I noticed this while skimming Rabble today. This is one of those murky issues where my mind jumps from one side to the other continually, until I’m dizzy and in need of a BEvERage. On the one hand, I wonder why Ezra is complaining about being sued over publishing The Cartoon. He obviously wanted to stir up the shit, maybe see a Muslim or two get riled up, and take action against his paper. Perhaps he’s sad that the action is coming in the form of a human rights complaint rather than a mailbomb? After all, he did go to pains to insult Islamists, and we all know that they only respond to insults through violence, right? Just like the Chinese are good at math, and Brits all have stiff upper lips, those Islamists just can help but to respond by violence.
Oh wait! They didn’t respond violently! They’re using the time-honoured North American method of getting even with your detractors…they’re using the courts! Who would’ve thunk it? And it’s really only one organisation who put forward the complaint, so when I say “they”, I’m not referring to all of Islam in this country…just the small minority who actually gave a shit about who printed what.
Anyway, my dilemna here is thus: I absolutely oppose libel chill. I find the laws against hate speech to be a bit fuzzy in this area. They are open to somewhat frivolous complaints, which can lead to expensive problems for publishers, which could make said publishers think twice about publishing potentially negative stories about identifiable groups. This could, in turn, destroy my ability to call Fundamentalists anti-gay bigots; to call Scientology a sham religion founded by a mediocre author looking to boost the sales of his forgettable novels; to call Catholocism a religion which encourages hatred of one’s self for being human; to call fat white Neocon men stupid racist mysogynist pigs. I’d like to retain the right to write such generalizations, and to enjoy others’ publications which say such things, without worrying about ending up in court and going bankrupt because some dipshit has too much time on his hands. So I find myself hoping that the Alberta HRC will toss this case out as having no merit, and (quietly) cheering for a loathesome racist named Ezra Levant.
That doesn’t change the basics of this case, though. Ezra Levant published the cartoon to get a reaction. He’s now complaining because he got exactly what he asked for. Cry me a friggin’ river. And please stop me from spinning around in circles.