November 11, 2002

Jonah Goldberg Wants to Bom...


When I was at the Bill Simon almost-victory party Tuesday night, I would introduce myself as a correspondent for the National Post of Canada. Usual response? Blank stare, slack jaw. Also, two incidences of: "So, when are you finally going to get rid of Communism up there?" One guy, who was about 6 foot 8 and bore a striking resemblance to a preppy Lurch, inquired about the paper, and I mentioned it was founded by Conrad Black to be an antidote to the perceived liberal strangle-hold on Canadian media, and perhaps a rallying point for the minority Canuck Right. He looked at me and smiled. "Good for you," he said.

Posted by at November 11, 2002 12:14 PM

You guys already bombed us - in Afghanistan.
I know it wasn't on purpose, but I have the feeling that if it had been Americans who got killed, Psycho Schmidt would be rotting in a military brig somewhere by now.

I agree with part of Goldberg's criticism, we do need to beef up our military - but comments like his coming from people who don't know much about this country - only make it less likely to happen.

Well good luck being correspondent for the National Post. Most people up here would probably give you the same blank stare.
You mean the National Post has correspondents?

Posted by: Bill Sawyers at November 11, 2002 06:52 PM


I really don't know what to make of the post. I find Goldberg to be one of the most fun columnists on the right, coupled with Tim Blair for sheer zest.

But seriously; I think Goldberg's point was that Canada's "Commitment to Pacifism" was as shallow and superficial as the moment from 1 minute prior to one minute after an attack. But I could be wrong; both about him, and your reading of him.

I don't know.

Posted by: Thomas Bianchi at November 11, 2002 07:15 PM

Thomas -- Oh, Jonah's mostly a hoot, for a knuckle-dragging National Review type (insert smiley-glyph here), and this is only mildly annoying, seeing as how it begins with the word "if." I'm just a little hyper-sensitive when it comes to imagery involving blowing up people's skyscrapers, ya know? And, whether it applies to Jonah or not (and I honestly don't know if it does), I have noticed, shall we say, a certain simplisme in the commentary of some right-thinking types when they talk about other countries.

Posted by: Matt Welch at November 11, 2002 08:44 PM

If Goldberg's understanding of Iraq is no deeper than his understanding of Canada, God pity anyone who is foolish enough to take him seriously when he pontificates about remaking the Middle East after Saddam Hussein is overthrown.
The man has a fundamental problem: either he can't communicate to his readers when he's serious and when he's joking, or he doesn't know himself.
Whatever became of the conservative ideal of gravitas?

Posted by: Allan Connery at November 11, 2002 09:28 PM

Allan -- Well, not to leap into the awkward (for me) position of being a Jonah Goldberg defender, I think his singular achievement has been to *de*-gravitas conservative discourse, make it funny & approachable & glib & filled with pop-culture references. Kind of like what P.J. O'Rourke did way back when. Not that it always works, obviously, or that it's necessarily a good approach to writing Serious Articles of Substance, but that's his shtick and I think it has been notably effective at times. In this case, however, I'll defer to my maple-leaf-on-the-backpack friends.

Posted by: Matt Welch at November 11, 2002 10:13 PM

The other smart thing Jonah has done is the way he manages to stand out a bit from some of the other Korner-ites, cough Hot Rod and K-Lo cough. As for the article, I haven't read it but the smart-skeptical Canadian CW on it misreading Canada and Canadians in order to engage in posturing being true would not surprise me. Keep in mind that Chretien will not be around too much longer and someday the right and left in Canada will produce effective leaders.

Posted by: Andy at November 12, 2002 03:30 AM

It's certainly a gross oversimplification. Chretien's government is corrupt and weasely, and has completely ignored their armed forces. So far as you apply Jonah's comments to them, he's really not that far off.

That said, it's quite unfair to a lot of Canadians. It would be as bad to suggest that Californians are really all like Gray Davis. (And that the ones that aren't are all knuckle-dragging evil Republican conservatives or stupid leftist socialists.)

Of course, partisans on both sides here like to engage in a bit of that kind of rhetoric about the opposition all the time. I suspect that it's not just ignorance, but that type of partisan thinking that causes this. That, plus identifying a country with its goverment.

I certainly wouldn't call it a uniquely American problem. I see it the world over. (And certainly there exist plenty of Canadians with reflexively absurd anti-American feelings, although not all.)

Posted by: John Thacker at November 12, 2002 12:39 PM

Yes, it was "founded by Conrad Black to be an antidote to the perceived liberal strangle-hold on Canadian media" ... but mostly I'm just glad to be on my 17th discount trial subscription, although the video store coupons they're offering this time around haven't shown up in my mailbox yet. And the only entertaining thing I've ever read on "The Corner" concerned Dreher and Stuttaford arguing over whether you should call it "soda" or the more Canadian-friendly "pop".

Posted by: marc weisblott at November 12, 2002 05:45 PM

What no more "Great White North."

He is just upset he doesn't have good beer, a good hockey team and cheap fags to smoke after eating some fine Cajun food.

And what does that make those crazy nationalist in Qabeck? Right? The times are a certainly changin.

Posted by: Tom Lamb at November 13, 2002 02:23 AM

As far Canadians whining about Goldberg's description, it cracks me up. Read your typical Canadian paper and they describe every American as a trailer-living, gun-toting, SUV-driving, out and out racist, wife-battering troglodyte, for whom every Canadian is vastly superior to. Thanks Jonah, it was time someone bitch-slapped those Canucks, they were getting way above their station -- cod fishermen, tree choppers, and hockey players.

Posted by: Dave Crawford at November 13, 2002 02:42 AM

I would say this whole thing is overblown, Jonah's piece may have been over done, but was hardly worthy of this much notice. I read the Globe and Mail 2 or 3 times a week, and have found some pretty deeply offensive opinion pieces there. If you want examples of stupidly hateful screeds on America, they aren't difficult to find.

Almost no American knows as much about Canada as the Canadians would like, and the reverse is that Americans wish that Canadians would stop acting as if we should declare them our moral superior. We don't focus on Canada for the same reason we don't focus on Iowa, it's a distant place where the natives speak the same language and are more or less friendly. Being the worlds only global power means that everyone wants our attention, maybe we neglect our friends sometimes. But Canadians should remember this, we don't think of them as foreigners, not as we do the Germans or the the Swiss. That speaks of a kind of closeness that is rare between nations. Canadians move freely in and about us, and we don't mind.

Posted by: Mark Edwards at November 13, 2002 09:10 AM

Most of what I know about Canada is that almost anywhere I am in the United States, it is north of me.

I do know alot about my Canadian fraternity brothers from undergrad, and drinking with them was some of the most fun I have ever had in my life.

Posted by: John Cole at November 13, 2002 05:30 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

= true; } else { document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body> ments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> = true; } else { document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body>