My wife-to-be has gone off on tour to the collection of fractured feudal states into which the United Kingdom is destined to decline. My days, therefore, are taken up in large chunks by playing Dwarf Fortress on my computer, cultivating a sense of self-contempt, and sobbing drunkenly into my cat’s furry, warm belly. Being a creature of habit, obstacles to my indulging in any one of these three are extremely irritating, and none more so than the Toronto Sun, about which I have to dedicate twenty minutes a day to feeling angry, in order that I might avoid such medical inconveniences as ulcers, headaches, and constipation, which might in turn further encroach on my time.
I don’t, however, like to spend any more than twenty minutes feeling angry about the Sun, and Christina Blizzard ruined my weekend. As I woke on Saturday morning, brushing salt-and-vinegar chip-crumbs from my beard and stumbling hungover to my computer to once again repel an invasion of filthy kobold child-snatchers, a deuce of Blizzard’s awful columns announced themselves in my inbox, both regarding the Black Lives Matter protest at the Pride Parade last weekend.
Blizzard’s arguments are characteristically confused, often internally contradictory, and supported by evidence which is mostly demonstrably false. This is an unconventional way to approach political writing, but is I guess what we can expect from a columnist more willing to criticize our Prime Minister for daring to take photographs with certain Hanoverian usurpers than for his selling of $15 billion worth of weapons to a regime which publicly beheads gay people. But never we mind.
In her column of July 05, Blizzard complains of the “cynicism” with which “craven politicians” have “emboldened and empowered a group that really speaks only for itself.” It is unclear for whom else BLM is expected to speak, or how they would go about doing such a thing, it being literally impossible for any one group to speak for everyone. This “cynicism” is evidently the fact of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s actually talking to and engaging with the protesters arranged on the Queen’s Park front lawn last April; Blizzard’s nostalgia for a breed of politician uncorrupted by such earthly concerns as the opinions of the electorate hearkens back to the halcyon days before there were such things as elections. Blizzard’s royalist sympathies make more sense now, as especially since those royalists are themselves a bunch of secretive bloody Germans, a people historically not recognized for their championing of democracy.
“Meanwhile,” she writes, “the government has caved to demands on carding” – carding being the practice of police officers having free reign to stop and frisk any black person they arbitrarily feel could use it. Even though this is “caving” – a pejorative term used to describe surrender to outward pressure – it’s all well and good because it “wasn’t just BLM demanding changes.” Clearly for Blizzard, it is not enough to do away with racist policies and practices simply because they’re racist; there must also be sufficient majority political will. Unfortunately for her, this construction is contradicted by both the text and intent of the Canadian Constitution, which is designed in order to ensure minority rights in the face of the majority, and is moreover a fundamentally amoral position.
The distinction between majorities and minorities – which for a writer like Christina Blizzard has always been hazy – is particularly salient here, once she describes the BLM protests as “mob rule,” apparently forgetting that “mob rule” describes a form of majoritarianism, and blacks are a minority in Canada, making BLM’s protests not so much “mob rule” as “peaceful protest,” which has played an important role in the civilizing of our monstrous colonial project at least since the suffragettes. To add an additional layer of complexity to Ms. Blizzard’s admittedly unconventional way of thinking, she herself published a column on June 16, to the effect that “Politicians Shouldn’t be Directing Cops on Carding,” in which she writes:
Much as I dislike carding, it’s the process by which the government is seeking to do away with it that bothers me.
That process being the one through which City Council and the parliament at Queen’s Park pass legislation, which, lest we forget, Blizzard only recently contrasted with “mob rule.” Evidently, it is only when the “mob” is synonymous with “the police” that we need disregard our usual affection for democracy, and revel instead in our racist ochlocracy-cum-police-state, which is not a formulation I ever thought I’d write.
Back to her July 5th column:
What BLM did at the Pride parade was not just outrageous — it was stupidly reckless. Stopping the parade and setting off smoke bombs just weeks after the Orlando attack on a gay bar was like yelling, “Fire” in a crowded theatre.
The detonation of smoke bombs might indeed have been intimidating, had the smoke bombs in question not been of the faggy, multi-colored variety, a detail Blizzard omits because it’s inconvenient to her sense of indignation. It is a wily homophobic mass-murderer indeed who employs hot pink smoke bombs in order to shield his machine-gunning of depraved sodomites from the traitorous pinko police officers who have so often rushed to defend the gays and their licentiousness (except for that the cops haven’t, historically, really at all). Blizzard also gratuitously employs the old “Fire in a crowded theatre” chestnut in an effort apparently to embarrass herself, since she gives no indication that she’s aware that the phrase was coined by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in U.S. v Schenck, which sent Charles Schenck, Secretary of the Socialist Party of America, to prison under the 1917 Espionage Act for the crime of disseminating pamphlets protesting the United States’ conscription of young men during WWI. The phrase, which Holmes used to illustrate potential restrictions on the First Amendment, has become one of the most widely discredited bullshit statements ever made in the US judiciary, and in fact the Schenck precedent was overturned shortly thereafter in Gitlow v. New York in 1925. The phrase is not actually meant to imply that the behavior to which it’s applied is literally like shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre, Christina. Though we might not have high expectations of Blizzard’s ability to adequately parse a simile, we are compelled to note that the only way in which BLM’s behaviour at Pride is tangentially related to the Schenck case is that in both instances, the phrase “shouting fire in a crowded theatre,” has been used as justification by elites for describing as deviant activities expressly protected in the constitutions of both Canada and the US.
People who were there tell me thousands of people were trapped in a small space in sweltering heat. The country’s entire political elite was at the parade. It was a security nightmare.
In this case, “trapped” is evidently taken to mean “halted in the path of their parade but free to leave at literally any time,” and “small space” is taken to mean “outside.” That the country’s “entire political elite” was present at the parade will come as surprise to literally hundreds of elected and appointed government officials, including top members of Trudeau’s cabinet, who won’t remember having been there (too much tequila, probably).
[Pride organizer Chantelois]’s group invited BLM to Pride as “honoured guests” and they responded by holding the parade hostage. Why does BLM see their agenda as more important than everyone else’s?
Indeed, and I’ve had similar concerns about the navel-gazing of such groups as Amnesty International, who spend so much time making a fuss over human rights and make zero effort to promote the Doctrine and Covenants of the angel Moroni.
They only welcome cops if they’re working to keep them safe.
It’s uncertain under which other circumstances one would want cops around.
They raise serious issues about policing. But where were they last week, when Ombudsman Paul Dube released a thoughtful and thorough review of some of the very issues they purport to care about?
Dube was critical of cops’ “shoot first, talk later,” training and suggested changes. Yet, BLM didn’t engage on that. Are they only interested in rabble-rousing? Their message is buried by their tactics.
Presumably, they didn’t feel the need to protest a report with which they’d agreed. I’m not sure what “engage on” means (most people engage with things, but Blizzard engages on them, which sounds filthy), but I would hazard a guess that BLM didn’t feel much urgency in applauding the establishment for saying the same things they’d already been saying for several years.
And what’s with Desmond Cole? He insists he’s not a spokesman for BLM, but any time the group needs a spokesman, he’s conveniently front and centre.
Yeah, what’s with him? Why would a journalist with a reputation for writing about black issues willingly give his opinion on black issues when he’s asked for it by other journalists? What an asshole.
BLM represents no one but themselves. They’re not elected; they’re not appointed, and their actions suggest they’re anarchists.
Well, we know what the opposite of an anarchist is, don’t we Christina?
Blizzard really starts to let her hair down in her column of July 08, tantalizingly called “The foggy logic of Black Lives Matter.” From the title, we can expect an unpacking of certain specific premises and conclusions promulgated by the BLM movement, and a clear demonstration of specific fallacies and unfounded bases. We can expect this, but we’re reading a Christina Blizzard column, so we’d be fools.
She asks us to “bear with” her as she “struggles through” the logic of Black Lives Matter/Pride fiasco. It is indeed a struggle for her, as we shall quickly see. She writes,
BLM held a news conference Thursday at which they said Mayor John Tory is in “cahoots,” [sic] with police and hurled epithets at Pride executive director Mathieu Chantelois for what they believe is a flip-flop, after he signed their demands when they held up the Pride parade.
I’d say Tory has a fairly solid right to an opinion.
This is interesting for Blizzard to write, since she herself published a column on June 08, literally titled “Tory undermines police chief with carding stance,” and in which she writes,
Whatever doubts I may have about [carding], I bow to the superior knowledge of the cops who are out there every day, in often difficult and dangerous circumstances, keeping the streets safe.
Politicians should not and must not call the shots on how cops do their jobs.
All of which is to say that John Tory has a fairly solid right to an opinion, unless that opinion differs from that of Christina Blizzard or the chief of police, in which case he must, like Blizzard, “bow” to our jackbooted overlords and possibly kiss their feet, provided that the police chief says that it would help fight crime, regardless of how illegal and ineffective it is.
But let us return to her July 8th column:
[Tory] represents all the people of Toronto as opposed [sic] to BLM, who represent those who shout the loudest. The ones who stupidly threw smoke bombs in a parade of hundreds of thousands of people.
Miraculously, the Sunday parade which, as Blizzard reported on Thursday, comprised merely thousands of people, had by Friday retroactively swelled to hundreds of thousands, and will perhaps continue to grow in the weeks to come. We might ponder how so small an organization as BLM managed to throw smoke bombs at hundreds of thousands of people, but presumably they used some manner of air-to-ground combat aircraft.
BLM’s anger towards everyone except themselves is creating divisions in this city that we thought had been healed.
It is not usual for activist organizations to direct their political anger at themselves, nor would it be particularly efficient. Though Christina Blizzard, a white woman, clearly thinks racism has been eradicated from our fair city, the black people who actually experience that racism seem to have occasion to think otherwise.
[BLM] wants an inclusive event – but they want to exclude cops and they won’t sell their merchandise to white people.
They don’t know what they want – and they won’t be happy until they get it.
As it turns, out BLM had a very specific list of things they wanted, a list which includes no single iteration of “inclusivity” possibly because the term is a bullshit buzzword used by people like Christina Blizzard to whine about how hard done-by the police are. I managed to find the list in about two minutes using a Google search, but I guess the Toronto Sun’s fact-checkers don’t know how to use the internet, which would explain rather a lot, actually.
She goes on:
Remember all the fuss when conservative politicians didn’t show up at Pride?…Lastman went because he was told it wasn’t political.
This is somewhat different than how Mel Lastman himself remembers things. I’m not sure who supposedly told him that “Pride isn’t political” in 1998, since Blizzard doesn’t attribute the assertion to anyone, probably because no one actually said it. Certainly, Black Lives Matter didn’t say it, since they didn’t exist until 2013, which makes it hard to argue (impossible, really) that it constitutes some manner of “foggy logic” on the part of the organization.
Former Mayor Rob Ford was slammed for not going. He was told he represented everyone, including the gay community. And it wasn’t political.
I actually can’t tell what this bit is trying to say. What wasn’t political? The parade, or Ford’s decision not to go?
Now we’re told it’s always been political.
Make up your mind. Pick a lane. Any lane.
Given that BLM has never said that Pride isn’t political, I’d say they’ve been cruising in the same lane for some time. The “foggy logic” of Black Lives Matter is actually Christina Blizzard’s near-total ignorance of the facts and intellectually dishonest misrepresentation of the views of activist organizations, which views are readily available to anyone with access to Google and a clue.
I’m no expert at policing…
You’re fucking joking!
…but if I were in charge, I wouldn’t just have snipers on the rooftops, I’d have cops interspersed along the route and integrated into the parade to protect parade-goers.
Why not a line of tanks to ensure that no one has the temerity to question the authority of the paramilitary dictatorship?
And yes, I’m outraged by two shocking police shootings in the U.S., but that’s another country. A different culture. Another history. That’s for the U.S. to solve, while we deal with our own issues.
Curious that only two of the 102 unarmed black people killed by police in 2015 warrant Blizzard’s outrage. Even more curious is her contrived attempt to not know of the numerous police shootings of black people right here in Toronto, including Andrew Loku, Jermaine Carby, Ian Pryce, and others, which surely must constitute “our own issues,” though probably her manner of “dealing” with them is to just “bow” to the police.
Consider that here we have two fact-free, logically bankrupt columns, both of which flirt with racist and fascistic sentiments, premised on faulty assumptions which lead to non-conclusions. Consider also that Christina Blizzard remains un-fired, still publishing, earning money, and despair.