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Author Topic: The Walrus
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 22 August 2004 10:51 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is anyone else reading along faithfully?

I really enjoyed the summer fiction issue -- can't remember who would have edited that.

For the current issue, which seems to be the seventh, Ken Alexander seems to be acting as his own editorial director. I know none of the insider gossip, but I assume that is supposed to change at some point?

Tariq Ali's essay on the supposed "clash of civilizations" turned out to be really excellent, I thought, after a slightly weak (because overused) opening (the Gandhi anecdote).

Andrew Mitrovica's article about the CSIS spy who infiltrated the Heritage Front was gripping stuff, if a little stilted in the telling. What did others think about that story?

I thought that Allan Gregg's piece on alienated citzens/voters was simply awful, sheer hot air, often most condescending.

That's as far as I've got.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 22 August 2004 11:01 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Goo-goo-goo-choo

(Alright, alright, I'll call it a night...)


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 22 August 2004 11:05 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sigh.
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rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 22 August 2004 02:16 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Skdadl, did you read the Toronto Life article by Bob Fulford on Ken Alexander and The Walrus?
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skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 22 August 2004 02:22 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No ... I didn't.

What did Uncle Bob have to say? *skdadl is all ears*


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Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 22 August 2004 02:24 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Tariq Ali's essay on the supposed "clash of civilizations" turned out to be really excellent, I thought, after a slightly weak (because overused) opening (the Gandhi anecdote).

Haha! I was just chatting with 'lance about that a week or two ago, about the fact that he used the Gandhi anecdote about western civilization being "a good idea". I didn't really get into that essay, although I planned to come back to it later.

I really enjoyed the Heritage Front infiltration piece - it really was gripping, as you say - and in fact, when I read it (again, a week or two ago), I was going to start a babble thread about it.

The magazine is getting better and better, I think. I'm really enjoying it. I thought the magazine got off to a bit of a weak start, but now I'm hooked. In fact, I just sent off a gift subscription to a friend. Should've waited till Christmas, I guess, but oh well.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 22 August 2004 09:09 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps I should scan the article. It was a long and vicious article in the best WASP trash/"culture" tradition of Toronto Life. He seems to have spoken at length to senior staff and senior ex-staff.

If there were a TV show starring Bob Fulford called "The Bobford Files", what would the opening sequence be?


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'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 22 August 2004 09:21 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If there were a TV show starring Bob Fulford called "The Bobford Files", what would the opening sequence be?

Whatever it is, it should be an animated sequence so you could play up Fulford's resemblence to Principal Weatherbee of Archie comics fame.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 10 September 2004 02:36 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So how are we doing on the current issue?

What did people think of Gerry Caplan's article on genocide studies? It starts off as a report on his work on the report on the genocide in Rwanda (a frustrating experience), but then it turns into a provocative survey, I thought, of the work being done to counter particularist definitions of genocide and to confront crimes against humanity everywhere. The article is still a little vague, interesting more for its abstract optimism than its hard evidence, but much of it was news to me, and the attitude in particular made me hopeful.

And what about Marci McDonald on the so-called Calgary School? That label annoys me automatically, so I wasn't hoping for much, but I think that she did many fine eviscerations in the course of that history. Somewhat jerkily written, though, I thought.

Most attempts at humour still fairly limp, I thought, although I got a kick out of this:

quote:

A useful reference work: "Oh Hell, Not This Again!": Restoring Intimacy in the Long-Term Partnership, Government of Ontario, 2001.

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Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1299

posted 10 September 2004 02:42 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
And what about Marci McDonald on the so-called Calgary School?

I thought it was fairly insightful (notwithstanding its disproportionate emphasis on the group's hunting and fishing habits), although she did a much better job on the Martin article in the debut issue.


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skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 10 September 2004 02:46 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, Scott, all the huntin' 'n' fishin' photos had me rolling on the floor -- imagine those stiff-necked twits playing Great White Hunter in the great outdoors.

And Flanagan's flatulent caption to the fake photo -- too funny.

The one picture that bothered me was of a passel of people dressed as cowboys doing things to dogies. I have been part of a round-up or two, and I've seen calves branded, and that is definitely not the way it is done. We do not panic the critters. Those guys were sowing panic. Amateurs.

[ 10 September 2004: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1299

posted 04 October 2004 02:26 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Churn continues at The Walrus

quote:
TORONTO—Walrus deputy editor Sarmishta Subramanian and senior editor Lisa Rundle will be leaving the general-interest monthly at week’s end. Only creative director Antonio De Luca and associate editor/head of research Joshua Knelman remain of the original editorial team assembled by founding editor David Berlin and publisher Ken Alexander.

Editorial staff turnover at The Walrus, which marked its first anniversary this month, has been high. Berlin, now only a contributing editor, resigned after three issues. His successor, industry veteran Paul Wilson, resigned after just two issues, citing editorial interference from publisher Ken Alexander. Alexander appointed himself editorial director following Wilson’s departure.

Rundle’s decision to leave was “an incredibly complicated choice,” she says. “It wasn’t a viable work environment for me…I’d rather say less than more.” Subramanian could not be reached for comment.


FYI, Lisa is a former rabble.ca editor (and both she and Sarmishta were at This Magazine at one point).


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Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 04 October 2004 02:30 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's a shame. The Walrus is starting to get pretty good after a less-than-thrilling start. I'm sorry to read (between the lines?) that Lisa didn't seem all that happy there. I wonder what happened.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
saskganesh
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4203

posted 05 October 2004 08:13 AM      Profile for saskganesh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i'd like to see more consistency in the walrus. issue to issue, story by story, its been fairly uneven. i guess this is a cause and effect of the unsettled editorial siutation

i do think its getting a lot better.


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skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 05 October 2004 08:26 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm sorry it didn't work out for Lisa -- I also wish we could hear a little of the background, although that's probably unrealistic in the short term. Just as a rule of thumb, though, it's likely, after so many people have left in the first year, that the biggest ego is the one still standing ...

The article following, on the panel about magazine publishing at Word on the Street, is interesting too. Canadian publishing: it's a jungle.


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Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1299

posted 28 October 2004 01:01 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From today's NOW Magazine...

Noah Richler makes a virtue out of repeated editorial purges

quote:
What is really at issue is Alexander's sometimes egocentric bravura and the way he has replaced those in key posts. In America, a couple of swift sackings are routine to save an enterprise, but in Canada years at the wheel and not what you do in them are what counts. And so CBC presenters until recently were more likely to die than retire, and Canadians are forever forced to sit at the breakfast table with the same tedious National Post and Globe and Mail columnists. (A savvy local theatrical producer could set the next revival of Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit on Front Street, with maybe Peter Mansbridge, Jeffrey Simpson and Andrew Coyne at the table.)

Alexander, formerly the publisher of the Walrus and now effectively its editor, committed a major Canadian faux pas when he behaved like someone who believed he could do better than the small pool of apparently proven trade staff from which Canadian custom says he should hire – "proven," in this instance, merely meaning that the departed worked on various incarnations of magazines that have consistently, um, failed.

When I spoke to Alexander recently, he was delighted that his subscriptions were healthily on the rise. But the future of any magazine is uncertain, and he also remarked that if the Walrus fails, it's likely that no one else will try anything like it for 20 years. He's right. We can support Canadian writing. Or we can wait for some American magazine to publish something that matters to Canadians, usually accidentally. The time to prove that we are more than some other nation's appended consumers is now.


Incidentally, Noah, I wouldn't call 28 years of This Magazine an, um, failure

I enjoy reading The Walrus, but I won't renew my subscription if they keep chewing up and spitting out capable people.

Incidentally, can anyone find and post a link to the Toronto Life article that got under Richler's skin?


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 28 October 2004 01:18 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ah, Scott. Having read only the passage you quote, I was prepared to be annoyed with Richler too, but the article is much better than that.

(I haven't read Fulford's original in TLife either, and would be grateful for a copy from anywhere ... ?)

But I know Fulford on this topic, and I enjoyed Richler's nose-thumbing.

I don't know Alexander at all, and no one has turned up to give us the inside story of the several recent leave-takings, so I don't know how to judge what's happening organizationally at Walrus.

What Richler is not emphasizing enough (he mentions it midway, but then seems to forget by article's end) is the almost impossible economics of magazine publishing in this country. It is a problem of numbers, straight numbers, not some failure "to prove that we are more than some other nation's appended consumers." Yes, private money is needed; and in this country, probably, public money is needed. That's what Canadian readers need to recognize.


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Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1299

posted 28 October 2004 01:33 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There may be some worthwhile points in the article, but Richler's key point seems to be that Alexander is somehow tackling those legitimate challenges by firing staff (or making their work so intolerable that they quit). Indeed Richler seems to think that Alexander should be applauded for his egotism.
From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 28 October 2004 01:45 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I wonder if Richler will be singing the same tune in a year. The fact is, a magazine needs staff to function, and editorial considerations aside, Alexander is by all accounts a horrible person to work for.

[ 28 October 2004: Message edited by: rasmus raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 28 October 2004 01:57 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, if Alexander is being his own e-in-c, it will take a couple more issues before we can tell how he's doing at that. What we're seeing now would still have been produced by the senior people who've gone.
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skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 26 November 2004 09:02 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just started in to the new edition.

Does anyone else see some wobbliness starting? Maybe I haven't read enough yet, but some of it looks wobbly to me.


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saskganesh
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4203

posted 26 November 2004 09:58 AM      Profile for saskganesh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i'm resubscribing.
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'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 26 November 2004 10:10 AM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Haven't seen the Walrus in months, but Noah Richler's writing continues to be really annoying, and his hand-me-down Britishisms ("sackings," "presenters") don't help. I know he grew up there, and I don't care.

[ 26 November 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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sgauvreau
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14218

posted 13 June 2007 07:34 AM      Profile for sgauvreau     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just started reading The Walrus and think this month's issue is really good so far. The "Searching For Lonliness" section is hilarious and sad all at the same time. The person who was searching for sexy female body builders, seedy Hawaii motels, and last minute airfare had me rolling on the ground.

"Tank Talk - Overheard At The Armoury" was good for a chuckle.

The articles on forgiveness and "The Society Of Difference" were poignant.

I just finished the article on the charter and it was alright. Had some moments but unfortunately a playwright writing about a bunch of "sophisticated concepts and crushing jargon" doesn't work very well. Maybe that's good though because I probably would have been crushed by the jargon of the conference too. I think his main point of the contradictions of the charter actually make the charter what it is was pretty great.

Anyone with a larger vocab and better insight have anything to say about this issue?


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jrose
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 13 June 2007 11:33 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I love the Walrus. It’s up for a number of National Magazine Awards, which are on Friday, and I’m volunteering at, so make sure to check out it does in a few days. I too have only recently become a reader (within the last year or so) but I’ve started to faithfully pick it up almost every month. I haven't read the article you're referring to yet, so no comment so far!
From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
sgauvreau
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14218

posted 13 June 2007 12:34 PM      Profile for sgauvreau     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm gonna get a subscription once we're settled in Ottawa. It's pretty expensive on the news stand.
From: National Capital Region | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
jrose
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 16 June 2007 09:48 PM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Among many of the awards that the Walrus received last night at the National Magazine Awards, it walked away with the title of Best Magazine.
From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged

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