One of the crime scenes

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

No, Not Nathaniel
This Other Guy!

A friend clued me into the fact that the Globe and Mail had once again weighed in on the BC Rail Trial. I guess it wasn't too surprising that they would publish yet another sports writer's opinions on the matter. Well at least Tom Hawthorn (no "e" at the end as in the last name of the "real" writer Nathaniel Hawthorne). However even though Tom might not be up to writing something of the caliber of The Scarlet Letter, he is not lacking in the ability to employ scarlet prose in his mis-guided efforts to discredit sincere followers of this case and generally join in with the Canned Waste exercise in mis-information or information suppression. Well, at least I appreciate the fact that Mr. Hawthorn didn't feel obliged to take us to bed with the Basis like his fellow sports writer (and last year's Gyro winner) Gary Mason.

I have to admit that I am somewhat personally insulted that Mr. Hawthorn didn't mention me by name while questioning the sanity of almost every other critic of the ongoing farce referred to as the BC Rail Trial or HMTQ v. Basi et. al.

For this blogger, this case has just about everything

Covert photos. Mysterious witnesses. A billion dollars. 'We just need to add some sex and it would be perfect'

.....Robin Mathews, a retired professor notorious for his long-running battles with the Canadian literary establishment, writes incendiary postings from the court for, which are reprinted at "The Legislature Raids" blog by a tireless champion of the case known by her online pseudonym of BC Mary....../snip

Mr. Mathews's cynicism about the judiciary is never far from the surface and BC Mary's conspiratorial musings about the motives of CanWest journalists are pointlessly distracting. Still, this is a case where even so sober a commentator as Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer warned the Premier earlier this month about avoiding "suspicions of cover-up."

I guess if Vaughn Palmer sees a problem (even if only of perception) then does that mean something is really happening? Tell me Mr. Hawthorn, please, my tin foil hat is getting itchy and I want to take it off. These people (like Mr. Hawthorn and Mr. Spector) who accuse everyone in sight of being conspiracy theorists should perhaps look up the word "conspiracy" in the dictionary. When a group of people engage in a concerted effort to bring about a desired result (that may not be appreciated by the general public) behind closed doors and then refuse to even explain what they did, that is pretty well the textbook definition of a "conspiracy." The only conspiracy I've noticed in Studio 54 (BC Supreme Court) and Victoria is the one that wants everybody to believe that anything that was questionable or WRONG with the sale of BC Rail (in addition to breaking Campbell's campaign promise not to sell it) can be laid at the feet of two lowly ministerial aides and one even lowlier staffer (thanks for clearing that up John - not!).

Mr. Hawthorn carries on in the same "let's minimize this issue" vein until the end, when he completely descends into gratuitous slams against Bill Tieleman, who has been spared for most of this collection of drivel and drool. But then the self editor in Mr. Hawthorn and the editorial staff at the G & M showed that they are on holiday with this gem.

Another casualty of the never-ending case has been Mr. Tieleman's other blog in which he posts as the Wine Barbarian, an oenophile (which I believe is ancient Greek for wino)........

Really, and I guess someone who busily posts lots of old style snail mail and licks their own stamps is just another kind of "glue sniffer" who ingests their adhesive by a different means.

I don't really hate sports writers, though thanks to the Globe and Mail I'm rapidly losing some respect for many. Indeed, I actually love reading a good sports writer, writing about sports.....Jim Taylor comes to mind and I remember I miss him. But Gary, Tom and others, I know you aren't interested in my advice, but I'm giving it away today. Sports are not ultimately important, they are a distraction at worst or an entertainment at best (other than participating in them of course). If you guys want to grow up and write about serious issues, keep in mind that it isn't the same as slagging a loser team (Maple Laffs or Grizzlies?) or an arrogant winning team (Patriots or Cowboys) in the sports pages.

Perhaps CanWest would be able to cover the BC Rail Trial better if they worked out a trade with their sister ship Glow Ball and acquired Squire Barnes for their Victoria/Vancouver politics and crime desk.


Blogger BC Mary said...

Good one, Koot.

So T. Hawthorn is a sports writer? I guess that might explain things.

I thought he was despicable in his treatment of a distinguished Canadian elder, Robin Mathews, a Professor who almost single-handedly forced Canadian schools to teach Canadian studies.

I ask you: how bad is that? How deserving of insults? Jerk.

Hawthorn should be down on his fat knees begging forgiveness. Morning and evening for 30 days. The know-nothing. Yeah, he actually called Robin "notorious".

So maybe you're correct, Koot: it's an honour to be insulted by this guy.

I feel better now.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 1:36:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is vile. Koot and BC Mary should both hang your heads in shame.

Tom Hawthorn is one of the most insightful and eloquent writers I have ever had the privilege to work with. His story is fine.

Tom should not have to apologize for the fact that his is not an investigative piece. It is simply a summary of the story to date.

Remember. This story is not on the radar for well over 50 per cent of the BC population. Summary stories are necessary.

Lovers of democracy can thank their lucky stars that mr tieleman is still covering this story, because none of the recent media coverage would have hapened if the only writers on the subject were this blog and BCM.

Get off your high horses. Your condescending attitudes could easily make this story go away.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 4:50:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 27Feb08 4.50 p.m. your Tom Guy may be a very good man, BUT he should know what he is talking about before he spouts off. that dribble he just wrote smacks of indifference to every Proud Canadian that wants to see JUSTICE done, not a very smelly cover up by the Campbell cannibals, who are practicing every conceivable angle of the CYA act. Jo5ey

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 6:46:00 PM PST  
Blogger G West said...

nice piece koot, we have reached a strange point in this tragedy when the freedom to comment about a piece of 'news' in a popular newspaper should be the occasion for someone to claim that questions, cavils and objections should be considered 'vile' by anyone.

If you think this was a 'summary' story by Tom Hawthorn then I think you need to start all over again...the fact you're even here anon 4:50 indicates to me that you're involved in some kind of special pleading.

Hawthorn is free to make any marginally slanderous remark he wishes (without, clearly, having read the material he's criticizing) and no one is permitted to respond?

If that's your opinion, you must be kidding!

Keep it up koot - I think we may finally be getting somewhere.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 9:29:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tom Hawthorn said...

Aha, so it’s a sportswriting conspiracy!

First of all, let’s deal with some poor reading comprehension. A 1,100-word column touting a particular blogger’s excellent work in covering an underreported case is not “information suppression.”

Secondly, I question no one’s sanity, nor do I mention any tinfoil hats, though it must be said that if you are wearing one you look marvellous. I do think an obsession with Canwest’s coverage (or the lack thereof) distracts from the heart of the case — allegations of corruption and criminal behaviour reaching into the highest levels of the provincial government.

Thirdly, Robin Mathews could hardly dispute his cynicism, nor the incendiary nature of his writing. Is that not why you enjoy his work so much? By the way, the Oxford Canadian definition of “notorious” is: “adj., well known, esp. unfavourably.” I think the word entirely appropriate in the context of the battle over the status of Canadian literature; I would also use it to describe his critics in that matter.

And on it goes. Minimize the issue? You’ve got to be kidding. The entire piece is about an enthusiastic blogger reporting on Basi-Virk. Everything about the story says, “Hey, folks, this is interesting, this is important. You might want to pay attention.” And for good measure several www addys are included. Minimize the issue? Sheesh.

As for the crack about Tieleman (aka Wine Barbarian) being an oenophile — well, if you interpret that as a slam then your humourdectomy was a success. Congratulations.

I do write about sports on and off, but almost always in the context of race, gender, or class. (Or death. I’m way more of an obituarist these days than I am a sports writer.) Google the name of Larry Kwong, a wonderful old guy who was the first player of Asian ancestry to play in the NHL, and you’ll get a flavour of what I like to do. In 30 years in the business, I’ve only covered three Canucks games, so you may be right that I’m not much of a sports writer.

I love the idea of Jim Taylor covering Railgate. He’d come up with way funnier lines than any of us.

In the column I offer a brief critique of two prominent bloggers in this case. These are no more than an expression of my opinion after reading their postings. Yet, the response is that I’m “despicable” and a “jerk” employing “marginally slanderous” remarks. I can only encourage interested parties to read the full column at the Feb. 27 posting at

Further insults, gratuitous or not, can be sent to

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 11:08:00 PM PST  
Blogger kootcoot said...

It certainly seems as if even in this sleepy little corner of cyberspace, I've managed to hit a nerve. I can't deny that it is pleasing to have helped stimulate such discussion. After all that is what the House of Infamy was created to do, create awareness and discussion of this immensely important case.

The comments by AnonyMo at 4:50 and from the Hawthorn bush hisself are just too fecund to reply to here and will require their own front page posting - working title "Scarlet Letters, Part Duh!" Coming soon to the House!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 7:05:00 AM PST  
Blogger BC Mary said...


Y'know, it's hard to reconcile the suggestion that CanWest is doing a great job of covering Basi-Virk with, for example, Tom Hawthorn's comment (above) that Basi-Virk is "an underreported case". In Tom's view, I'm conspiratorial for arguing time and again that CanWest is NOT doing its job. I just don't get that.

So first of all, I asked Tom if he realized that no CanWest media had reported on the break-in of Bill Tieleman's office? not even with its clear message that Bill was being intimidated because of his Basi-Virk reportage?

Then I thanked Tom for being the first of the Big MSM journalists to do so.

That was the really good part of his 1,100-word column.

Also I liked what he said about it being a story aimed at promoting the people who ARE trying to get the story out. Good on him for that. Part of what I haven't figured out yet, is how I happened to miss that point.

In the online edition, btw, Tom's story appeared in the NATIONAL edition as well as in that weird flap connected to the Sports Section, known as the BRITISH COLUMBIA edition. Nice, eh?

Anyway, I hope Tom Hawthorn sticks around. At least, we can TALK to him and that's a wondrous and constructive change.


Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 2:33:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice recovery.
I do agree, freedom sometimes is vile.
And I never called myself AnonyMoses.

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 9:45:00 PM PST  
Blogger kootcoot said...


I'm not sure why you left the reply above (9:50) here, as it seems to refer to the next posting.

However regarding your handle of AnonyMoses. If you choose to be Anonymous, I need some way to differentiate between the various ever so shy AnonyMice. I could (and have) refer to them as Anon #1 or #7 or ID them by the time they left their comment. In your case since you delivered such a sermon with your first visit AnonyMoses it is and shall be.

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 8:02:00 AM PST  
Blogger kootcoot said...

P.S. to AnonyMoses

If you prefer, I could refer to you by your IP Address, or if I wasn't so lazy, use it to determine your actual name. You might want to read "The Cuckoo's Egg" to see how difficult it is to hide on the internet from someone with the tools and dedication to solving a mystery. As I said, I'm too lazy with too many other demands of higher priority on my time.

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 8:08:00 AM PST  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home