Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dep't of Apologies: Canada Unit

An interesting email apology was sent to its readers last week from Maclean's, Canada's pre-eminent news magazine:

We regret that a quote from our leading newsletter article was placed into the subject line of this week's Storyline. For any readers who were offended, we sincerely apologize.
For what was this September 14 statement so regretful? An earlier email, with links to the magazine's cover story, with this subject line:
'Why don't you go f*@! yourself'
That headline was linked to a story with the subhead, "The best bits of Brian Mulroney's memoirs," which began:
In contrast to the unplugged Brian Mulroney of Peter C. Newman’s Secret Mulroney Tapes, the guy in the former prime minister’s Memoirs 1939-1993 is, well, prime ministerial. Or at least as prime ministerial as he can be. With some not particularly close reading between the lines — or via quotations from others, judiciously strewn about by the author — readers can see what Mulroney really thinks about some of the personalities and events of a tumultuous time in Canadian politics.

On his first run for the PC leadership in 1976: The suggestion that he become a candidate left him “shocked.” But Mulroney quickly warmed to the idea, to the extent that losing to Joe Clark was a nightmare: “I began to drink quite heavily with friends over lunch and dinner, and these sessions frequently degenerated into baleful expressions of recrimination and regret. I profanely attacked some people who had let me down.”
This eventually leads to the money quote:
On cutting loose near the end of the 1984 election campaign: “I slid open one of the windows and motioned to one of the fellows carrying an anti-Mulroney sign. I smiled with a show of molars that would have made Jimmy Carter proud. ‘Why don’t you go fuck yourself,’ I said, and closed the window.”
While one might find the full, cheeky quotation offensive in (or out of?) context, I fail to see why the bowdlerized headline -- with cartoonish punctuation marks replacing the letters in the allegedly offending word -- requires an apology from Maclean's. It's not like Mulroney dropped the f-bomb on the magazine's cover.

Still, it makes me more curious to read the former PM's memoirs.

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