About seven months ago, I put pen to paper—or a less traditional finger to keyboard—on a signed editorial for the Journal, titled “Get in Bed with Eds.” I wasn’t trying to encourage anyone to literally get in bed with me—the Journal prints 6,000 copies every issue, so doing so would set a record for largest in-bed read-in—but instead to explain the role of the Editorials page within the Journal as a whole.
Though the Editorials page acts as the voice of the Journal as a publication, it can’t represent all of its employees at once. Getting 20 people to agree on one opinion is like trying to touch your elbow with your tongue—you can’t do it, and you’ll look silly trying.
(For every 10 of our readers currently trying to prove me wrong on this point, one will succeed.)
I was afraid that either myself or individual members of the Journal would end up being held accountable for material published on the Editorials page.
If you look at the Journal’s Rewind supplement, you’ll see why the Editorials section has such incendiary potential: Two pieces challenge major newspapers. Another addresses a hotly-contested piece from Maclean’s. A fourth takes a side on a highly-divisive campus issue—the Homecoming cancellation. The fifth tackles one of the greatest moral dilemmas of our age … the Tim Horton’s Roll Up The Rim To Win contest.
Not every day is Watergate. Please, bear with me.
I wrote the editorial, and tucked it away in my mind, ready at any moment to direct a critic to the explanation I had provided. And then the strangest thing happened.
I never needed it. Not once.
Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has anyone from the Journal ever had occasion to refer someone to it.
According to the statistics for queensjournal.ca, people read the editorials—and sometimes even criticize them. But no one has ever sent me a hostile message, email, letter or telegram. No one has ever started a sentence with “Hey aren’t you that jerk who…” (well … this has happened, but not in reference to my work at the Journal, anyway). As I bid a quiet farewell to the Journal, and to the Editorials page that I’ve edited with the careful precision of a man with nothing left to lose, it would be unfair of me to pass up an opportunity to thank the readers of this section for being so restrained and respectful over the course of the past year.
So thank you. I’ve been waiting all year for the other shoe to drop, and it never did.
It’s a good thing sandal season is coming.