It’s been brought to my attention that a recent column of mine (“Anywhere But Here: A Modest Proposal”) has ruffled a few feathers in the downtown core among a certain element who feel like calling for the wholesale murder of vulnerable drug users is in some way “heartless,” “cruel,” or “complete and total madness.”
After re-reading my quite articulate and eloquent prose, I’ve decided that it’s possible I may have briefly tripped over the line in my chosen arguments. So, I hope you accept this humble apology in the spirit in which it is given.
Those of us in “the biz” of journalism are often called upon to write quick responses to the current hot topics of the day. For issues on which we have no particularly strong perspective, we often replace our lack of knowledge with anger and passion. That way, other angry and passionate people, who similarly have neither the time or compulsion to educate themselves, can angrily and passionately respond. This creates what is called a “news cycle,” and when participating in this loop of feedback, occasionally we go a little too far.
Perhaps my column was simply another example of the too-frequent tendency to voice a sudden, emotional reaction to something, without digging a bit deeper to the core of what is being said.
Perhaps I missed the point entirely, and showed my own complete, humiliating ignorance by spouting my half-considered nonsense into the void of social media, where confused friends and family members reinforced my denseness.
Perhaps I should read more carefully. More closely. And not start writing responses after only ingesting the first paragraph of an article.
Perhaps when my obliviousness to the point being made was called out, instead of doubling down on my lack of understanding, I should have listened to what was being said and copped to my earlier error.
But then again, perhaps not. I am a journalist, and the role of a journalist is to ask the hard questions, even if in asking those question I reveal myself to be uneducated, uninformed, or embarrassingly out of touch. Just as it’s your role as the audience to get unreasonably upset at whatever point I’m trying to make. So, in that sense, we’re both fulfilling our roles admirably.
But mistakes were made. So, thank you for using your powers responsibly, Peterborough. You’ve again proven yourself to be a shining example of comprehension and self-awareness. And while I’m sorry you felt offended by my work, and you will no doubt be peppering my inbox with your not-at-all-unintelligible responses, I know that deep down your unbelievable anger comes from a place of sincere caring.
And with that in mind, I hope you can extend that caring a bit further to forgive me.
And perhaps, in time, I can learn to forgive you, too.