In my deposition by global warm-monger Michael E Mann's lawyer, I contrasted the behavior of my two publishers in important free speech cases north and south of the border - Maclean's and National Review. Maclean's was the classic dentist's-waiting-room magazine, the Canadian equivalent of Time, super-mainstream, non-ideological; National Review, by contrast, a conservative institution on an ideological mission. Yet it was Maclean's and their owners, Ted Rogers and his heirs, who stood absolutely firm on the principle of free speech, while the shifty little weasels of National Review retreated into ever narrower legalistic arguments ever further away from any principle. As I put it under oath to Mann's lawyer, John Williams:
In my free speech cases in Canada, Ted Rogers who died midway through the thing, but Ted ran basically the people who provide the cable tv, the internet service, the e-mails and they publish... Canada's most famous mainstream women's magazine, La Châtelaine, they're not ideological at all.
But the Rogers family were like a rock on the issue of free speech, and I realized that these ideological soulmates at National Review were in fact not serious.
No, they're not. But the Rogers family were. "Mainstream" isn't quite the right word for Rogers; in Canada, they're ubiquitous: If you've watched TV, listened to radio, read a magazine, gone to a baseball game, sent an email, chances are you've intersected with Ted Rogers' business empire.
I can't claim to be big buddies with the family, but I've run into various of them hither and yon, and I shall always be grateful to them for their simple, bold, principled, undeviating stand all those years ago.
So, when I saw the late Ted Rogers' daughter-in-law trending all over the Internet, I was naturally interested. Suzanne Rogers is the wife of Edward Rogers III, who's the current chairman of the company and also owns the Toronto Blue Jays. The Daily Mail reports that he is worth $11.57 billion, which sounds awfully precise. At any rate, he's several times richer than Donald Trump, which is the way it goes: the flamboyantly rich are always less rich than the quietly rich.
Suzanne Rogers is described as a "Canadian socialite", from of all places Elliot Lake, where my parents got married, back when it was "the uranium capital of the world". If you want to be a socialite, it's not a good place to begin. But from that unpromising start Mrs Rogers has been on the board of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children fundraiser, and chair of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award Gala. Her big thing is fashion, so she has endowed the Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute at Ryerson University and launched the Suzanne Rogers Award for Most Promising New Label, and her Suzanne Rogers Presents gala partners with the likes of Oscar de la Renta and Victoria Beckham.
And all this stands on the brink of ruin because a few days ago the family went to dinner in Palm Beach, at an establishment called Mar-a-Lago. And at the close of the evening the proprietor came over to say hello and Mrs Rogers posted the above photograph, under the words "A Special Way to End the Night".
It was also a special way to end a socialite's social standing. With the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards looming next week, its head honchette Vicky Milner announced that Suzanne Rogers was nothing to do with them, despite being a co-founder of the awards, its most generous benefactor and the patron of the Suzanne Rogers Designer Grant Award. Nevertheless:
We want to ensure that CAFA's focus is about celebration and shining a light on our amazing talent. As such, CAFA has made the decision to defer The Suzanne Rogers Designer Grant Award and Suzanne Rogers will not be attending this year's Gala.
She's given millions to them; it wouldn't exist without her; but she's out because she made the mistake of being seen on the town wearing a hopelessly déclassé label: Trumper. Mrs Rogers has done all the usual groveling:
I have always believed in equality, diversity, inclusiveness, and respect for all, and I have worked to that end of all my life. They are important in all aspects of society, especially in fashion... I do not have any kind of relationship with Donald Trump, good or otherwise. I had never met him before that night. Our family's interaction with President Trump was mere seconds at the end of dinner, as we were leaving...
Yeah, well, you'll be trying to wash those "mere seconds" off for the rest of your life. The grifters who've taken your millions for years despise you. Your prostrations won't make them like you, or pretend to like you, but they are useful pour encourager les autres.
Very few people ever take my advice, but, if I'd been asked, I'd have said: Do what your father-in-law did over my Maclean's cover story back when the shakedown artists of the Canadian Islamic Congress were demanding similar prostrations and more. Just say no, and take the Ted Rogers position that you're not going to explain your position - because even that is an abomination in a free society: What business is it of the totalitarian goons of the Canadian fashion industry if the encounter was "mere seconds" or twenty minutes or you were chugging back the cognacs till three in the morning? Screw off outta here - and, if these thug enforcers don't want your millions, find something less fashionable to endow.
It is a little pathetic, I think, to be worth $11.57 billion and to hit the foetal position as instantly as some no-name Tweeter. What's the point of being a billionaire if you accept that the mob has the right to tell you what you can post on Instagram? Don't they call it "F U money"
Commentators often remark, re J K Rowling's "transphobia", that, well, she's made her dosh, she can afford to take a stand, it's easy for her. Not at all. Ms Rowling will pay a price - in the future books that will not be published by big houses, in the old books that will disappear from library shelves, in the film options that will not be exercised. With all her dough, it is still a courageous stand. The cowing of billionaires reminds us how rare it is.
~We are celebrating the fourth birthday of The Mark Steyn Club, and I thank all those members who have decided to re-up for another year. Among them is David Klein - like Mrs Rogers, of Ontario, and possibly also a glittering socialite - who says:
The Mark Steyn Show has helped me get through this dreadful epoch. Thank you.
Thank you, David. The epoch is indeed dreadful.
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