The Crass and the Pompous

An Implicit Attack on Freedom of Expression

Who are the crass and the pompous? According to the Globe and Mail, in a January 11 editorial titled "We honour Charlie Hebdo, but we don’t want to be it", they are their subscribers, the vast majority who dared to challenge the smug self-style national newspaper to publish the cartoons.

All the major French language dailies did not need their crass and pompous subscribers to goad them into doing the right, the courageous thing.

The Canadian English language newspapers in refusing to publish the cartoons, damned the dead at Charlie Hebdo with faint praise, they did not honour them, nor distinguish themselves.

In the English dailies refusal to listen to their crass and pompous readers and set the example as opinion makers, you get more than an inkling as to why English and French-Canada evolved as foretold in The Interviews and the follow-up unfinished Uzza.

A reader succinctly dismissed an earlier Globe editorial which tried a different argument to justify the paper's lack of intestinal fortitude: "The journalists at Charlie Hebdo were killed because of the cartoons they published. To say that these cartoons are not an important part of this story is ridiculous."

As for the capital's most read newspaper, not only did the Ottawa Citizen not publish the cartoons, but within 24 hours of the massacre, it was disseminating misinformation about the not so aptly named Religion of Peace.

The reluctance of English language dailies to face down the current threat to our way of life reminds me of a1970s defeatist philosophy.

Bernard Payeur, Jan 13, 2015