Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Life of a columnist Part II

This Magazine Staff

It’s always nice to get a shout-out in the Globe and Mail. So I was initially pleased to see Russell Smith reference The Rebel Sell in his column in today’s Globe (sorry, Russell’s behind the new Globe firewall).
Smith was talking about the new American Apparel store on Queen St. in Toronto, making the point that an “anti-brand” like AA is still a brand. True enough. But then he goes and mentions both The Rebel Sell and Hal Niedzviecki’s new book, in the same sentence, and notes that both books are equally skeptical of the sort of virtous capitalism exemplified by American Apparel, Adbusters, etc.
True enough. Except then Smith approvingly quotes Hal, who gives his usual “advertising is conformity” line.
Set aside the fact that Hal has been in the grip of a false ideology for lo this past decade or so, and that pretty much everything he thinks about our culture is wrong. Let’s also hold off on the eye-rolling predictability of Smith interviewing Hal in Toronto’s National Newspaper, Queen St. Section.
Let’s focus on the simple fact that, from what he says in his column, Smith clearly hasn’t read a word of either book.
Something Conrad Black once said about journalists is coming to mind, but I’m too lazy to look it up right now.

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