Did I ever tell y’all about the conversation I had with the pretty coffee coloured girl in Chapters in the Manulife Centre in Toronto one evening shortly after the Western Standard had published the cartoons? I was killing time before a movie, and thought I’d cause a little random trouble. I asked the girl (who I swear I didn’t pick because of her colouring) if I could please have the latest issue of the Standard, since I had heard the controversial cartoons had been published in it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Now, I knew perfectly well that Chapters had “nobly” refused to carry that edition of the magazine on the grounds that it tended to offend “people”. It had been announced in the papers that were carrying coverage of little else that week.
The girl said, rather awkwardly, “Well, ummm…we aren’t carrying that this week.”
I asked why not.
“Well, you know…you can’t go around offending a volatile people”, she replied with a hint of a you-know-what-I-mean wink.
“So, what are you saying? That Heather Reisman decided not to carry the magazine because she was afraid of offending religious sensibilities? or because she was afraid of being killed and having her businesses bombed?”
The girl got a kind of bunny-in-the-headlights look and stammered, “Hey that’s my culture, you know…”
“Well, you’re the one who just said that it is a culture of ‘volatile’ people and implied that they can’t be trusted to behave in a civilized way…”