Thursday, January 28, 2010


I don't make a habit of visiting Kathy Shaidle's site much any more, since she settled into an increasingly dull routine of Muslim-bashing and self-advertising. But I did venture over there today, to discover a guest column by none other than the National Post's Barbara Kay. It's a frontal assault on my pal Antonia Zerbisias at the Toronto Star, and a fascinating clinical read.

The Zerb, it seems, Tweeted some pretty graphic language about an NP editorial that perpetuated lies about KAIROS* and made unproven assertions about UNRWA, the UN agency that looks after Palestinian refugees. The Harper regime has cut funds to both aid organizations on the grounds that they are anti-Israel.

Here is what she said, and it's perfectly safe for work:

Fuck you National Post and the horseshit you rode in on. Shame on you for these lies. #KAIROS #UNRWA #cdnpoli

Almost needless to say, this had Barbara reaching for her smelling salts. Then, drawing a deep breath, she began a character assassination of the Zerb that reached far back (well, I'm a gentleman--it wasn't that far back) into Antonia's girlhood, to when she was in Grade Nine, if you can believe it

When Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbesias [sic] was in Grade 9, she was suspended for lampooning a teacher in a cartoon, and sent home with an accompanying note calling her “rude, obstreperous and bold.”

Apparently she so enjoyed the experience (or maybe, having been raised in the self-esteemy school of education she thought everything she heard about herself was a compliment), she decided to make “rude, obstreperous and bold” her default mode of communication.

Then the claws come out:

Certainly her writing skills (indifferent to lousy for an adult) and critical acumen are about what you’d expect from a Grade 9 student, but never mind: simplistic writing and thinking coupled with rudeness, obstreporousness [sic] and boldness are exactly what you need to build a career at the Toronto Star.

And then, a steaming dish of priggishness:

I must say that Antonia’s action is one that fills me with astonishment. Disgust too, of course, but most of all astonishment. For, considering she is a “journalist” who, you know, works with, like, words in her work, “F*** you National Post” was not what you’d call a very professional way of expressing her disagreement with the Post’s opinion.

One imagines Barbara glaring through her lorgnette. And she continues in this vein:

I mean, I too am a columnist, but somehow I have never felt any inclination to communicate my displeasure in the manner Antonia has chosen. When I don’t like what the Toronto Star says, for example, I don’t have any impulse to write “F*** you, Toronto Star” on my FaceBook page. No, what happens is that I find myself motivated to pick up the tools of my trade: you know, nouns, verbs, phrases, sentences, clauses, that sort of thing – and then I make paragraphs out of them, you see, and in the paragraphs is what we in the trade call a “theme” or an “idea” which, when backed up with evidence, then becomes known as a “rebuttal” to the offending opinion.

Yet she concludes her misspelled rant, in which she can't even get her target's name right, by calling Antonia an "idiot." And she doesn't have a 140-character limit to excuse her.

(How odd, think I, that this didn't appear in Kay's usual spot at the NP. Maybe for the same reason that the Zerb's Tweet didn't appear in the Star? Never mind.)

Antonia could dine out on this one. But I suspect that cat-fights aren't her thing.


[OK, I'm braced for Shaidle's inevitable "You sent all of twenty readers over to my place. I get two million hits when I'm linked by Dead Cat Fur, blah, blah." And for those of you who follow my occasional columns in the Post, don't look for this one over there. I suspect my comments will remain confined to quarters. :) ]

UPDATE: Antonia (in the comments) thinks this may not be on the up-and-up:

I am beginning to suspect that KS got scammed.

Kay may be many things but one thing she is not is a sloppy speller. She has written about me before and must surely know how to spell Zerbisias.

It is not Kay's writing style. In fact, it's more like mine. :)

I find her line about ''a reliable source'' on the editorial board rather suspect. I thought Kay was, for all intents and purposes, a member of said board.

Finally, the Post has never stopped anybody from pooping on me, either in the treeware edition or on Full Comment. So why use Shaidle as a vehicle?

Interestingly, Shaidle links to Mr. Shaidle's misogynist attack on me rather than to the original Tweet. Mr. Shaidle attempted, but failed, to gain any traction with his post about me.

I dunno. It sure stinks to me.

Over to you, Babs. If you really didn't write that piece I shall 1) retract promptly, with an apology; and 2) mock Shaidle mercilessly for the foreseeable future.

UPPERDATE: Alas, I'm cheated of my prize. Kay has confirmed with me by email that she is indeed the author of the column.

* "KAIROS [is] an 'ecumenical partnership' that had adopted a vehemently anti-Israel policy and been at the forefront of boycotts against the importation of Israeli goods and visits by Israeli professors.

"For too long, Ottawa has subsidized NGOs that claim to be after peace, but that in truth seek to demonize Israel."

KAIROS' comprehensive refutation of these well-circulated smears may be found here; it is hard to believe that the
NP editorial team was not aware of it.

1 comment:

knygathin_zhaum said...

Inu Sensei,

collect it from balbulican and can nurse, because (see below) between them they owe me one in turn.