Local columnists didn’t have much to worry about before the internet. Maybe a few dirty looks while waiting for a morning coffee, or in the grocery store after, but by the next day all would be forgotten. A new column would hit the ink and everyone would get over it.
Not so for Ian Robinson. His Oct. 25 Calgary Sun column—a creepy paean to conservative women, especially their designer shoes—is making the rounds on the web and it just keeps going. Non-Sun readers, and people living outside of Calgary, are signing up to comment at the bottom of the article to vent their spleen.
A collection of responses from the web paints a pretty solid picture:
From the Sun’s comment section, 81 comments:
Do you keep your porn mags in the gun rack of your 4×4 Ian? – Arby
People like you are the reason I finally stopped calling myself a Conservative. Perhaps you could write something similar on how negroes like myself just love running for office or interviewing for a job and, if we don’t get it, oh well, there’s always a pick-up b-ball game around! You nitwit. – Kinsella
Twitter users weigh in:
And of course, a Facebook group protesting the column, with 33 members. One thing that differentiates the Facebook group from the Twitter users and comment posters, is that they aren’t asking for Robinson’s job, or an apology.
I don’t agree with Robinson, or the choice to print it, but I also don’t think an empty apology changes anything. He, his editor, and every set of eyes that column passed on the way from editing to pagination, knew this would happen. And chances are the fallout, a.k.a. free publicity, was exactly what they wanted. Nothing pumps-up newsstand circulation numbers like outrage — look at John and Kate.
[Photo by stuartpilbrow licensed under Creative Commons 2.0]