Wente Watch

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The end of Wente Watch

As most of you have noticed, there have been no posts recently. This is partly because I was on vacation, and before that was very busy at my regular job, but also the Globe appears to have closed the Google News loophole for editorialists and columnists.

I could, of course, simply take out a subscription. But to do so for the primary purpose of reading Margaret Wente, of all people? It would be a sad irony indeed if one effect of this blog were to increase the money going into her pockets.

Margaret Wente is not the worst columnist in the Globe's stable - that honour goes to the insufferably narcissistic, jejune, and misandrist Leah McLaren. Unlike McLaren, however, people actually take Wente seriously. She shows up regularly as a TV talking head, has won several National Newspaper Awards, frequently provides fodder for the most rabid blogs in both Canada and the United States, and has a good deal of power at the nation's most influential newspaper.

And what does she do with this media spotlight? A count of the fifty-odd columns refuted in this blog shows that fully a third are devoted to criticism of one or another non-Western culture or nonwhite people. It is hard to think of any other writer in English who is so single-mindedly concentrated on ethnocentrism as an ideology. There are, indeed, writers more Islamophobic, or more hostile to blacks, or anti-immigrant, especially in the United States. But I know of no one else who works so hard on smearing all non-white peoples with a broad brush, who will invent social problems where none exist, who will scurry to find any possible racial angle to a story.

And indeed this is why Margaret Wente provokes such fury in me, for I am everything she despises. I was born in Canada. I am not white. I look to Tiruvalluvar or Kalidasa for inspiration every bit as much as Shakespeare or Dickens. I believe the Bhagavad Gita has as much to teach us today as does Locke or Montesquieu. I make no apologies for eating samosas, celebrating Diwali, dressing my children in traditional dress, or sending them to Tamil classes. I take pride in my ancestors and their achievements.

None of these things make me any less Canadian. To Wente, however, I have not "assimilated" (in other words, abandoned my identity) and am therefore at best a living example of overly tolerant political correctness, at worst a potential terrorist. Over and over again, she tells us we don't fit in, that we don't belong. The welfare state doesn't work if we are around. Feminism cannot coexist with us. Liberal democracy breaks down under the threat of our clothes alone.

Is there any limit to the lies and distortions Wente's pen will cast? An immigrant to Canada herself, she has no hesitation in telling native-born Canadians what they should wear, how they should behave, what our identity is, merely on account of the colour of our skin. She has only contempt for our ancestors, our traditions, and our values.

Every possible stereotype, every smug expression of superiority, every casual smear at a nonwhite culture that one can conceive of has found its way into Margaret Wente's columns. She cannot see past the colour of our skins, to read us as individuals and not symbols of our races. In her world, Muslims are destroying democracy in Europe, blacks are firing guns in a gangsta rap-induced frenzy, South Asians are beating their wives, Africans are deliberately infecting women with AIDS, and aboriginal Canadians abandon their children to alcohol and drugs.

The various social problems Wente describes exist in white communities as well, and she rarely has any empirical evidence to back up her claims that patriarchy and violence are endemic to non-white communities. Indeed, she does little actual research, relying mostly on unknown cranks and "everybody knows" statements.

Her popularity is due to her uncanny ability to strike a chord in the reader's id, the hidden coterie of prejudice that all of us have but that we like to think we have let go of in a modern society. Wente strikes this atavistic nerve, reawakens the fear of all that is dark and different, tells us it's okay to let logic, reason, and evidence fall aboard, and trust the evidence not of our eyes, not even of our hearts, but of our fears.

Pay money to read such a person, even if for the sole purpose of refuting her? Never.

Yes, that means those who predicted this blog would not last long were correct. On the other hand, more than a few people have said they don't waste their time with Wente, so why should I? From now on, I won't.

Thanks to all who have read my posts, and extra thanks to those who have commented or emailed. I appreciated every one, even the hostile ones.

I do have another blog, and will start to post regularly there, constructing ideas instead of refuting them. If you like my writing, I invite you to find your way there.

30 Comments:

  • I'm sorry to see Wente Watch go, but it was great while it lasted. Not only were the arguments always forceful, they were well written, too. Your style is a model. I'll be following your other blog.

    By Blogger Global HQ Freelton, at January 10, 2007 6:45 PM  

  • Hi Tyrone:

    Nice to have this blog as an affiliate at Progressive Bloggers. I see your other blog's been a bit inactive of late.

    If you start posting regularly there, and you include a bit more Canadian content then what I saw you had from your 2005 entries, feel free to re-apply to us

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at January 10, 2007 7:38 PM  

  • It was grand while it lasted.

    Thank you.

    By Blogger April Reign (aka Debra), at January 10, 2007 8:24 PM  

  • Thank you for your many excellent rebuttals to Wente. I enjoyed every one of them and will be reading your new blog now that this one has been officially retired.

    By Anonymous Brian, at January 11, 2007 1:20 AM  

  • Thanks from me too, Tyrone. Your readings of Wente have been wonderfully clear-sighted and always well written. I'll be following you over to your other place.

    By Anonymous skdadl, at January 11, 2007 6:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Tyrone, for a well-written and thoughtful blog, and for taking the time to respond gracefully when we had points of disagreement. I do hope you will continue to post on topics relating to international migrations, ethnicity and social solidarity. It annoys me to know end to think of self-appointed experts like Wente pontificating on migration history, with no historical or social "mise en contexte".

    A hundred-some years ago, when German migrants like Wente's forebears moved to the US, they were accused of all manner of subversion, such as the Haymarket Riot in Chicago (in the fight for the 8-hour day, the origin of May Day).

    Even in recent decades, group after group was singled out as unable to integrate into our society.

    I also appreciated your links to your ancestral homeland.

    I'll check out your other blog -

    And I certainly share your opinion of the vapid, self-absorbed Leah McLaren. For people hailing from other cultures, she could be emblematic of some of the worst features of contemporary Western consumer society! Truly terrifying!

    By Anonymous lagatta à Montréal, at January 11, 2007 7:12 AM  

  • Here's a great reason to reopen this blog:

    Margaret Wente: Climate change a 'questionable truth'

    Climate change a 'questionable truth'

    It's a free article, no need to do the Google News searcharound.

    I hadn't heard of this cast-iron bitch before. Reading this article truly ruined my day.

    By Anonymous Martin Spacek, at January 28, 2007 7:36 PM  

  • http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

    read this about climate change

    By Blogger dan, at January 28, 2007 10:06 PM  

  • Decamping, eh? Well, it's good to hear your 'progressive' outrage will be channelled into expressing ideas. Goodness knows, we need more hectoring, er, thinking about the fight for universal daycare, the evils of private medicine and Stephen Harper's plans to lock up gays and lesbians. The fight is not yet won with these and other ideological whales still flailing about. Onward, Ahab!

    By Anonymous Watcher13, at January 29, 2007 3:03 AM  

  • "Pay money to read such a person, even if for the sole purpose of refuting her? Never. "

    Why not? If you feel she is that bad then its worth spending money and point out her ignorance and/or arrogance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 09, 2007 10:35 AM  

  • I tried making a comment on your other blog but it won't go through. I posted a response to your response. Here it is in the update:

    http://secondthots.blogspot.com/2007/02/lecturing-jack.html

    By Blogger Dennis (Second Thoughts), at February 09, 2007 3:23 PM  

  • Wish I had found this blog before now! I subscribe to the Globe & Mail (for the crosswords, like most subscribers), but don't read her column (or McLaren's). I gave up years ago after one too many hypocrisy. Maybe it was after her impassioned article about her desperate attempts to become a mother through ART was followed up a few weeks later by a column writing it all off as a whim. Maybe it was after she gloated, in the first days of the Iraq war, that it would be over in a week. I used to read her for the old know-thy-enemy reason, but I can't be bothered to waste the time anymore. Reading your rebuttals, however, is the opposite of a waste of time.

    By Anonymous smartygirl, at May 16, 2007 9:28 AM  

  • I was happy to see that yours was one of a few anti-Wente spots on the net. I too am galled by the fact that this mental-midget parasite actually has intellectual crediblity and is seen as a real thinker/writer. She is neither. Her columns are littered with blatant lies, and infantile logic. She couldn't teach a high-school class, let alone provide real insight to any truly thinking person. She is, in short, a worm and a maggot.
    --------
    ahh, that felt good.

    By Anonymous Mike L., at June 21, 2007 5:23 PM  

  • not only can she not provide insight, she can't fix anything? what is she good for?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 23, 2007 6:19 PM  

  • youre column in the globe is very biased and sounds like something the bush administration would write.
    chill ut!
    k

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 24, 2007 2:56 PM  

  • .
    I've always thought that Margaret Wente was a good example of the U.S. immigrant who can't let go of that and instead tries constantly to change -- and Americanize -- Canadians.

    It does real harm to Canada, I think.

    But it's a very difficult topic to debate because there's always the danger of becoming racist or racial supremists ourselves. But I do think that's the trait which makes Wente so unbearable.

    Thanks for helping.

    .

    By Blogger BC Mary, at September 15, 2007 3:19 PM  

  • Hello I just entered before I have to leave to the airport, it's been very nice to meet you, if you want here is the site I told you about where I type some stuff and make good money (I work from home): here it is

    By Blogger barb michelen, at December 29, 2007 6:22 AM  

  • now that the columns are available again, will wente watch return?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 03, 2008 10:43 AM  

  • Oh Tyrone, please say it will be so. I like to fisk Margaret Wente, but I can't do it half as well as you can. Not a tenth as well.

    By Blogger Elinor, at June 08, 2008 3:28 PM  

  • Bravo. You said it perfectly.

    I just cancelled my subscription to the Mop and Pail today, largely because of Wente's anti-Chinese rant barely-disguised as sympathy for "little girls." Her disingenuity knows absolutely no bounds.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 14, 2008 2:23 PM  

  • you all hurt. good riddance ww

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 08, 2008 6:19 PM  

  • Wow!
    All supportive comments. If your blog is any representation of the democratic society we live in, then judging by the number of negative comments it seems that MW has absolutely no influence on our society. However, we can also conclude that this blog is simply marginal. In all of North American major newspaper industry, The Globe and Mail is as liberal as you can get. If there was any proof that MW was racist, she would loose her column. Also, if you would cure your rabid allergy to words and judge a text for its message, you would then realize that MW only writes against political correctness and for open free speech. There was a time when certain ideas could never be discussed in mainstream media. Then the baby-boomers brought a lot more freedom to the media industry and as a result of that we now, almost unanimously, accept gays and lesbians and the most powerful country in the world has a black (can I say black???) president. Unfortunately, the boomers and their upper midleclass offspring after finally having established freedom of speech got bored and decided to take it up a notch. They decided to setup a system by which any intolerant speech would be eliminated. This system would eliminate any kind of intolerance from public media based on the ideas expressed by the message. Basically, people would read the text and judge if the content is intolerant or not. However, this system is today on autopilot. It will automatically reject a text that contains one phrase that, once taken out of context, will be judged intolerant. I don’t agree with everything MW says but I like the fact that there are still a few people out there touching all these taboo subjects. There was a time when all liberal minded people were proud to quote Voltaire: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it”...as long as it does not displease the honorable members of this blog.

    By the way I often disagree with the film critics of the G&M yet I still buy it. I also constantly disagree with other G&M columnist but I still buy the G&M. Trying to force the G&M to fire these people because I don’t agree with them is narrow-minded. There are plenty of other pages to reed in the G&M. Unfortunately for you, you were purchasing the G&M only to reed MW, I suggest you try to understand and then cure your fears of MW.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 11:39 AM  

  • Actually, MW is huge outside of this little politically correct hamster cage, and thank God for that. MW is hated here because she's not afraid to point out obvious truths that go against bland liberal platitudes. Sorry, we should think twice about tolerating a religion with stone age ideas about women. And yes, we shouldn't pull punches when it comes to countries that abuse little girls (or does the abuse of women and children only count when it's white men doing the abusing?)

    Again, as much as you like to think MW doesn't count, more people, thank God, think like her rather than a handful of brainless multi-culturalists who think all cultures are wonderful provided they're nonWestern.. The Ontario public spoke out against Sharia law a few years ago and will, I'm sure, continue to show the same common sense in the future. This may upset those who want to want to import the worst of their home culture or knee-jerk radical wannabes who will go along with anything as long as it's anti-Western. But you're going to have to live with it because most Canadians want to live in a country where the same code of basic human rights applies to everyone, even the mothers and daughters of people from oppressive cultures.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 17, 2009 12:30 AM  

  • “…because most Canadians want to live in a country where the same code of basic human rights applies to everyone…” Most Canadians may think like that, even amongst the cultural minorities, however, more and more of them are afraid to speak out even within their circle of friends. The medias and their good friends, the eternally looking for a new source of revenue, the lawyers are responsible for creating an environment of fear where free speech is controlled and imposed to a inquisition like tribunal. They have the power to ruin the life of anyone with minimal effort and all this, in some cases, using the money of their own victims which is always the situation in the case of those lovely lawyer cash cow orgies that are the human rights tribunal lawsuits. You think that a lot of people support MW but be aware that they are more and more afraid to talk. Instinctively they choose the comfortable path which is to side with their favorite actor (liberal) or with what they consistently read in the papers (liberal). Liberal thinking is not bad, it was just taken over by lawyers and politicians to be put to a good use, that of lining pockets and elevating ones human facade. Western society is fine but it is completely circled and fully controlled by the politicians, the lawyers and the supreme court which all have one thing in common…they’re all lawyers. Nobody and I mean no one trusts a lawyer and yet they have complete control over our destiny. We are doomed.

    P.S. Better act fast because those who come from dark ages religious autocracy controlled countries tend to reproduce 4 times faster than you and 1000 faster than they can question their beliefs.

    P.S. Last weekend in Montreal, there was a march against police brutality. Obviously as it is always the case, the event easily turned into violence, to allow for the protesters to smash police cars and rob local shops. In the mean time the police are wearing all kinds of non regulatory pants to protest about the slow pace of their contract negotiations with the city of Montreal. What does Mike Finnerty, from our beloved CBC, has to say about the images from the violent protest: “they look like a bunch of thugs”. Yes, you guessed it, he was jugging the police on their dress code.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 17, 2009 8:50 AM  

  • By Blogger maxineguess, at December 21, 2009 12:30 AM  

  • 對物要珍惜,對事要盡心,對人要感恩。..................................................

    By Blogger 簡單, at January 20, 2010 6:21 AM  

  • 精彩的部落格 要繼續加油 ..............................

    By Blogger yahoo, at February 10, 2010 8:08 AM  

  • Hello. And Bye.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 03, 2010 4:59 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Republic Of, at September 16, 2012 9:22 PM  

  • Thank God ,............wherever we can keep you silent Margrate, is a blessing to Canada.he last thing we need is another imperialist mainlander telling the rest of the country how to live their lives.

    I pray that God may have mercy on your soul for the damage you have done to my home.I would like to personally thank you though for helping me re-discovering my culture and my heritage. It was because of you Margrate that I have become a separatist.Yes, I fly the Green,White and Pink proudly from my home here in Ontario. I also plan on taking my bussness back to Newfoundland and Labrador. you see , it was because of you that I have opened my eyes. I finally see how my fellow Canadians seen me and my culture.I now know that we do not belong here.

    Calvin C,
    Brant County,
    Ontario, Canada.

    By Blogger Republic Of, at September 16, 2012 9:31 PM  

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