Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Heirs of the World Unite!

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Heirs of the World Unite!

Article excerpt

I come from a privileged background. My mother was prominent, my family was pretty well off and people say, "It's easy for you to say this or that." My response is exactly the opposite. There were lots of people back in 1982 who thought as I did. But they knew there would be real professional consequences for saying these things. So they didn't.

The question I always asked myself is, "If I didn't, with all my privileges, if I was afraid, who would not be intimidated." I had the good luck, the good fortune to be born with a certain insulation from the kind of professional pressures that a lot of people in public life, especially the media, come under. I had a responsibility to speak my mind directly. [David, The Young Frum, in the Winnipeg Free Press, March 3, 1996.]

There has never been a shortage of journalists willing to toady to the rich and powerful or to cast aspersions on welfare bums, foreigners and folks who are simply getting above their place. As my friend Paul Barber once, with uncharacteristic vulgarity, commented, "There's a place for suck hole journalism." At the time Paul was speaking of the Saturday Night of the early 1980s, which could always be counted upon for a flattering profile of a corporate honcho.

Suckhole journalism, like most other journalism when you think about it, merely needs to be read against the grain. In those days when deconstruchonism was just a rumour in Canada, Paul understood that it wasn't difficult to give those articles a different reading from the one their authors intended.

But one starts to wish that the much heralded death of the author was something a little more literal when the children of millionaires start depicting themselves as courageous defenders of free speech who have put their careers at risk to defend the rights of millionaires and all those who aspire to become millionaires.

David Frum was in town recently and, as the quotation above suggests, was happily making himself out to be someone unafraid speak truth to power, sort of a Canadian Havel. …

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