Good will hunting

Earlier this month I received a notice from the Globe and Mail telling me there would be “a change in the terms and conditions” of my print subscription. Beginning on June 29, if I suspended delivery while away for a weekend or a longer holiday, I would not receive a credit for that period, I would continue to pay just as if I had received the paper.

I was apoplectic. Ever since I could read, I’ve been reading the Globe. It’s one thing to sign up for Netflix and understand that whether you watch 100 hours a month or zero, you’ll pay $7.99 anyway. Or cable TV, where I pay for channels I never watch. But my lifelong deal with the newspaper was different; I signed up under specific circumstances and changing them in such an abrupt way was a step too far.

I contacted Editor-in-Chief David Walmsley threatening to cancel. He turned me over to Bryan Fox, manager of customer care, who considered the matter and gave me an exemption until August 2016. I know, it’s an odd length of time, but I was grateful and said so. So that’s why today, June 30, I am still a subscriber.

That doesn’t mean I have suspended my critical faculties. Let’s look at today’s paper starting with the page one headline, “Greece at a crossroad.” If you’re going to use a cliché, at least use the correct wording: “at a crossroads.” As they did in a headline in the Sports section on the same day about another topic. My page one headline would have been, “Fear Greeks bearing rifts.”

In an otherwise delightful travel piece by Amanda Ruggeri about Oxford she cites Charles Dodgson, the math professor who wrote Alice in Wonderland using the pen name of Lewis Carroll. Ruggeri says it’s only speculation that Dodgson got “too close” to the real-life Alice on whom he based the book. Speculation? Among the many photos Dodgson took in his lifetime, nearly three dozen are of nude or semi-nude children. Among his letters is one to a mother asking for permission to photograph her eight-year-old daughter as a “daughter of Eve” before she gets too old. He photographed his beloved Alice as a sultry street urchin in a tattered off-the-shoulder dress. She was all of six.

Paul Waldie, recently appointed editor of Report on Business, is doing a great job. I like how he’s asking experts to write for the section, rather than just be quoted in a news story. Today’s piece on Greece by Joseph Stiglitz is brilliant. The scales fell from my eyes; I understood the backstory for the first time.

But why let Steven Hudson get away so easily with a misinterpreted and misquoted statement? In There’s more to Element than GE deal Hudson boasts he’s about to do another acquisition. Oh Steven, how well I remember that overweening hubris from your days at the leasing company tied to the moneywagon of the late and unlamented Confederation Life. “The message of growth at Element is: It’s not over, it’s not over, it’s not over,” the Globe quoted Hudson as saying, who then added. “They say you have to say something three times.”

The adage Hudson was groping for takes us to a nonsense poem by the aforementioned Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark that opens “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:/What I tell you three times is true.” At the end of the poem, one of the crew calls the rest to say that he has found the Snark but when they arrive, their quarry has mysteriously disappeared. The only explanation, according to the narrator, was “the Snark was a Boojum, you see.” May Steve Hudson have better luck.

I’m glad I’m still getting the Globe. It takes me on so many escapades. Not all of which are in the print edition.


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