Thursday, May 03, 2007

Kevin Potvin - Victim! (of Censorship?)

May Want to Double-Check the Meaning of "Censorship"

As surely as history repeats itself -- and recent repetitions have been unwelcome ones for Elizabeth May and the Green Party -- some people never learn from their mistakes.

Cue Kevin Potvin.

After having been the subject of fierce media criticism as a result of his boneheaded comments on 9/11, Potvin has indulged himself in half-minded self defenses and outright temper tantrums in his independent weekly newspaper, The Republic of East Vancouver.

In his most recent issue, Potvin is at it again, this time making the laughable assertion that he has been "censored by the corporate media".

Potvin muses that the censorship in question revolves around two articles he printed.

The first of these articles, naturally, is his "Revolting Confession" article in which he discussed the "beauty" of 9/11. The other was an article in which he tried to explore the deeper motives of the 9/11 hijackers, concluding that we "share common cause with the Islamists". It was particularly in the former that he made some of the most boneheaded comments ever submitted to the public record regarding 9/11.

In Potvin's mind, nothing he said was boneheaded at all. In fact, he's a victim. "My essay was deliberately mischaracterized as a perverted celebration of mass murder," he complains.

Hilariously, Potvin exhibits an inability to learn from his mistakes. Earlier in the article, he writes, "One article, published over four years ago, revaled some of my conflicted inner thoughts on that incredible morning of 9/11, one of which was to marvel at the beauty of the spectacle of those monumental symbols of commercial and military power crumbling to the ground." Potvin claimed the meaning of his article was "symbolic", and that he didn't mean to celebrate the deaths of 9/11's victims. Yet Potvin can make a comment such as this -- twice! -- knowing full well that the World Trade Center and the planes crashed that day were all full of people.

More than all of this, Potvin is a mind reader. "We all know the conflicted and contradictory feelings we experienced watching 9/11 unfold on our television screens that strange morning." Apparently, Potvin is sitll convinced that everyone, like him, had sociopathic little voices in their head screaming "beautiful" while watching the towers fall.

As we speak, Kevin Potvin is reading all of our minds (we'd better get to work on folding some tin foil beanies), including those of his critics. "Anxious to deter the notion that other commentators besides me should be suspected of harbouring similar thoughts -- anxious because they do harbour such forbidden thoughts -- some found it prudent to be seen on the public record taking kicks at me," Potvin whines.

Unfortunately for mr Potvin, not everyone shared his perverse reaction to 9/11. To some, human lives are more important than ideologies. Potvin may want to consider that before continuing to portray himself as a martyr.

In recards to his second article, Potvin complains about a percieved tendency among media commentators to dismiss Islamic terrorists as "insane." "We are asked by our governments to consider the Islamists simply insane," Potvin insiststs, "their acts of terror simply mad. But even the most cursory familiarity with the political and economic history of the Middle East leaves one suspicious that the picture includes a few more colours than just madness."

Yet the (naturally) most outspoken world leader on the subject today, has clearly outlined what he believes the grievances of individuals such as Osama Bin Laden are, and "insanity" is rarely among them. Bush does, however, promote a fairly naive version of these individuals' motives when he describes their hatred of freedom. Although this is true -- they do hate freedom, and their desire to impliment oppressive theocratic regimes throughout the world is ample evidence of this -- these terrorists also have a laundry list of social, political and economic grievances as well. Potvin actually does well to point to this.

However, he is hardly alone in this regard. Many individuals on the public record -- and just as many among the corporate media -- have commented on the various grievances Islamic terrorists hold against the western world, and the United States in particular. Potvin is hardly any kind of visionary to suggest such things.

In fact, Michael Ignatieff -- the deputy leader of the party with whom the Green party struck a non-competitive pact while Potvin was still a candidate -- perhaps came closest to describing Islamic terrorists as such when he described them as a "death cult"(1).

Ultimately, Potvin may want to double check his rhetoric. The fact of the matter is that Potvin hasn't been censored by the media. He's clearly been censured by the media, and rightfully so.

If only Potvin could reconcile his ego against reality long enough to understand this, he would be well on his way to learning from his mistakes.

Apparently, the one question that Potvin can't answer is this: how does the "evil corporate media" censor someone who owns his own newspaper?

1. Mr Potvin knows this, as well. I told him as much, in the comments section of his own website.

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