Thursday, June 29, 2006

Grow up, Warren

The ageing punker and tireless self-promoter is at it again. After Warren Kinsella's latest "look at me, look at me" shtick--the risible "I am not afraid" campaign that morphed into something else, leaving him in the dust--he's after Mark Bourrie again. Round Two. Geeze.

A few years ago I was walking near Metcalfe and Sparks in downtown Ottawa, and I saw two middle-aged cabbies going at it. Both were breathing hard, and neither could land a punch. They might as well have been playing extreme checkers. When all is said and done, there's not much difference in what Kinsella would no doubt call "the instant case."

Last time there was a settlement that didn't really have a lot of substance. There was a confidentiality clause, but that one's busted wide open now: I'm not a lawyer, so I have no idea whether that means anything, legally speaking. Maybe the Law Society of Upper Canada can figure it out. In any case, the whole world now knows that $1000 and an apology were the ridiculous mouse that emerged from the labouring mountains at the time.

Needless to say, these two have little love lost between them. They've been at it for years, in fact, and it was really only a matter of time before the two of them, locked in what appears to be an almost erotic long-term embrace, would be mud-wrestling again.

As I say, I'm no lawyer, although my previous work acquainted me with some of the essentials. So I'm a little baffled by the facts of the case. It seems that Bourrie obtained from a Library of Parliament clipping service a somewhat unflattering column about Kinsella by that master of anthropophagy, Jan Wong. He reprinted the thing gleefully at his place. (Nope, I'm not going to link to it, modified or no. I'm not having that rabid chihuahua hump my leg, thanks.) Next he knows, the writ is served. It seems that Kinsella was displeased with the piece, and the Globe printed a short note of clarification subsequently--it doesn't look much like a retraction, but thereby hangs this tale.

What confuses me--and admittedly
I get confused on occasion--is this. A clipping service makes a column available to the wide general public on demand: not a peep. Then a blog with considerably less public circulation than the Library of Parliament (sorry, Mark) reprints this freely available piece--and it's "Gotcha!" If there is defamation, why is it ignored in one big public venue and pounced on in a relatively tiny one?

Anyway, not content with this latest salient, Kinsella is also farting in the general direction of a blog called Canadian Observer, which has taken it upon itself to poke the beast with a sharp stick. So far as I know, papers have not been served, nor (at least in this layman's opinion) are they likely to be. He's done this kind of huffing and puffing before.

So the brat is getting what he wants--more attention. Am I, for one, just helping to feed his voracious appetite for it? Oh, probably.
But nobody really cares any more, other than suckers like me who keep rising to the bait. And I suspect that we are not really the audience of his dreams.

UPDATE: (June 29) Mark is counter-suing.

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