Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Do "factual errors" spoil the book?

At Ezra Levant's own website, he lists "a comedy of errors"...

Levant says:
For example, on page 39, she says that Jason Kenney "served as Stockwell Day's chief of staff." I presume she makes that point to show just how dominant the Christian influence in Day's office is. But as anyone on Parliament Hill knows, Kenney has never been Day's chief of staff.
This is definitely a factual error. However, Kenney *was* national co-chairman for Stockwell Day's campaign for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance. Does this error alter the substance of McDonald's book?

Levant says:
So, too, is the claim on page 65 that Ontario politician Frank Klees was a Baptist minister. He wasn't -- not that McDonald bothered to check with him before writing it.
Elsewhere on his own website, he says:
Did you know that Frank Klees was a Baptist minister?

No? Neither did Klees!
According to The Interim, a conservative newspaper, "He received his early religious education in a very conservative Baptist seminary in Toronto, but said he never became a Baptist minister and instead adopted the values he learned there."

Although...if you visit The Interim, apparently an older version of the website, the same writer says, "Frank Klees has highly principled positions, is a former Baptist minister and recently moved a motion to honour Pope John Paul II in the Ontario legislature."

Okay, my point is, it doesn't frakking matter! Obviously, Klees is very religious. If McDonald goofed here, it's virtually immaterial.

Levant's focus on "factual errors" is intended to suggest that McDonald's book is not a reliable source of information, that *ultimately* it is a work of pure fiction. You see, this is how the conservative mind works -- you can almost see the gears turning.

Non-fiction books routinely contain factual errors. I defy anyone to show me a non-fiction book that is absolutely flawless. Moreover, given that McDonald's book is over 400 pages in length, is it likely that the handful of factual errors (which, by the way, are pretty minor) overwhelm the rest of her thesis to the point of irrelevancy? Can we believe the conservative critics who say that this book is simply not worth reading and that her thesis deserves no thoughtful consideration at all?

One final thought:

On his own website, Levant says, and I quote: "She's a Christian hater -- that's a given." Funny, since McDonald regularly attends Anglican church with her family. What an asshole...

1 comment:

  1. I really miss William F. Buckley Jr. He was truly one of the great intellectuals of his day. He was always kind and courteous and respectful, but in political debates he could cut you to pieces with erudition and brilliance. It was always very difficult to score intellectual points against him. He is one of my personal heroes, even though we are clearly at odds philosophically.

    By comparison, Ezra Levant and David Frum are completely lacking in class. But it's what I've come to expect from the far right.