As a writer, I find this frightening

As an author, I find this situation chilling:

A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Maryland, middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace’s Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, according to news reports from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future.

What do you think?

The Chicago Sun-Times – Toronto vs. Chicago

Congratulations, Sun-Times. You managed to try and talk up Chicago by demeaning Toronto, and the the process showed your ignorance. Your writer makes a point of saying “I’ve spent some time in Toronto”, and then proceed to list nothing that’s interesting in Toronto, as though desperately trying to make sure you paint Toronto as a bleak, bland wasteland.

They have . . . ah . . . Tim Horton’s doughnuts shops, which I’ve eaten at, and which offers perfectly adequate doughnuts — not the excellent, artisanal doughnuts you’ll find on every block nowadays in Chicag0.

Tim Hortons? Really? That’s the first thing you list as something Toronto has? As though…its our finest restaurant or something? Oh, sure, there are plenty. But there are just as many Starbucks and independent coffee houses. You couldn’t mention those? Or the actual restaurants?

So I won’t start waxing on the generic, anodyne nature of life in Toronto. Its nondescript skyline whose only noteworthy element is a TV antenna. Its generic monuments; the Monument to Multiculturalism in front of the Fairmont Hotel comes to mind. The city also has a memorial to people killed in industrial accidents — I kid you not

The skyline is nondescript? I’ve never thought that. I have always loved our skyline and thought it beautiful. And as for our monuments…really? Yes, there is some crappy public art. What city doesn’t have that? You couldn’t, of course, mention the beautiful theatres, the museums, the art galleries? No, you couldn’t do that, because you can’t for a second let anyone reading think that Toronto has anything of cultural value.

And all of this, because Canadian Business magazine had an article about how Toronto might be larger in size than Chicago. Well, congratulations. You just showed how small you really are.

Why the National Post’s apology is almost as offensive as the ad they apologize for

Today, The National Post published an apology for an ad that ran in their paper. I’m not going to link to it. If you’ve seen it, you know why it was offensive, and if you haven’t, you could probably find it.

Here is the problem:

The National Post believes strongly in the principles of free speech and open, unhindered debate. We believe unpopular points of view should not be censored simply because some readers may find them disturbing, or even offensive. Free speech does not apply only to views that will not offend anyone.

The ad in question was attempting to make the case that the Ontario curriculum was teaching very young children about issues that, at that age, should be the domain of parents. In addition, it made the case that even when parents or teachers may object to the material being taught, they did not have the right, in the case of parents, to remove their children from the class, or in the case of teachers, to decline to teach the material on the grounds that they objected to it.

In an open society, these positions are worthy of being part of a debate on this issue. They are also legitimate arguments to make in a paid advertisement in a media outlet.

The problem here is in the statement that anything needs to be debated. If the advertisement had been about another minority, the ad would never have been run, and they would certainly not be talking about.  What if the advertisement had been about education about race issues.  Substitute Gay or Transgender from the ad, and put in black, or Chinese, or muslim.  Would they dare to defend the ad?

Look, National Post, hate is hate regardless of the minority.   When will you get that into your heads?