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Two rich white guys face a higher power

Here are a couple of stray observations on a steamy Toronto Monday. Friday night, Peter C. Newman won a National Magazine Award for his magisterial take on the Conrad Black trial in the pages of Toronto Life. From the podium, he thanked the man himself. Mr. Black noted in the pages of Saturday’s Post that, to his mind, this “outpouring of sentimental celebration…is a nostalgic re-enactment of the leftist ritual of self-indulgent historical myth-making.” He was writing about the 40th anniversary of student rioting in France, but as an expression of his likely take on Newman’s triumph, it’ll do just fine.

Writing in The Observer yesterday, media editor James Robinson noted Black’s continued ownership of the small circulation weekly the Catholic Herald:

A publication that has always punched above its weight, exerting an influence that belies its relatively modest weekly circulation of 20,000….

If Black is forced to sell, the biggest worry for employees is that the Catholic church might buy it, turning it into a mouthpiece for the church and silencing it as an independent voice. That is one reason Black, for all his faults, might try hard to resist a sale, even as he serves out the rest of his sentence.

And speaking of God and Mammon, The Globe and Mail reported last week that the Catholic Church hereabouts has turned away Magna magnate Frank Stronach’s $19-million donation:

The reasons given by Father Hanley and the archdiocese state variously that Mr. Stronach insisted on exterior architectural control and having a major say on what the inside would look like, proposed a building that was too grand, refused to give the parishioners sufficient input, and rejected a proposal from the archdiocese that he only provide funds matching whatever the congregation raised and not pay for the whole thing.

All of which reminds us of Matthew 19:24: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Though Lord knows they try.

Conrad Black on Charles de Gaulle, the man who saved France from anarchy [National Post]• Black may sell the final part of his media empire [The Guardian]• Why Frank Stronach and his money got left at the altar [Globe and Mail]• Looking a $19-million gift horse in the mouth [Globe and Mail]• Walrus, Toronto Life split magazine awards [Toronto Star]

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