“Your stories, are all one sided,” the email began.“Maybee you been hypnotized. How, would you know?”
My first impulse was to launch a keyboard counter-attack: “OK, but at leest I, can spel and use, commas.”
But then I took a deep breath. It was only the second day of 2022. If I leaped up to respond to every nastygram, it would be a long year. Better pace myself.
Good idea, as it turned out. We might have run short of everything from children’s Aspirin to seniors’ care aides in 2022, but there was no lack of readers willing to weigh in on my many, many deficiencies as a columnist.
Yes, dear reader, it’s time again to look back on last year’s correspondence. Here’s a sampling:
• A column on post-secondary students’ housing horror stories prompted this on Twitter: “I think Jack is needing to retire… as he is writing National Enquirer level articles for the Times Colonist. He sounds like another old, obese, white-privileged male Karen clinging to try to stay relevant.”
Well, my fellow kids and I disagree.
• When my end-of-summer current events quiz asked “Is Trump in prison yet?” an angry man replied “TRIGGER WORDS. THIS IS HOW MAINSTREAM MEDIA CORRUPTION WORKS.”
Actually, no, the way mainstream corruption works is that you slip me 50 bucks. (Just kidding. With inflation it’s $60.)
• Prior to October’s municipal election I worried about electing candidates who sound good during the campaign, but later reveal themselves to be devil-worshippers or, worse, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That inspired this: “Your comment that insinuates that it’s worse to be a Leafs fan than a Satanist was incredibly offensive.”
To be clear, I didn’t insinuate anything. I stated it as fact.
• “God do I hate Jack Knox with a burning passion,” declared someone on social media. No, it wasn’t my wife. I think.
• Much of this year’s criticism had to do with pandemic protests. “These truckers are our only hope for this country,” one man wrote after I grumbled about the Ottawa convoy, “whereas the controlled mainstream media are the enemy of our nation.”
This response, by contrast, was relatively cheery: “Please Go f—- yourself in the nicest Canadian way!”
Then there was this, after I wrote about a Saanich man’s campaign to wrest the flag back from protesters: “You are the problem, the vaccinated are the problem! You are all sheep that have caused this mess by letting the government do what they want with OUR bodies!… We will never be united because of people like you, your a disgrace to Canadians!”
After I wrote that Victorians had lost patience with horn-honking protesters, this arrived: “You sound like Trudeau. You’re just another anti-freedom communist boot licker…. Go get your booster and some tissue for your tears. HONK HONK”
Same column: “Unless you are making money off of this authoritarian global government, wake the [bleep] up man. I save news articles like yours to show my children in 20 years, because people like you are ruining our peaceful free world. None of this would be possible without the media. You’ve definitely chosen the dark side. If it is unintentional, I have hope that you can do some research and realize what is happening here. If your choices are intentional, I hope they’re paying you enough.”
Same column: a woman accused me of spreading “viscous rumours” about the protesters. Then she posted a video explaining why Putin was helping Ukrainians by invading their country.
Same column: “Jack Knox has always been useless.”
Ah, but that last one was countered by someone who at least gave me credit for past work: “You used to do better. Perhaps it’s time to hang up the pen and call it a day.”
• After I grumbled about the expense of Ottawa chartering a float plane to pick up a chosen-at-random traveller’s COVID test from Lasqueti Island, this arrived: “There is a huge country out there. Get your ass out of your easy chair and go take a look. Maybe then you might have an appreciation for what we have and how we have to take care of it, including people who choose to live there. Flying into a remote community to pick up a medical test is what we do and, hopefully, always will. Are you sure you’re Canadian?”
• After a column about two Victorians who had pizza flown in from their hometown of Windsor, Ont.: “Is shipping pizza from across the country, a gross act of indecency in terms of a carbon footprint, … really what you want to be espousing and contributing to? We don’t have more important items to report on in Victoria that might make a difference to humanity? C’mon Jack.”
• After the Queen died, B.C. Ferries quietly decided it would no longer display portraits of Canada’s head of state on its ships. No King Charles on the Queen of Oak Bay. When I, ardent monarchist that I am, squealed indignantly about this, a Victoria reader had a little fun: “My husband and I feel strongly that royal portraits should be standard on B.C. Ferries, but should be images of B.C. royalty, i.e. the great Bruno Gerussi.”
• After I moaned about being dragged to Christmas craft fairs: “This guy is just griping for the sake of griping.”
Yes, but what’s your point?
• After I argued that there is no such thing as eating too much bacon: “Bacon is a Class 1 carcinogen. Like cigarettes, and asbestos. Just saying.”
Yes, but have you ever tried eating asbestos?
Now, I should hasten to add that not all my correspondents are critical. I get plenty of nice comments, too. One woman wrote all the way from Tennessee to gush about a Jack Knox book.
Unfortunately, the book, Riverman, was written by a different Jack Knox, an American one, half a century ago. Apparently it’s quite good.
As for my own writing, I thank you for reading my column in 2022. All joking aside, no one forced me to stand on my soapbox, so I can’t complain when the odd tomato is thrown my way. I have been in a privileged position for a long time, for which I am truly grateful.
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