September 15 this paper ran an article entitled "Busy Candidates",
purporting to be a multiple choice guide for mayoral aspirants. The
views expressed in that article and in the column generally are entirely
those of the author and never represent those of this paper.
particular, the statement "if we were all three feet tall, we'd be
Martians" was demeaning to a group of people bearing a common
characteristic, as is specifically prohibited by s.205(3)(b)(iv)(3.1) of
the Ontario Human and Other Life Forms Rights Act, and made without an
evidentiary foundation and therefore in breach of Part IV of the
Accusations Act, in particular s.99(9)(a)(i)4 thereof.
Wellington Times unreservedly washes its hands of the whole gosh darned
thing, and undertakes to provide the complainant the Canadian Friends
of Mars (charitable registration #MAR0p4588888888) with a free
subscription to the Times for one month. It has also sent the author on
assignment to an indefinite period of alien cultural sensitivity
training in the environment referred to in the demeaning statement; the
cost of the return portion of which trip is to be borne by the author. THE BACKROUND DOCUMENTS (EXCERPTED) September 16 Letter to Canadian Friends of Mars (CFOM). Marked 'confidential'. Grp
tks jsp ipp ytt frr pkj xjj Wellington Times! Cfd rtt pll kss "three
feet tall." Nvv lkk rww sjm writer a one way ticket to Mars!! September 18 Letter from CFOM to the Wellington Times.
call upon you to withdraw the referenced remark and make apology
therefor, and to provide alien cultural sensitivity training to the
author as provided for in the Accusations Act. September 20 Memo from publisher to columnist. We have received a letter complaining about the way you stereotyped Martians. What shall we do? September 21 Memo from columnist to publisher. Nothing. In the immortal words of Mr. Toad from Wind in the Willows, "I'm not sorry at all." September 22 Memo from publisher to columnist I'm getting more worried about this. They could complain to our advertisers. Better come up with something. September 24 Memo from columnist to publisher. How
about a 'John Crosbie' apology - you know, the "pass the tequila,
Sheila" incident? I'm paraphrasing him, but it came out something like
"I sincerely regret if anyone was stupid enough to take offence at what
was obviously an attempt at humour. I'm only apologizing because I was
told to." September 27 Memo from publisher to columnist. I'm starting to feel the heat. We've got to come up with something better. September 30 Memo from columnist to publisher.
about we follow the current trend towards an equivocal apology. Take
Stephen Harper's apology on behalf of the Canadian government to Maher
Arar - for "any role Canadian officials may have played in (your)
terrible ordeal"; or Richard Nixon apologizing for "any
injury that may have been done" by his Watergate shenanigans. Come on,
boys: if you contributed to causing harm, just apologize; if you
didn't, don't bother; and if you're not sure then the apology is
how about the classic "but I was only trying to...",
guilty-with-an-explanation apology. Take this classic piece of Bill
Clinton Lewinsky bafflegab: "I've
tried to do a good job taking care of this country, even when I haven't
taken such good care of myself and my family and my obligations. I hope
that you and others I have injured will forgive me for the mistakes
I've made, but the most important thing is you must not let it deter you
from meeting your responsibilities as citizens."
we can say "the Times regrets any hurt the column may have caused
Martians, but we were pulling out all the stops trying to interest
readers in a municipal election. Besides, the paper is free." If you
want something less flippant, you can find numerous websites, such as imsorry.com, to show you how to say sorry.
October 6 Memo from publisher to columnist. I've
arranged for you to take what should be an interesting fact finding
trip with our complainant. I'll fill your space easily enough. Be in
your driveway at 8 sharp on Monday and look for a yellow flying saucer
and little green people with ropes.
Memo from columnist to publisher
I just remembered the old saw that truth is an absolute defence. So I'll go! I'll be filing an expense claim when I get back. October 8 Letter to CFOM. xgd
itg ekc osc ytg plk kmj scd pumpkinfest October 16 xxd fdf lkt wjk
bulk order Hillier Women's Institute apple dumplings by October 13. October 9 Memo from CFOM to publisher. We enclose a self explanatory memo dated October 8. We assume you will make the necessary arrangements. October 10' Memo from publisher to columnist. Marked 'urgent'. Sorry
for the last minute notice. The trip's been put back a week. Why
don't you take the time to enjoy Pumpkinfest. Oh, before I forget,
would you leave room in your suitcase for a little hostess gift. I hope
you don't mind the warm aroma of pasty and apples.
Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment.
What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue.
David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.