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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Laugh of the day: The wing-nuts at rabble.ca demand the re-hiring of Rick Salutin at The Globe and Mail

It was interesting to learn yesterday that Rick Salutin had been canned from his gig at the Globe and Mail.

Actually, from what I understand, Salutin technically was never on staff at the Globe, but was a freelancer whose column was placed weekly in that paper.

It's understandable why the Globe would want rid of him. His columns were tedious and repetitive.

Jonathan Kay nailed it well two years ago when he wrote:
After 17 years as a Globe columnist, one suspects, Salutin apparently has gotten to the stage where he simply throws a bunch of buzz phrases in the air — imperialism, Guantanamo, oil, Omar Khadr, "honest broker" — and lets his readers write their own column.
Throw "right-wing" and "neo-con" in the mix, along with the propensity to presume to understand the hidden, un-evidenced, conspiratorial motives of everyone in the political spectrum to the right of Leon Trotsky, and that pretty much covers everything I've ever read from Salutin.

But the news of Salutin's dismissal doesn't sit well with the radical socialists at the online propaganda bureau that Judy Rebick built, rabble.ca

In a piece by Murray Dobbin demanding the re-instatement of Salutin at the Globe, we get some hilarious histrionics:
There are also not many touchstones for progressive Canadians still intact -- things that give us some comfort that the world hasn't completely fallen apart, at least not yet. Every time I hear the theme music to As it Happens, I get that feeling -- or when I go to the doctor and don't have to pay and he doesn't get a bonus for denying me service.

Rick's column was like that. He may well be the best in the country. Each time I saw that column in the Globe -- a hard-line neo-liberal paper in most ways -- it allowed me to believe progressive voices were still part of the mainstream debate -- a place at the table that we might be able to expand.
This invites the question of how many of rabble.ca's devotees of Karl Marx have a subscription to "a hard-line neo-liberal paper,"  but that is a minor point.

It must be frustrating for over-the-hill Marxists mired in the outdated radicalism of the 1960's to be getting the message, over and over, that they're no longer relevant.

It appears to be like the death of a loved one for Dobbin, because he's going through all five stages of grief in his one article:

Denial: Not many columnists in this country have achieved icon status but Rick Salutin is one of them.

Anger: I've always wondered about that popular slogan -- Speak truth to power. We've been doing that for years and they don't give a shit 

Bargaining: We should demand the Globe reinstate Rick Salutin. Some of us are still speaking.

Depression: I can just imagine the suits at the Globe having a brief conversation about Rick's column: "By the way, why are still publishing Rick Salutin?" Long silence. "Rick who?" I wonder if any of these guys ever even read him.

Acceptance: For the suits, the deal was signed long ago -- it's just taking a while to implement it down to the last remaining article.

I am of course having a bit of fun here and slightly altering some of the context and order of the statements. But I am not exaggerating the verbal conniption fit.

Goodbye Rick. I'll miss your columns too, because I used to get a laugh out of them. But evidently, someone came to the realization that I and the handful of rabbleoids with a subscription to The Globe were the few people left reading them.

UPDATE: The email I hated to send

As much as I welcome the idea that Salutin's tiresome paranoia will have fewer venues, as a matter of principle, I felt compelled to send the following email to the Globe and Mail's Editor-in-Chief:

Dear Mister Stackhouse
I am aware that there are some orchestrated campaigns going on at rabble.ca and with a few of their affiliated bloggers to try to get you to re-instate Rick Salutin.
These people probably very rarely buy a copy of The Globe and Mail.
Personally, I found his columns tiresome, predictable and repetitive. As that previous sentence suggests, I have a very different political outlook than Salutin. I should add that other than on the basis of rumour and scant non-mainstream media reports, I know nothing about your decision, so I apologize and want to clarify that this communication is on that basis.
The people orchestrating the “keep Salutin” campaign are mainly politically motivated and see him as one of the advocates for their point of view. A point of view that I believe to be distorted and outdated, and based on his biases rather than fact.
But I would not want to advocate that a person be removed based on his political views. If removing Salutin was a sound business decision, then you should stick with it. If his columns were uninteresting because of their predictability and inane repetition of themes while introducing misplaced ideological prejudices, then stick with it.
But if he was a valuable contribution to The Globe and Mail and was removed because he offended someone, then, much as I loathe to do so, I would advocate in the strongest terms that he be re-hired.

All I can say is I hope they got rid of the boring socialist old goat because he was a boring socialist old goat that no one read anymore and not for any other reason.

UPDATE 2: Murray Dobbin is encouraging people to send a letter to the editor  (letters@globeandmail.ca)
at the Globe in support of Salutin. I just sent this, which I'm pretty sure is what Dobbin had in mind:
Dear Editor
I found the writing of Rick Salutin to be that of a tiresome, outdated polemicist mired in the politics of 1960’s radicalism. I stopped reading his columns with any regularity quite some time ago, as one could predict their entire substance from the headline.
If that was the reason the Globe and Mail got rid of him, then I commend your decision.
However, if he is a popular columnist who was fired merely for being politically objectionable, then I would ask you to reconsider that decision. That way, I could still check his writing out from time to time in The Globe to mock the irrelevance of the self-described “progressive” movement.

UPDATE 3: The Globe made a great call. Salutin is being replaced by Irshad Manji, who is a big favorite at Eye on a Crazy Planet. Great move, Globe and Mail!

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