Erickson v. Gillis

So a few weeks back, on a sunny Byward Market patio, a friend from j-school recounted for me a notable interview on Sun TV. He was not at all impressed, but in honesty I thought it might have been the second pint talking, at least a little bit. His main point of contention was interviewer Krista Erickson’s use of the example of Canada’s troops in Afghanistan to challenge world-renowned dancer Margie Gillis on a statement she made about Canadian society losing its compassion.

Today, I finally got around to watching the interview… and I suggest you do too. It’s 20 minutes long, but the time will fly by since you’ll spend most of it trying to scrape your jaw up off the desk.

Let’s be clear – my problem with this interview has nothing to do with the politics of Krista Erickson’s questions. I haven’t done my own research on the issue, and it’s not my place to make a statement on the content (not that anyone would care about my opinion here anyway).

My problem is that, in some circles, interviews like this pass as “journalism”. Erickson’s questions are not designed to promote understanding or clarify the debate, they are questions intended to attack and belittle. I have no problem with holding interviewees to account, with challenging them, with asking them to defend or support their actions and choices. But there is a way to challenge an interviewee with class and dignity — journalists like Evan Solomon do it every day. In this interview, a false friendliness rapidly gives way to a complete lack of any manners. Erickson disparages Gillis’s life work, and then in the same breath she patronizes Gillis with fake compliments. I won’t call it any rude words, but I will say that is it not journalism.

The CRTC has already received more than 4,000 complaints about the “interview”. The class with which Gillis handles herself speaks volumes in juxtaposition to Erickson’s conduct; it’s almost the most telling element of the entire episode.

I know Sun TV is trying to provide an alternate perspective, and I can admire that in principle. But it’s hard to take this kind of approach seriously.

and she can’t even have morphine

I just want everyone to appreciate the beauty of this free kick by Christine Sinclair on Sunday. And while we marvel at that perfectly placed shot (the first world cup goal scored on Germany since the 2003 Women’s World Cup), let’s also keep this in mind – Sinclair had just broken her nose.

Canada went on to lose the game 2-1 to the reigning champs, but seriously. You try doing that after you just had your face elbowed in. (After the game, Sinclair was taken directly to hospital.)

How badass is that mask? All of Team Canada should wear them in solidarity. (Associated Press)

She practiced with the team today, but jury’s out on whether she’ll play against France tomorrow (a must-win or -tie). Either way you’re already a superhero in my books, captain.

clean tagging

Instead of using spray paint, these "reverse graffiti" artists create works of art by strategically cleaning walls. Creativity like this gives me hope for humanity. (Taken in San Francisco.)

Via dennis.