Monday, May 17, 2004

Context

In the current warblogger backlash against Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias' clueless hit piece, I thought I'd share a related story. Every time I read Ms. Zerbisias' paper, I regret it afterwards; its anti-American editorial bias is nastier and more obvious than even the CBC's, and that's saying something. Until recently, I was working at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and on the way out one night a few weeks ago, I scrounged a stray copy of the Star while running to catch the bus. Slant in the editorial pages is fine by me, as long as it's acknowledged; to pretend objectivity there is despicable. However, what struck and annoyed me was a particular piece in the entertainment section, a review of Stephen Sondheim's play Assassins. The relevant graf: "Every now and then the country goes a little wrong," sings the Balladeer early in the show, and that's a message the United States never likes to hear. Perhaps. But I've heard the original cast recording. What Mr. Ouzonian isn't telling us is the Balladeer's next line, which is "Every now and then some madman's bound to come along," a direct reference to John Wilkes Booth in that particular scene, as well as all the other murderous loons who had such a grudge against the United States that they figured assassinating the president would be a jim-dandy way to solve it. Have we forgotten what the likely target of Flight 93 was? Ouzonian couldn't miss the point more if he was trying. It's all interpretation of lyrics, mind you, but it seems to me that the appropriate interpretation under the circumstances isn't the one that sees proactive foreign policy after terrorist ambush as "going a little wrong." Just in case you missed the point, there's also this charming epigraph closing the column: "Hurts a while, but soon the country's back where it belongs," sings the Balladeer and you wish he were telling the truth even though, in your heart, you know it isn't so. I know what Ouzonian is implying. I also suggest that he continues to miss the point entirely. But, then, reasoned discourse has never been a feature of the Star when there's a cheap shot against Damnyankees to be made, mm?

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