To the major Canadian news outlets:

I understood your fascination with the story of Luka Rocco Magnotta.

At first, there was the crossover between a gruesome murder and Canada’s major political parties. Then emerged the biography of a bisexual escort and his Chinese immigrant victim. More recently, the plot turned into an international manhunt for a ‘Canadian Psycho.’

This guy had it all, topped off with an arrest in a German Internet cafe and allegations of cannibalism.

But now that Magnotta has been caught, please quit plugging up top story space with this troubled porn actor. Despite the plastic surgery, the guy’s undeniably creepy mug does not resemble that of James Dean (which, according to reports, was the look Magnotta was going for), and it’s no longer useful to the public that I know what he looks like.

Can we, perhaps, refocus on the other big story out of Montreal these days?

I can’t even fathom protests like the ones in Quebec happening elsewhere in this country – least of all in this relatively conservative province, around this relatively conservative campus. We got 150 people out for a night in downtown Hamilton last week to cause a stink with some pots and pans. About a hundred times that many students have gone on strike over the last few months a province over.

In part, this speaks to a difference in culture. Quebec seems much closer to Europe than other Canadians give it credit for. Protest and political involvement, particularly among young people, are a much more popular means of expression there.

But I can’t help but feel that the way we’re reading about these events – or not reading about these events because a couple of severed hands and feet got mailed to Ottawa – has something to do with it. Francophone media outlets have accused English ones of boiling this issue down to a cross-province comparison of tuition rates, when demonstrations are about much more to most protesters.

This story’s not just a Montreal story or a Quebec story. It’s a Canadian story. We might not fully understand what’s happening over there, but whatever’s causing it involves us, too.

So, Globe and Mail, CBC and National Post – all of whom, as of this writing, have lead stories whose headlines include the term ‘body parts’ – can we get back to the stories that really matter? Magnotta doesn’t need the attention, and I’ve heard enough of the details.


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