It’s the end of the year and you survived the Mayan Meltdown. So did this column, much to the dismay of some subscribers.
Time for a sampling of reader feedback from 2012:
• When I said it was wrong to destroy the already-collected records in Canada’s long-gun registry, I got this response: “Jack, dumping the registry is long overdue and it appears dumping you is also overdue.”
• I threw a minor hissy fit when MoneySense magazine ranked Victoria as only the 35th-best place to live in Canada, prompting this: “I rate Jack Knox as the worst columnist in the Tired-Colonist — and that’s saying a lot.”
Take that, Les Leyne.
• My ongoing fretting about the Northern Gateway pipeline proved irksome for some. “Your diatribe against our oil industry, against Harper, your quoting the extreme left foreign press — the Guardian has absolutely no credibility for being an objective source of information — left me extremely irritated,” wrote a Cobble Hill reader. “Try to educate yourself on these issues. It’s not too late, you’re younger than me. … You have swallowed the NDP/environmentalist BS hook line and sinker.
“On the positive side, keep up your amusing column, I do enjoy it on most days, but please stick to your knitting.”
In the same vein was this from a North Saanich reader: “Jack, when you stick to humour, you’re a pretty good writer. When you try to get serious, as you have with the oil sands, your incredible lack of knowledge and bias doesn't just shine through, it positively glows.”
Another Enbridge supporter was more succinct: “This is just the sort of tired old buffoonery that I expect from Mr. Knox.”
“Just when I think your opinion pieces can’t get any stupider you raise the bar,” wrote another after I wrote that Canada’s oil policy was hurting its international image. He then rose to the challenge of doggedly chasing down and gutting my various arguments (“This meandering article careens from one point to another, so it is like trying to nail jelly to a tree,” he groused) in a well-argued rebuttal that was twice as long as my column.
“So spare me the guilt trip and concern about our Boy Scout image,” he concluded. “Living up to others’ distorted self-serving ethics is just plain dumb.”
• A piece on this hockey fan’s obtuse ignorance of rugby amused some supporters of the latter game. Others, not so much:
“Several things are worrying about his angle of expression as well as the TC’s editorial weakness in allowing his opinion to seep through this article,” wrote a fellow who enumerated my failings in an 11-point essay.
“Nothing in his piece is well-considered and everything smacks of a supremely angry little man who, like a lot of his cousins in broadcast media, have lost their way when it comes to professionalism. … His attempt at self-mockery and irony would fail a high school communications class and paints him as yet another F.I.L.T.H. hack (Failed In Life, Trying Headlines), at the end of his days, grasping for the elusive adulation he was told he could receive.”
The rugby column was, in fact, ill-timed, coming as a plucky Canadian side reached the final of the well-staged Americas championship in Langford.
• My occasionally elastic approach to English, along with some flat-out brain cramps, caused language lovers to cringe.
After I described Stephen Harper as having the sour countenance of a man who had just found Canada farting in an elevator, this came from a Duncan reader:
“Twelve-year-olds printing The School Newspaper may use the word ‘;fart’ because their readers are immature and find it funny. I, however, feel that such gutter journalism should stay with the 12-year-olds.”
My butchering of the we/us, he/him rule brought this from a grammarian: “Since the TC supports literacy in schools, I assume you will send — immediately — a disclaimer and urgent ‘;Do Not Emulate’ message to prevent more galloping abuse of the English language.”
Another reader gently reminded me that when I wrote of Campbell River rescuers “bussing the passengers” from a 1984 cruise-ship disaster, they were transporting, not smooching, them. “Unless the volunteers were exceptionally sympathetic, I am pretty sure they were engaged in ‘;busing’ to the Navy League Hall.”
• When a storm left the capital snowbound, I wrote “now I know how the Chilean miners felt.” That crossed a line for a Victoria reader: “I think that’s in very poor taste.”
• As I gave a talk at the Canadian University Press conference in Victoria, a professor tweeted “Interesting experience to be listening to the audience of students listening to Jack Knox but not Knox himself as speaker.”
It should be noted that within hours of my presentation, roughly 60 of the students became violently ill and the conference hotel was quarantined. Sorry.
• After seeing a water bomber lumbering toward a brush fire on Triangle Mountain, I wrote that it looked as though Langford were invading Metchosin — drawing this reply: “You’re truly an idiot. Still not tired of making really lame West Shore jokes?” I apologize. In future I shall make only truly hilarious West Shore jokes.
• A paean on behalf of bacon lovers elicited this response: “The real crime is that these people feel no pangs of conscience whatsoever that they are exploiting, barbarically, a genuinely sentient being — yes, sentient being — the innocent, completely vulnerable and horrifically abused pig, an animal that has suffered interminable ridicule and torture from human beings since we, the (human) scourge came to dominate the planet’s animals, water, and plants.”
• When the Liberals rejected Telus’s $35-million bid for the naming rights to B.C. Place, I wrote that the NDP would have rebranded the stadium “the National Heroes of Labour Pleasure Centre No. 5,” drawing this rebuke from a Nanaimo New Democrat: “We should be thankful that we have a political party that doesn’t sell off all of our assets and then claim that there is no revenue and that we should learn to love the HST. My advice: Use your sarcastic humour against those that are decimating the province.”
• Nothing stings like faint praise. A pleasantly surprised reader seemed genuinely delighted in congratulating me for writing a column that, for once, he was able to read all the way to the end.
So, it appears, have you. Once again, thanks for sticking with me this year. I’ll try to do better in 2013.
© Copyright 2013