill, that should instead be rechristened Bedlam to better reflect the reality of the games citizens allow to go unchallenged because of the misdirection of pomp and circumstance.

It is a sham, of course. If a Governor-General merely signs things without question, they are like the citizens in supposed democracies where people are legally required to vote, but there is just a single name on the ballot. That is a waste-of-life activity designed to make fools of people who are obligated to participate.

Instead of questioning the Establishment’s stupid and manipulative rules, the Post goes after the educated female who is asking questions. If Canada were truly a sophisticated and civilized country, they would recruit Payette to do something she is qualified to do — make real policy in regards to science where this country is lagging.

People who are working under the Governor-General and backbiting her to reporters are the ones who should be scrutinized, not the woman who is challenging their schoolyard games. The previous Governor-General was adapt at playing make-pretend and enabling useless ceremonies and he is praised and lauded. Why? What does the country get from that that they can dine on? What can they take from the bank? How does those rituals progress governance and this society?

It doesn’t, of course. The games cultivate false pecking orders so that out-groups are dismissed and those playing the games can delude themselves into feeling superior. Canadian journalists always go after people who stand up to conventions and traditions because to question them would expose the leeches for who they really are and what they are scamming.

At the end, it is about the bottom line. You have an engineer who was an astronaut, and instead of using her brains to solve problems and innovate, you are mad at her because she doesn’t want to play tea party. If we had an actual government and not an unreasonable facsimile of one, she’d be made science tsarina and make the blueprints of where the country will be going over the next fifty years.

But heaven forbid we have a female visionary and innovator! What will the neighbours think of us? How will it impact the children?

This should have been an exposé on government waste and incompetence, but that would mean questioning an authority that might give the Post some free money to stay afloat, and that is bad.

But the Big Obvious is not just lost on the rubes at the Post. The clodhoppers at the Globe and Mail are equally callow, with them jumping on the anti-Payette bandwagon. Charities in limbo? Who runs these charities? What percentage of their funds go to what they are supposed to go to, and haven’t we figured out a better way to improve our lot than through charities? Why do we have a system that has charities dependent on a single person to “work with them”? What kind of unproductive lunacy is that?

Enslaved by made-up rules and some dead person from another century and millennium’s decrees? Scripts are treated as sacred bibles and then all the thinking and functioning just stops. That is not Payette’s fault or doing.

But the fact that the Establishment news media do not see the big picture is telling: they destroyed their own industry because they followed scripts and did not think for themselves or rely on their own wits and not someone else to prevent their own tragedy. Their lens has been distorted, but yet they refuse to take it off, even as it cost them their own profession.

Do not wonder why journalism is no longer a thing: they write nonsensical hatchet pieces tearing apart the very people whose ways would be an inspiration: why look down on Payette for questioning an Establishment’s self-serving rules? If they did that all along, they would not be in the hot mess they find themselves today.

But the Post would rather write drooling love letters and free advertising to disgraced good old boys than to actually do the job they pretend to do…

EU, Copyright, taxes, and social media: A protectionist idea that will not save journalism.

An excellent and thorough discussion on EU’s “snippet tax” can be found here on Baekdal, but I would like to add something to the discourse.

If European media outlet think they can punish Google and “reclaim” ad revenue they erroneously blame Google and Facebook for “stealing”, they are sadly mistaken. Google can create or buy up a wire service or outlet and then just bypass having to bother with the press entirely. They can drop any links to media outlets, and it will be outlets — not social media — that suffer by the shut out. Like cable channels that ran re-runs of network programs until they gained enough money and audiences to create their own, Facebook and Google no longer are dependent on news outlets.

Western European news outlets are playing chicken and it is a game they will lose. It is too little, too late. Western Europe sticks to old patriarchal traditions, looks down on change, and when they do not adapt, they lobby the government for nonsensical laws that never solve the problem.

This was a problem that should have been addressed about twenty years ago when Yahoo, Netscape, and MySpace dominated cyberspace. Google and Facebook can vanish and be replaced with another breed that can bypass the old system with a different method.

Media outlets are at a crisis globally, and judging by their Mommy Government solutions, they are incapable of solving a thing on their own…

Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Twenty-One.

The magazine industry was made obsolete by the Internet just as the album was made obsolete by it as well.

Albums were highly controlled by the creator: the illustration was a message as was the title. The arrangement of songs also contributed to an overall experience of the theme that was the backbone.

Once music become digitized, the monopoly was wrest away from the creator as its parts were torn apart and the centre of gravity went to the listeners.

Magazines are much the same way. When communications was limited, editors had control of the theme, the cover, the articles and their arrangement. There was no confusing Time with Vanity Fair. Each magazine had its own fit and mandate.

And along came the Internet that pulled magazines apart and chopped them up as they did with albums.

Now Time, once the crown jewel of a magazine empire was sold to a billionaire for a pittance of a sum, and even still, was vastly overpaid.

We now have online publications lament magazines and their once vital covers, but covers are the tombstones of an obsolete industry.

Magazines were a creation of confines, not infinite possibilities. They are predictable and do not veer off course. They are static in a dynamic world, and often gave comfort to people who were looking for validation to go along with their stability.

Magazines sell a message rather than mere tell. They sold an idea and a narrative, and mimicked record albums in many respects.

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It created an artificially controlled environment.

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Magazines held court. So did albums, but the difference is the album is a direct message from the artist.

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While magazines were outsiders who told audiences how to interpret the artist — or newsmaker in general.

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Magazines were always crib notes for the middle class in how to think and what to think.

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Music was the message, but magazines was the interpretation of what the message and the messenger meant.

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Magazines and albums are patriarchal by design and it their core.

I would say the Internet is matriarchal, but it was anti-patriarchal, and broke the stranglehold both had on the collective consciousness, and decimated both as guiding forces.

Journalism relied so much on that medium, that it collapsed when that structure crumbled, but it shouldn’t have been that weak in the first place.

If your mandate and methods are clear, you can adjust, and journalism never could.

The reason it could do so with print, radio, and television is all of them had that Patriarchal thread in common. One way communication the way a parent, employer, or government has over their various charges.

Everyone was hunky dory until the anti-Patriarchal Internet came roaring along, and journalists never detected the difference.

And that is more than just a problem: it is the solution to why journalism collapsed: its very structure blinded it to the obvious signs, meaning the patriarchal no longer works.

The Matriarchal, on the other hand, can do more than just adjust, but it is built to detect changes, as it compares and contrasts. It is empirical in nature, unlike the more dogmatic Patriarchal.

And the alternative to journalism cannot be Patriarchal in design, or you are just wasting your time…

Editor and Publisher has an article that is a rehash I wrote for them...in 1998.

There is an article in Editor and Publisher that is a blast from the past:

Are Newsrooms Doing Enough to Take Care of Their Journalists’ Mental Health and Safety?

If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. I pitched this story way back when. The angle is somewhat different, but the ground it covers is identical to mine.

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It was published in 1998, and I looked at mental health problems among journalists, and what editors can do if they spot it — and I discussed the various programs many workplaces had for issues such as substance abuse, or any other warning sign that a reporter wasn’t going to be able to do the job.

The new article provides a little more self-serving “noble” spin to emphasize stresses caused by covering traumatizing events (that most reporters do not actually witness first-hand), or threats to the workplace.

When I first pitched an article like this one, it was an extremely hard sell, and it was relegated to the back page of the magazine. No one talked about journalists’ mental health. I did.

I find it interesting that it appears now in the form that it does, however…

Jordan Peterson's Big Boo Hoo: Free speech is for women, too, Mr. Peterson.

Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychology professor whose diva antics over free speech propelled him into a pop culture career as an author, is not extending the same courtesy to another professor and writer named Kate Manne, as he is threatening to sue her for calling him a misogynist.

If you want freedom of speech to be a thing, then you have to accept everyone’s freedom of speech, even when they call you a misogynist.

As someone who writes books for a living, not everyone is enthralled with me, and have said very nasty things about me in a public forum over the years. (Mind you, they also send me lots of nasty email messages, too).

I don’t sue them because I am a defender of free speech, and in a world of 7.4 billion people, lots of people are not going to think you are special.

As in, pretty much all 7.4 billion people who all think they are way better than you, minus your mom and the person who has a crush on you.

Fame is a roulette wheel, and the chances of you always winning are nil.

You are one of the rare lucky ones if half the people in a public who know who you are actually like you. When TVQs were all the rage in the 1980s, only three people had somewhat more than 50%: The Pope, Bill Cosby, and Michael J. Fox. Let that one land in your brain.

Peterson does not seem to get this whole public career thing. He was used to the lecture halls where students were a captive audience who had to behave themselves if they wanted to pass any course, not just his. That is a controlled environment and an unnatural one that is rigged to favour authority and its decrees. It forms unnatural habits and reinforces unrealistic expectations of life outside of academia, and if you spend decades under that kind of environment, your expectations once you reach a different realm where the rules are vastly different and the outcomes less predictable as they are not rigged by tradition, habit, rote, or routine will not be met. You must adjust your expectations accordingly.

If you are intelligent and teachable.

I have taught in controlled environments, and I know how easy it is to think your are in control, but I also worked as a journalist, and I know that control is an illusion. You cannot control your own narrative in a world of social media.

The article in the Cut fails to mention that Peterson’s lawyer Howard Levitt just so happens to be a columnist in the National Post, a newspaper that has repeatedly bristled at #MeToo, women’s rights, and has been openly partisan in its defending of Steven Galloway…and had written at length about many of things that led to the lawsuit against Winfred Laurier University in the first place.

The Post needs further scrutiny because it certainly does not behave in ways one would expect of an objective disseminator of information.

If you are going to make a case of free speech, be advised it applies to people who are not impressed with you. You cannot rig the public forum the way you can rig a university or a court.

But Peterson is doing Manne a huge favour. He has just given her free publicity and a legitimate news peg to breakout as a serious public voice for feminism, the same way his detractors gave it to him under the same set of circumstances.

Manne is no Cathy Newman, a television host who was used to a rigged battleground and could not handle Peterson. Manne is an academic and knows the same intellectual tricks as Peterson. Nor is she a clueless New York Times reporter whose predictable sophistry is easy to dismantle.

Had he ignored the article, the impact would have been minimal as it was actually nothing that his detractors hadn’t already said before, but by drawing attention to it, people are primed and triggered to wonder about Peterson’s own limitations and weaknesses…

Ian Buruma's Big Boo Hoo: Ignorance of societal learning curves is not a reason to wallow.

You know, there are 7.4 billion people on Earth. That’s a lot of people to choose from.

There are people who do all sorts of important things, and viral videos on Facebook showcase those bunny huggers who rescue animals and those people who break gender and racial barriers as well as the inventors, innovators, and the like.

And you’re an editor for a magazine that reviews books. There is something in the business called “fit”: certain pitches get shot down because they go against the publication’s mandate.

A men’s sporting magazine is going to shoot down your pitch for teaching art to children.  A science magazine is not interested in women’s fall fashions. A political magazine is not going to print an article about looking after rescued horses. A Left-wing magazine is not going to write an opinion piece about how great a president Donald Trump is. No, no, no.

But the former editor of the New York Review of Books, Ian Buruma, decided getting an article from a disgraced Canadian radio host not known as an author to wallow about how hard it is when society frowns on your destructive dysfunctionality was a good idea.

Buruma has been in the business long enough to know he did a whole bunch of things wrong, starting from breaking away from the magazine’s fit. He had to go out of his way to solicit a piece like this one. It would have been one thing if Jian Ghomeshi wrote a book about it (a still very bad move, but he could have had a bigger excuse to offer) — but there was actually no news peg to justify the piece is what makes the motives for publishing it in a book reviewing rag highly questionable.

Second, Ghomeshi is no “get”. He doesn’t have a following. CBC radio caters to older demographics, and isn’t some to-go hub for New Yorkers or Americans in general. Ghomeshi’s ratings were not through the roof: he had an advantage of having a slightly younger demo with somewhat higher ratings than one would expect from the CBC. No one was clamouring for this trigger piece. If you are going to go out on a limb, there would have to be some justifiable payoff, and Ghomeshi — no matter how generous or charitable you are with the goalposts — could not possibly be it on his own. He just knew where to inject himself and how, nothing more.

Finally, Ghomeshi has YouTube, blogs, and social media if he wants to air his story, or he could just go to the National Post to get a front-page story about how all the little people should feel sorry for him the way they were instructed to feel sorry for Steven Galloway.

There was absolutely no sound editorial justification for this piece even if Ghomeshi didn’t do anything wrong.

There is every justification if I had been asked to write about the state of journalism as I have a new book out from a well-respected London-based publisher, and have had three previous books published, including one that was a companion book to a wildly popular documentary movie. I don’t hold my breath because well-researched and documented books that prove that journalists are less than saints will get shut out completely.

Now add the fact that the author and subject of the essay was disgraced for being abusive to women and allowed his narrative to go unverified and unchallenged, and then, when interviewed, the editor could not provide a coherent answer. It is a fireable offence, and Buruma was shown the door.

But now, oh boo hoo. Now he gets to write the same kind of unenlightened drivel that got him terminated in the first place.

He shows he has learned nothing.

In an interview in Vrij, he wallows and makes a false comparison:

‘I am embroiled in a big scandal, in the middle of storm on social media,’ said Ian Buruma on the phone from New York. ‘It is rather ironic: as editor of The New York Review of Books I published a theme issue about #MeToo-offenders who had not been convicted in a court of law but by social media. And now I myself am publicly pilloried.’

There is no irony. Buruma refuses to get it: you do not need to be convicted of a crime to be fired. Not every incompetent and/or malicious undertaking results in a judicial conviction.

For example, there is nothing illegal about telling people that they smell like garbage.

However, if you tell it to customers who all march off and vent on social media about it, you will get fired for shooting off your big mouth without consideration of something known as consequences.

Buruma seems to believe that you have to get a court conviction in order for people’s outrage to be legitimate. He isn’t exactly paying attention or asking hard questions, making him sound like an even worse editor.

When Ghomeshi was on trial, what vindicated him was something very intriguing and disturbing: copies of correspondence he had with his various victims after the fact.

Correspondence that would be years old. Why were they kept, and what purpose did they serve, especially as none of these relationships were long or serious in nature?

Computers break. Memory sticks get corrupted. Files go missing, but how convenient it was to have easy access to trophies. The case was far more diabolical and troubling than it first appeared…but Buruma sees nothing save to give a platform to a lost little man-child, and then whine when he faces the consequences of enabling bad behaviour.

If you are pretending to disseminate information, then you do it right: with verifying claims. Since he did not, that alone justified his sacking.

If you don’t know how to do a job, Mr. Buruma, then do not be surprised that you lose it in the bargain...

The Liberal government spends lavishly on their own ridings? You don't say, Huffington Post Canada!

As I keep saying, the ruling regimes in power always ignore the ridings who didn’t vote for them, and give the graft and the goodies on those who do.

In this case, the Federal Grits are doing it to the tune of $43 billion.

In one summer.

They used to bribe taxpayers with their own money, and now they do it with borrowed money they can never repay. The regime keeps spinning how they are playing hardball with the US on Nafta, but the truth is they are propping things up with borrowed cash to keep up appearances, with proxies’ sour grapes narrative spinning their bungling for them.

But this game is nothing new, and why ideological voting is a surefire way of wasting your vote. It has always been about pragmatism. Mind you, whenever the government pours money into something, that something merely becomes dependent on government cash, and the second it is shut off, whatever they were throwing money at collapses.

And all the signs of a recession are screaming here. There is no “wrecking” good news, as the deluded Globe and Mail insists, it is bad news that has been downplayed with various shell games: people are tapped out and now the elderly are bailing their grown children out, albeit quietly.

But there is seemingly some sort of perpetual childlike surprise when news like this hits as if this should be a shock. It’s not, unless you are historically and politically illiterate.

The problem is that this kind of electorate bribery doesn’t always work. The Ontario Liberals learned that the hard way this year. Overkill reeks of a desperate government, and that stench alone repels people — particularly those from ridings who weren’t the recipient of the reigning government’s doting.

All it takes is for one unforeseen crisis to knock a house of cards down, and the cascading catastrophe begins, but with no cohesion or deep digging, we have a dead profession not understand the greater problems their own country actually faces…

Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Twenty.

There is a rather childish column in the Ottawa Citizen trying to shame Caroline Mulroney for doing her job. The same “oh, she cannot be as progressive as she claims if she does what her boss tells her to do” is just a non-starter. The columnist tries to use a federal example of a federal politician who supposedly stood for principles, even though he became an inert property after doing it.

He said “no”, his boss cut him off at the knees, he became less effective, and when he tried to run for the leadership, didn’t have a prayer.

And this is what rookie MPP Mulroney is supposed to do? To what end? She has a better chance if she toughs it out, works her way up, and earns her influence to one day hold a leadership position where she can make the policies she want to make.

Her government did not have to use the Notwithstanding Clause, and now let’s stop throwing temper tantrums and mislabeling them opinion pieces.

Then there is the Toronto Star with a childish article how there is “global outrage” because Ontario is scrapping their basic income study, as if there was an actual outrage. Some people get upset when they change the recipe of soda, and they ignore the poverty in their own countries.

What is with all this “shaming” disguised as news and not propaganda?

No, there is no global outrage. There will always be a baseline of outrage for any given event, person, or issue that can change at any second.

There is no such things as advocacy journalism: you either report on facts, or are manipulating information to further an agenda. You cannot do both at the same time. As soon as you pick a side, you are no longer a chronicler, but a persuader.

You either tell or sell, not both.

Journalism wants the perks of being seen as a tell medium, but does nothing but sell.

Give the facts, then leave. Let people make up their own minds how to use that information.

Sell is temporary. Tell is timeless.

Journalism, had it focussed on how to better tell, would have still been viable, but it veered into sell, and then went past its sell by date.

The alternative remembers that it is all about the tell, and not the sell…

Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Nineteen.

Journalism’s collapse is a self-created one.

We have debates on whetheratonement essays” are being unfairly targeted, let alone that people who are predators are not owed wiggle room to be absolved from their untrustworthy behaviour — nor are they actually owed a lofty career. That is a privilege, not a right.

But the timing of these pieces all came at once. Predators are predictable in their behaviours, and they are always jockeying to get back because they think that they are entitled to that career, with a disturbing and significant percentage working in communications and journalism.

But the kicker is that there is never any “atoning” done, just making excuses, and wallowing.

Fire the predators, but with a subtle promise to give them a chance to lay low, and a year later, get to use these outlets to re-invent your image, but the public is having none of it, even if they are not reading or watching you in the first place.

The element of denial and willful blindness in the profession is still doggedly there.

Perhaps a billionaire or two will buy up an outlet as a vanity project, throw money at it, and then maybe everything will be good again.

Except the audiences are not coming back, the products haven’t changed, and the fact that the Establishment robber barons are buying their tax write offs haven’t done a thing for journalism.

No redemption and no saviours. Just the same delusions that kept journalism from genuinely reinventing itself.

The same hopeful thinking can’t be the baggage brought into an alternative. If you want to chronicle reality to see the truth in your profession, you have to start with yourself first…

Ian Buruma, don't hit yourself on the way out...

Ian Buruma, the former editor of the New York Review of Books who thought it was a good idea to give a platform to Jian Ghomeshi has been shown the door.

No word if the editor of Harper’s may suffer the same fate for their own ridiculous platform to John Hockenberry, but given the ownership of it, that isn’t actually happening.

Interestingly enough, the Ghomeshi affair is a Canadian one, yet while it was an US publication that gave him a platform to wallow, it was US outrage that pushed back. Canada, a place that cannot ever be described as woke — let alone conscious — have columnists who don’t know what the fuss is about

Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Eighteen.

If progressive thought has made a colossal blunder in its calculations, it is to focus on differentiating itself from the Right strictly in terms of content of thought and utterly ignoring the structure of thought, making the content always be hypocritical because progressive content with a binary, patriarchal, and autocratic structure is merely form of deception. People may have used religion to moral and manipulate others thirty years ago, but when it was exposed as a sham, they jumped shipped, swam to the Left, and now pay the same game, but merely changed what they preach…but still preach.

But when your focus is strictly on content, but not structure, odd things start to happen. You become contrarian and increasingly extreme in some bid to differentiate yourself from an opposing ideology. A little is good, but an overdose is divine. The natural feel of knowing that your place isn’t the default “opposite”, but somewhere unexplored becomes lost. We can no longer navigate away from the old ideologies. We merely go full circle from the opposite direction.

But if the Progressive brand of prepackaged thought has provided no change in structure, we can see what happens:

  1. Progressive is not defined on its own merits, but must be compared to its enemy. It sees the world as Us versus Them; or worse, expecting a They to come in and do all the work to make the changes. However, there is no Them, only Us. And it is Us, not They. Hypothetical divides are illusionary. It is one thing to break away and show why it was necessary, but sooner or later, you must be measured on your own merits. That the Left and Right always trigger one another to pick fights and then create a pecking order where they are rigged to come out victorious should be no surprise.

  2. In order to recruit and convert as many people into the ideology, there is an overemphasis on rights with no balance of responsibilities. We sell our ideas as having a good time with no strings attached, attracting those who do not wish to look inward or take any blame or responsibility for their own failures. Yet, there are no rights unless there are responsibilities. Even governments are made of people; thus it is an all-encompassing bargain: both have rights, and both have responsibilities, but when it is mention of one, while downplaying the other, you can expect not to get as many rights as the seller reaps perks and power.

Journalism never actually did much to explore structures of thought, nor truly challenge our lack of intellectual and emotional progress. These days, they blame one or two people for everything, and offer nothing substantial themselves.

The National Post had a peculiar column about that Ontario premier that won a majority without Toronto. It is a typical column of this day and age where everyone blames and decrees without much foresight or introspection:

Consider: a man with a shady past and disgraceful record is able to seize control of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario without the support of even a plurality of its members, still less of the caucus he then presumes to lead (and whose careers he now controls). He wins a “majority” in the ensuing provincial election with 40 per cent of the vote, by means of which he proceeds to personally and unilaterally rewrite the election laws for an entirely different level of government — for besides subordinating party to leader and legislature to executive, we have also contrived to make municipal governments creatures of the province.

At no time has he mentioned any of this, in either the leadership race in which he finished second or the election campaign in which 60 per cent of the vote went to other parties.

He has no mandate from anyone, least of all the citizens affected. Yet because our system vests such extraordinary power in the office of one man, he can impose his will on cabinet, caucus, legislature, city and province, more or less by fiat.

Even the courts, the last line of defence against arbitrary rule, cannot stop him. For while we have passed a Charter of Rights, proclaiming our supposed belief in limited government, we have embedded within it a clause that allows governments to overrule those same limits. He invokes it, again imposing his will on cabinet, caucus etc, validating by fiat what he had earlier decreed by fiat.

And he does all this in the name of “democracy.”

The same can be said about the entire profession of journalism.

They do everything in the name of this “democracy.” They have no empirical training. They were not elected nor licensed. They do not speak or represent the majority. It is all based on fiat and shoddy and dubious methods of gathering and verifying information. They conduct no studies. They do not tell their audiences who their sources are, that they liberally depend on PR and publicists for information, nor do they often disclose their own conflicts of interests.

They have no mandate and represent no one, and yet claim to inform the public for benevolent purposes.

They present ideology as fact; spew propaganda, rile up a public who are both misinformed and ill-informed, and otherwise pollute the information pool — also, all in the name of “democracy.”

Hypocrisy.

This is a profession without any standards or regulating bodies. These are people not taught in any basic psychological methodology, from statement analysis to experimental design.

It flounders and cannot even decide how to fund itself.

Yet it claims to speak for a majority — even as their numbers tank and their outlets shut down.

The alternative is one that is aware of these double standards and ludicrous games, but while the starting point is to breakaway from journalistic lunacy, it is not to keep comparing itself to an antiquated model of information verification.

That journalism became a sham should surprise no one.

But that we have never thought to replace it with a superior model is still shocking because it means as a people, we are now not even concerning ourselves with content, let alone structure.

It is an intellectual decay, but it does not last forever: a pendulum swings one way before reality compels it to move in the opposite direction.

And F.R.E.E.D. is the system that keeps a pendulum at rest as it begins to build all around it to stabilize both the structure and the content to see the world from every direction…

Bad logic taints a Washington Post story...yet again.

The Washington Post’s delirium continues with an article about how there is a spike in admissions to j-school, which is absolutely meaningless because there is no corresponding surge in jobs or outlets.

The pay stinks, but the student debt will be high. The job security is nonexistent, but that is not the core of the problem.

There was also a surge in students applying to j-schools after the Watergate-based movie All the President’s Men.

Those kinds of students were the wrong kind of students — the ones who got taken in by Hollywood and the glam-factor. It was the film that set the profession horribly wrong, as I have stated here before.

This breed is no better. They are not innovators. They are not the ones who can save a dead profession. You can also major in Latin and Philosophy, but that isn’t going to get you gainfully employed.

You are now attracting ideologues and propagandists-in-training who react and want to make decrees from a standpoint of hate and irrationality, and not reason and facts.

Watergate the movie planted the corrupt seed in the profession, and it should always been a documentary. It would not have been glamorous, but if you are in journalism for the glamor, you have no business being in journalism.

And if you are in a profession to tell the little people how to think and what to do, you are needed in that profession even less.

It is not a rejuvenation. It wasn’t when you had people make long-term serious life decisions based on a fictionalized movie and not based on months of research and soul-searching.

4.JPG

You cannot do the same thing and expect a different outcome, but if you do something worse and expect something better, your logic is nonexistent and don’t expect the world to tune in to your hatred when they prefer the stench of their own on their Facebook feeds…

I thought New York City was supposed to be liberal something...

But in a span of a couple of a days, The New York Review of Books gives Jian Ghomeshi a dubious platform to feel sorry for himself as if anyone was clamouring to hear from him, and now Vulture (aka New York magazine) send a Woody Allen fangirl to write a hatchet piece of his ex-wife through his proxy.

Again, I am not linking either article because if you want to know, you can stick it in your own search engine and find it yourself, and most likely have read both pieces already.

But I find the timing of both very fascinating. Both Gotham-based rags, but for a so-called “progressive” and “liberal” town, there is a lot of rampant sexism going on there. Harvey Weinstein comes to mind. CBS ousted a couple of their very high-ranking tyrants to female workers. Matt Lauer was another.

And that culture is still firmly entrenched there with the publication of two sympathetic articles in two separate publications on men who did very bad things to women.

It is becoming increasingly jarring to see it. It is as if not everyone over there has gotten the memo that this kind of boorishness is not something that you can spin — that you leave for Toronto’s National Post, a rag that lives in its own warped little reactionary universe…

The Radical Reactionaries: Everyone wants change, until it actually happens.

Doug Ford is slashing Toronto city hall. He is not the first Ontario premier to do this, and finally, Canadian journalists have had their brain cells stimulated to January 2000 when “Amalgamation” happened to several cities, including Toronto and Hamilton when the Tory regime at that time annexed towns and merged them with larger cities.

I remember it well as I was living in Dundas at the time, and was working for Presstime magazine. The fury that Dundas would have to merge with those Hamilton ruffians was something fierce. Hamilton’s so called “mayor-for-life” Bob Morrow, was an accidental casualty: people from the annexed towns expressed their displeasure by voting Morrow out and voting in Bob Wade, who had been the mayor of Ancaster before then.

There were 78 councillors in Hamilton and the other five small towns before it, and it was reduced to 16 afterwards, for example. You can imagine how many more council positions we would have seen if every was kept status quo.

The resentments are still felt to this day that people want to go back to an old antiquated system, even though others don’t see what the fuss is about.

I was at a journalism conference in Toronto hosted by the NAA, which published Presstime and there were many US reporters, editors, publishers, owners, and lawyers there. They would strike up a conversation with me, asking me about the place I called home, and what were the issues and controversies happening here.

I mentioned Amalgamation and what anger it caused, to which I got nothing but blank stares from the Americans.

“But annexation is how cities grow!” one editor said to me, wondering why on earth was this a thing in the first place.

I had thought the same as well. A city is like a garden: sometimes you let things blossom, and sometimes you have to get rid of the weeds and trim and cut. You do not let things get out of control, nor do you cut to the bare bones, either. It is a balance.

But once again, we have the Radical Reactionaries screaming bloody murder over the trimming. They want change, but then get out of their minds when someone changes anything. They fancy themselves as radical, enlighten, innovative, and progressive until the second someone has an idea that alters the landscape, and then they howl like reactionaries.

What they actually want is for no one to ever say no to their demands and to keep on getting things without having to earn them. They more than just want their cake and eat it, too: they want someone else to bake the cake and pay for all the ingredients and deliver it to them free of charge — and it be a bottomless pit service that is on demand for a high maintenance person with very specific demands that keep changing all the time.

How this all get coordinated and done and how this impacts everyone else is immaterial. What matters is getting a never-ending feast of goodies with no concern about who gets burned out, broke, or starved.

And when someone comes in, sees the lunacy of such a set up, and puts a kibosh to the extravagance, the one who benefitted from this skewed fantasy plays the victim complete with melodramatic temper tantrums to drown out the reason and to deflect attention away from the selfish set up in the first place.

We have lost all political and philosophical sensibility; everything is a drama and a temper tantrum of the most impossible sort. People predict nuclear doom and gloom with every single change, and yet keep marketing themselves as some sort of radical and progressive brands and entities.

It would be wiser to reinvent yourself as a rational and sensible realist who understands that sometimes we don’t always get our own way and we can’t always expect this nonexistent group called They to nanny and serve us. Money burns faster than fire but saving it is like building a castle with grains of sand. It is true we have let the super-rich hoard money and take more than they earned. That can be remedied, and not by the hoarders to pretend to be generous with so-called tax write-off “philanthropy” where they get to make demands where the money goes and how it is used.

But at the same time, we cannot governments to nanny us and be our sugar-daddies, either. Neither model is healthy or acceptable and always causes long-term grievances that never get resolved.

They do get resolved with balance, however, but that requires risk and a willingness to change and to embrace a different lanscape, and radical reactionaries always recoil at the thought of change, even when they demand it of others…

The Coordinated Attempted Comebacks of the #MeToo Men: When they all crawl out of their holes at the same time, it is a campaign afoot.

It is very interesting that many of the men who have been #MeToo are all starting to emerge and spin their own narratives or use proxies.

I will not give links, but you, too, I am certain, know how to use a search engine, but we have had Stephen Galloway’s little brigade of morally devoid groupies at the National Post cry for him as if he were a little boy and not a grown man, Louis C.K. came on a stage to do a routine as if there were a shortage of comedians out there, Jian Ghomeshi getting a platform to feel sorry for himself (though my thoughts can be found here), Harper’s gave it to John Hockenberry, and even Woody Allen’s wife defend him, although as hard as she tries to spin it, it is a textbook by-the-numbers guide of young girls get lured, primed, and groomed, and, in fact, bolstering Dylan Farrow’s accusations in the process.

The timing is very interesting. The recruiting of the usual pawns and cheerleaders is very predictable. I am sure there is a lot of consultation with crisis management specialists and many in journalism are more than willing to give these predators a platform so that this whole #MeToo nonsense would just go away and abusing females on the jobs can be seen as glorious and acceptable again.

But it is not doing it usual magic trick. While the cronies of #MeToo are doing all they can to make White Male Privilege Great Again, it is not convincing an educated populace. The genie is out of the bottle, and the world has moved on.

What it is doing, on the other hand, is identifying those enablers and shows those who were harmed and/or do no wish to be harmed, what the battlefield now looks like and where else to scrutinize. What was once a handy crisis management trick is exposing the places that need to be investigated a little more closely.

It also shows the extent of how self-entitled and unapologetic these predators truly are: their me-centred whining on lofty platforms shows they see nothing wrong with what they did and that believe they are owed a public career.

No, they aren’t. Fame is a reward based on public goodwill. Once that goodwill has been shown to be exploited and abused, you no longer deserve the fame you crave.

Fame is a privilege. Not a right.

And this is 2018, a time where people are not in a mood to give free passes for bad behaviour or to fall for predictable ruses…

Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Seventeen.

When the Canadian regime decided to legalize cannabis, journalists were all giddy in their narratives about it. None actually asked tough questions in the beginning.

We have many high-profile politicians and former politicians who have invested in such companies.

And that is a conflict of interest, but no one really cared about it until the US let the Canadians know those involved are still seen as drug traffickers and can be banned for life from coming to the US.

Now the panic is starting to set in, which it shouldn’t have if we had a press that asked the hard questions and did not treat the middle class people’s pacifier of choice as if it were some cool, edgy thing to consume. The myth of drugs as a recreational activity instead of it being realistically seen as a form of self-medication always skewed both the narrative and the perception.

But there is no critical thinking that has come. Everyone is assuming that legal cannabis will generate big money for Canada, and in the short term, it will.

When casinos were legalized in Canada, there was an initial boom in those cities that had it. People were employed and Americans came across the border to gamble.

And then the crowds were gone, and jobs were lost, especially after the Americans opened superior rival casinos and kept their people at home.

It did nothing to stop illegal gambling. The people at the casinos are all pensioner who come to gamble, listen to some legacy band, and eat at the buffet.

The young crowd do not bother with such middle class geekiness: they gamble illegally, and it did not curb the practice one bit. It is not as if casinos are not bringing the government any revenue; it’s just siphoning off disposable income that could have been spent elsewhere, helping small businesses. The initial rush is gone, and now it is merely a voluntary tax with no product to show for it. No factories to build it; no stores to sell it.

But illegal gambling is still alive and well here. It changed nothing. The young gamblers aren’t going to granny’s casino to blow the pension: they are underground because they are attracted to high stakes games that involve risk and the criminal element who can afford better lures because they have been doing it for decades, and they don’t card you, either. The government casinos are a boring G-rated version of it for the wild and crazy geezer.

And what has been the learning curve here? As usual, none. The plan is that plan must work because everyone is just dying to smoke pot.

People who smoke it are already smoking it. They have their loyalties to their dealers who don’t just sell pot, but hard drugs, weapons, girls, and anything else that’s illegal. They are the original pop-up stores, kids. The only people I actually see excited about this are seniors, who are already smoking the stuff, and some who are now sad because their medical condition prevents them doing it just as it is made legal.

The middle class – the ones who actually need it to cope with their loveless marriages, disappointing children, and dead-end non-rock star white collar job now feel the granny rush of going to the casino. They are middle-aged, past their prime, and have nice houses and good cars because they follow the rigged nonsensical rules they hate, and now can medicate their rage and bitterness without worrying if the cops are going to nab them and give them a stern lecture.

But the illegal trade isn’t going anywhere and will greatly benefit from this move.

Because the feds made no effort in handling this thing, it is a wild west, and as a rule, the only people who benefit when anything goes are criminals. They are uninhibited, and they are not going to let the little mom and pop shops from flourishing. They will terrorize and chase out the stores and take them over. They will wage war, taking one naïve middle-class person’s dive after another, and mark their territory, using the legal stuff as a front as they continue their illegal operations with a patina of protection.

And that is assuming, of course, that a foreign company doesn’t take over, and given Canadian’s disgusting history of being careless, this is the most probable outcome. Our Beer Stores are foreign-owned. So is our wheat board. And British Columbia’s casinos were co-opted, but those are not exceptions. Once foreign interests – particularly criminal foreign interests – swoop in, Canada will not see very much profit.

It could be an Albanian mob, a Chinese one, an Afghani one, or a Russian one.

Politicians have been so certain of their cash cow, that many have bought stakes in cannabis companies – but none of these politicians were ever actual businessmen.

And if the border states move in, that’s the end of that gravy train. Canada has been babbling about this for so long that plenty of other players already have a plan in place, and no our regime is helpless to stop it. If there is money to be made, it is not going to be in Canada. We are a country who has absolutely no history of original enterprise of industrialism, save for steel, which is no longer in Canadian hands, and Blackberry that saw its fortunes drop and get push aside by the US’s Apple and Japan’s Samsung. The factories are American (or British), the goods we buy are from China, and the innovations come from other countries. The people who make money these days are teachers, civil servants, and real estate agents, and even the latter group is seeing their returns diminish.

Pot is a drug, not a magical wand that can turn mediocre entrepreneurs into titans. It is not a knight in shining armour. The undisciplined laws that Maclean’s laments about are the least of the problems. It is not a moral question, nor a medical one. It is not Reefer Madness that is going to sink this country into an abyss. None of that actually matters.

The problem is when you place all your faith in a product, and nothing on the competency of the sellers, your luck only goes so far. Trust this country to make a mess of this and gloriously so, and probably lose money on the entire gamble. We will see lawsuits and plenty of them because now people can sue and have class actions against the sellers. Auto insurance rates will go up, as well as premiums for house insurance and life insurance because that’s what insurance companies do.  

But most importantly, the illegal market will thrive for one reason: their clientele – the ones who are coveted will be underage to buy it. The legal stores will have to ask for ID. The illegals ones have no such confines, and they will keep their clients because they will have first crack at them. Legal shops will be for the old fogeys who think bragging about eating gummy weed makes them look young and hip, not old and nerdy, except they are old and nerdy and no amount of weed is going to cover up their dweebiness.

I will not be surprised once those realities hit the legal stores in their wallets, and they begin to lobby hard for across the board decriminalization of all drugs and to lower the age of consumption.

They will make money from it, but not enough, and that will be a serious problem because they have already spent what they projected. It is why they are dragging their feet on NAFTA and insulting and sassing off to world leaders without regard to the consequences. They honestly think they have found the answer to life, but they should remember what happened to the Ontario Liberals who were permissive and were repaid by getting turfed by other parties. Do not expect a grateful electorate. Once pot is made legal, they’ll have no more use for the Liberals who have no second act.

It will be the casinos all over again. Our government is Seinfeldian in nature: never learning or having a moment of reflection as it indulges and lives in the selfish now.

Had journalists been real journalists, they would have immediately started thinking of every angle. It doesn’t have to be an illegal thing made legal. It could have been any business that brought something new to the social fabric, such as social media, or online retailers, such as Amazon.

But they never do. They don’t want to sound like killjoy nerds, even though they are. If a government has no plan, there is no control.

And what if other countries decided to ban Canadians for life? What if organized crime starts muscling in? We are already seeing brazen daylight mob and gang wars here, and yet no one questions why.

Those were the questions that should have been asked: demanding the government spell out their plans in detail was key. If you are going to do something, then you have to do it right.

An alternative would be looking into every facet to see the potentials benefits, risks, and dangers. False positivity hides troubles that destroy lives later on because no one thought such cataclysms could possibly exist.

But they do. There will be money made, but more money lost, and if cannabis doesn’t save Canada from itself, we have no Plan B to fall back on because the government and our press have no memory of the past or understanding of the future. They only live in the now and never think about tomorrow…