Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

One of the more engaging aspects of reading The Globe And Mail day to day is puzzling through some of the abstruse allusions and constructions necessitated by the newspaper’s Kremlin-like idiosyncrasies.

An excellent example turned up in Sandra Martin’s page three obituary for the COC’s general director Richard Bradshaw. In it we read a longish quote from COC donor and Bradshaw friend Conrad Black. The quote offers appropriate condolences and effusive praise:

“[Bradshaw] was a man of many interests and friendships that included both the historian Margaret MacMillan, who found him ‘widely read’ and ‘such fun,’ and former newspaper proprietor Conrad Black. ‘His contribution to opera in Canada was unique and indispensable,’ Lord Black wrote in an e-mail message yesterday from Chicago. ‘He picked up the pieces from the indefinite deferral of the opera house planned in the early eighties and steadily built the quality of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra as he made the case for a proper opera house, appropriate to a G7 country in the 21st century. He was forceful and diplomatic by turns, and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is preeminently a monument to him. He was a great man and a dear friend and is irreplaceable in both roles.’”

The fun starts when we parse the requisite newspaper ID on first mention. God knows there might be three or four people in prison who don’t know who Black is, and for sure the Globe takes each of its readers as seriously as the next. But “former newspaper proprietor”? That’s like identifying Pol Pot as a former agrarian socialist. In addition to being absurd, it’s wrong. Black still has at least some tenuous claim to part of Hollinger. Oh, anyway, the point is the Globe is so relentlessly precious, they have to figure out a way to identify the guy so as not to compromise the “dignity” of the deceased. After all, it is a Globe obit. And if there’s a form that more accurately reflects the spirit of that newspaper, I can’t think of it.

Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw dead at 63 [Globe and Mail]