Ten years ago, RRJ ran a thinkpiece about “literary journalism,” a genre the kids all discover in their own due time. Its only point of interest was a followup on a profile of Mike Harris that David Macfarlane had written for Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane. “The King of Common Sense” (June 1996; text archive) holds up well today by virtue of the metajournalistic letter to itself it itself contains.

After his article came out,

[o]ne night Macfarlane found himself at a dinner party where an old friend of the host had invited himself along specifically to meet the journalist behind “The King of Common Sense.” “This guy had worked closely with Harris on the election campaign, and is now a lobbyist for God-knows-who,” Macfarlane recalls. “So this guy shows up and he was exactly the Voice. He was smart, he was charming, very tough-minded, difficult to argue against, cruel in his right-wing views – and profane.”

(Emphasis added; q.v.)

The self-invited guest hadn’t sought Macfarlane out to cut down the profile. Instead, he went out of his way to confirm for Macfarlane that his intuitions had been correct, telling him, “Well, you certainly found the premier’s favourite word.”

“I found that quite revealing,” says Macfarlane. “Harris would never, ever in a million years say ‘fuck’ in front of me in an interview. He goes into an interview and there’s a certain image he wants to get across – to be bland, because it doesn’t do him any good not to be bland. But he apparently isn’t bland in cabinet meetings, and not bland on the home front, and not bland on the golf course. He’s profane. And that was there in the article.”

Right-wing assholes have been more amusing than their enemies, sworn, imagined, or self-styled, since time immemorial.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.12.09 12:42. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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