Momma’s Coattail-Riding Hack or, Teachers and Blobbers fight back: you have nothing to lose but your dignity

, the Globe and Mail’s “Generation Why” columnist, wrote about the “blogosphere” Saturday.

Now, the ALLDERBLOB knows better than to write about things it knows not of. We are always careful to keep our mouths shut. Discretion is our watchword. But you can’t say that of McLaren.

The blogosphere indeed.

In Saturday’s column, McLaren came up with this zinger: “Much like teachers who teach because they can’t do, the blogger blogs because he can’t publish.”


Teachers and bloggers must stand united against this slur. We must demand a retraction.

It is difficult to know who should be more insulted, of course: bloggers for being likened to teachers, or vice-versa.

Maybe some of McLaren’s former teachers, the ones at McGill and Trent Universities, would have their own opinions on this.

Not that McLaren cares.

But maybe some of those teachers could tell McLaren where the real insult lies.

The real insult is the cliche McLaren utilized. What does it say about her education? Where was her editor? [Dull copy is never an excuse for sleeping on the job –ed.] The fact is, we expect better from Canada’s Car Advertiser of Record. We are sure McLaren has dingleberries with more zest than that sad excuse for a coinage.

Is it a cliche to say teachers are “those who can’t do?” Well, duh. The phrase gets 70,000 google hits. Of course, just cuz it’s a cliche doesn’t mean it isn’t true, or at least partly. But it’s not exactly an original insult. Not like saying someone’s a “momma’s coattail-riding hack” (zero hits, last we checked)–even though it, too, is at least partly true.

We aren’t bitter, although in fact we are teachers. See, what teachers “do” is teach (three hits on google). Teaching is really a kind of thing itself, with its own thingness. The thingness of teaching is probably closest to that of the performer. What do performers do? They don’t do anything, really. They present–that is, they “make present” something from somewhere else. In other words, they slow down time, and bring a new present into the midst of the current one. Sometimes this is as boring as hell, other times it’s scary, or exciting, or freaky, or merely entertaining. Occasionally it’s educational. But it’s always a performance.

There are people out there who “do” that which the teacher presents, and often they are called upon to teach as well. We’ve all had teachers like that. David Mamet once pretended to teach a university class in playwrighting that we found ourselves in. We learned he couldn’t teach–which isn’t to say he’s not a reasonably good playwright. But we suspect one of his actors could have taught his material with a great deal more success.

But enough about teachers. Consider bloggers instead. McLaren throws around the word “blogosphere” like she really knows what it means. She even quotes some bloggers on the subject.

Wikipedia (that deliciously rich, yet fact-free news source) [shurely you mean fat-free? –ed.] tells us the word blobosphere [please –ed.] was coined in 1999. That makes it so, I don’t know, last century.

Sigh. Another cliche falls from those plodding fingers.

McLaren, are you listening? You can do better.

Actually, according to typist McLaren herself, she’s not listening. “I’m swearing off the blogosphere for good,” she wrote yesterday. This means, alas, the next time she googles herself on technorati she won’t.

But if she did, she’d wonder about why it is that someone whose mom never was an editor at the Globe and Mail (where as if by coincidence McLaren got her “first real job”) could come up with such great sentences as that last one [you know who deserves the credit, of course –ed.].

You may be wondering what this has to do with car advertising. Here it is: Leah McLaren, writing in the Globe and Mail (a.k.a. the nation’s car advertiser of record) may once have been a good writer. She has a good education: we respect the teachers at Trent and McGill, even if she doesn’t. She interned at This magazine, one of Canada’s finest publications.

But Leah McLaren has been corrupted. Corrupted automobiliously (just one hit, but it’s a damn fine one).

7 Responses to “Momma’s Coattail-Riding Hack or, Teachers and Blobbers fight back: you have nothing to lose but your dignity

  1. steviet says:

    brilliant screed Jake! Ever thought of actually getting published!?!? Ha Ha

    but seriously, what the heck are you doing reading her columns in the first place? who's been corrupted? shite


    It's as we feared: the ALLDERBLOB has been judged by the company it keeps. Yes, we admit: we read the McLaren report with some regularity, and it may be that we've been corrupted.

    However it's an honest corruption, bred of the hope that McLaren, who we once recognized dismounting from a bicycle (in front of Soundscape record store on College street) and leaving it to lean against the window and then --we're pretty sure--without locking the bike entering the store, may one day live up to the promise implicit in that most radical gesture: not that she's a poncey rich girl who can always afford another bike, but that a radical carefree streak lies buried in her, soon to emerge as a hero of Critical Mass or Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market, or something else, something totally unexpected: something so new and brilliant that people all over the city will one day be able to leave their bikes leaning, sans locks, without fear of reprisal or comment.

    That said, we're also jealoous of her: good looks, the right connections, a job paying tons of money for stuff she could probably scrape off a band-aid once a week, and only the coolest of friends. What is wrong with us? Maybe if we read up on "generation why" some of that--musth--for lack of a better word--will rub off on us.

  3. RC says:

    Oh man, I almost pissed my pants. This stuff is what makes the internet all worth while.

    McLaren's column is in the Style section isn't it? Jake, are you saying you go out of your way to open the Style section just to read her column?

    I'm shocked. Somehow I can't bring myself to open a section whose leading article was called "Dressing Mrs. Harper".

    And what the hell is wrong with your friends? I take issue with your 4th jealoousy.

    Not any of the others though.


    Yeah, the comment about the "coolest of friends" was strictly tongue in cheek. Sorry if it came across wrong. Anyway, ol' blobby here prefers friends who are warm and kinda sticky, folks like StevieT and RC.

  5. Spin says:

    I'll say this for Leah McLaren: she sure is good looking.


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