Canadian media

Jonathan Kay Is Going to Be Just Fine

He left The Walrus this weekend over the appropriation controversy, but he’s not going to leave Canadian media anytime soon.

by Sarah Hagi
May 15 2017, 8:13pm

Art by. Noel Ransome

Late last week, a handful of big players in Canadian media showed their support for Hal Niedzviecki—an editor who wrote a piece about how there should be an award for writers who best partake in cultural appropriation. Following the "controversy," many of those involved backtracked on their statements by saying it was all a joke and rivaling Tom Cruise in their use of the word "glib." One stand-out supporter of Niedzviecki was none other than the Ultimate Liberal White Man, Jonathan Kay.

Kay, an avid crusader for the plight of white men and their free speech, joined other editors in defending Neidzviecki against those pesky people of colour who can't debate anything because they're too PC. In a column for the National Post, Kay argued exactly what he's argued countless other times saying, "small acts of well-intentioned censorship will expand into a full-fledged speech code that prohibits whole categories of art and discourse." Like one day we're going to all wake up in some weird dystopian future in which white people are held accountable and challenged for belittling people of colour.

On Sunday, as the controversy was dying down, everyone noticed Kay quietly stepped down from his position as editor in chief of The Walrus, which he joined in late 2014 after a long stint at the Post. In an email written while grocery shopping somewhere in the east end of Toronto, Kay told the National Post he for sure wasn't ousted, but stepped down because he "got tired of the internal battles." Also, he didn't take a severance pay—which, why would he because he left on his own accord.

Regardless of the whys and hows of Kay's resignation, I found myself joining all my friends in celebrating what felt like a small victory. To me, Kay personifies the old-guard mentality of so many Canadian media institutions— the nepotism (his mom is Barbara Kay), how he overshadowed the legacy of The Walrus with his antics, his flaunting of his wealth, being on every panel — the list is endless.


The truth is that nothing bad will happen to Jon Kay. He's only going to fall upwards. He will be fine and continue to be successful no matter how bad his opinions and politics become (even if they become as bad as his mother's). Yes, he's no longer the editor-in-chief of a prestigious Canadian publication, but now we risk being even more exposed to his antics because of all the free time he'll have. Kay has been a mainstay on Canadian news panels to offer "alternative" opinions to those of people of colour, he's a professional pot-stirrer (and Twitter blocker) and I predict it's only going to get worse.

But what will he do and what's his next move? I have some predictions:

September 2017 - After a brief disappearance to the Muskokas he returns to the public eye with a beard
When white men want to show growth, they literally grow hair out of their faces. When they're done with something, there's no better way to show they're ready for the next phase of their lives than growing some facial hair and taking up some kind of hobby. Not that he's anywhere near as talented, but he will take the Letterman or Colbert route before moving on.

November 2017 - He will explain Canada to Americans/Brits in either Slate or The Guardian
As is written in the Canadian Media Constitution, one can only rise above their station with a 1200-word op-ed in a friendly left-of-centre, digital publication outside of Canada. Canadian Twitter will talk about it for no more than two hours. His pieces won't get much traffic beyond the initial hate reads and he will be let go from his position but he will frame it as a "Canada needs me" move.

December 2017 - He announces a book about PC culture
Known for blocking anyone on Twitter who calls him out (I am a member of this really not exclusive club), the book, titled Blocked, will be a wordier version of Jon Ronson's hit book So You've Been Publicly Shamed and it will include a chapter on how he loves blocking people on Twitter. He will still somehow find a way to yet again, centre himself in the ongoing non-battle of freedom of speech in Canada by furthering his victimization. The cover will be his bearded face with tape over his mouth.

All of 2018 - He will appear on every panel about media and diversity, but turned up to 11
It's not a secret Jon Kay loves a good panel. He loves the sound of his own voice, especially when it's proving that there aren't really any huge race issues in Canada. At one point, he'll be on a panel of white men alongside Jesse Brown and we'll all have to swallow the pill that is taking Jesse Brown's side on something (but only out of sheer desperation). Chances are one of these men will die when the other uses all the oxygen in the room.

April 2018 - He will debate his mother at U of T
Jon Kay is a milder, centralist version of his dear mother, Barbara. While his mom is into full-on pedal to the metal anti-black and Islamophobic columns, her son loves to disagree with her. She's more "Muslims need to go!" and he's more "Hey, now! This is Canada let's keep them. But tbh, I don't think they face that much discrimination." He's publicly gone on the record disagreeing with his mom a lot, but once he starts appearing on televised panel debates, he won't know whether or not to call her "Mom" or "Barbara," he'll likely just avoid saying her name all together because he won't be able to win! It'll be interesting to see just how much he can stand up to mother.

September 2018 - Attempts college speaking tour with Stephen Marche and Jordan Peterson
The tour will be heavily protested and eventually cancelled. While the public reasoning will be that millennials can't handle their truths, Canadaland will report the tour died when they realized " Politically Incorrect" was still trademarked.

October 2018 - Announces GoFundMe for "Blocked: The Documentary"
He surpasses his goal of $50,000 within three days. He finds out while playing tennis.

January 2019 - Announced as contributing editor on The Rebel's new vertical 'Elitez'
In an attempt to add a little diversity (and credit) to The Rebel, Kay will become the right-wing publications neo-liberal voice of reason. He will defend his decision by using phrases like "If we want to change minds we can't have a liberal echo chamber" but of course, he will be stoked to have a bit of power again.

July 2019 - Announces plans to run for the Liberals in the fall election
It's inevitable, isn't it?

October 2019 - Wins Toronto seat.
Told you he'd be fine.

Follow Sarah Hagi on Twitter.

Tagged:
diversity
Satire
Diversity prize
the walrus
jonathan kay