Saturday Night: a searing expose

'These people are swine, Chief. They have nothing to recommend them but their money, education and possessions.'- The operative's interim report on Saturday NightChief:t was better in the cia: you dealt with the Iranis, the crack dealers, the occasional Haitian selling...

‘These people are swine, Chief. They have nothing to recommend them but their money, education and possessions.’

- The operative’s interim report on Saturday Night


t was better in the cia: you dealt with the Iranis, the crack dealers, the occasional Haitian selling fresh body parts to u.s. medical schools.

You didn’t have to sit up all night hearing Mordecai Richler go on about how Brian Mulroney would have been better to stay a drunk, or about how some other writer spent their leisure time for a few months in a cage with a serial killer and…

A cabal

You have it wrong. Saturday Night isn’t one person: it’s a group, a cabal: some sort of deviate congregation. Not one person: many.

I have the fax intercepts, the stuff the hacker sucked out of the Saturday Night computer, the cell-phone transcripts, everything you asked for. Searing. Sordid. A cesspool. With your permission, I’ll fax a copy to Dateline NBC.

Just on the straight stats, the whole story starts out clean.

Lots of dough (Household income: 64% $50,000+ and 36% $75,000+.) Stats say you could trust them to sign the papers for their bmws and their trips to St. Barts. Fine. Good.

But then we run a comparo and we find that between ’91 and ’93 the number of their folk with household incomes over $75,000 has more than doubled. During a recession.

Think about that, Chief. Know any other groups that have piled up cash like that during the recent Lost Years? Other than crack manufacturers and members of the Canadian Senate? Get you to thinking?

Okay, fine: maybe a statistical aberration. You could excuse it – until you twist the rest of the data. In ’91, 63% of the suspect group owned homes. After the real estate debacle, after all those Power of Sale ads – that number is up to 81%.

A few more stats and you’ll get the whole picture. In ’91, 41% of the group were white collar. Today: 50%.

In ’91: 27% Managers, owners or professionals. Today: 34%.

In ’91: 40% female. In ’93: 53% female.

Raking in dinero

The world is headed straight down the porcelain and these Saturday Night people are raking in dinero, buying houses, getting promotions, changing sex?

It ain’t right, Chief. And as we used to say in the Firm, where there’s smoke, there’s usually substance abuse.

How did they fix the damn numbers?

First suspicion was they had a spin team of numbers doctors from one of the political parties at it. But it was worse: this hellspawn subverted a select group of newspapers in the six largest cities to carry their message for them.

That’s a 54% increase in their number of adults in the big six. If the rest of the cults start spreading like this, Waco’s going to look like Wonderland.

Numbers are one thing. But then we started hanging around the writers that they – Saturday Night people – hang around with.

Do this with anybody else, Chief – and you meet a nice group of people.

The kind of folks who always have a new recipe for you: something interesting to do with cheese thins. Always a horoscope. A tidbit on the Bernardo/Teale case. A fashion hint. Pleasure to be with: the salt substitute of the world.

But not these folks: not the writers they hang with. We are talking subversion here at least: Margaret Atwood rewriting In Flanders Fields.

Robertson Davies telling the kind of ghost stories that would have Stephen King in a funked-up swoon.

A story on how an ex-Globe and Mail correspondent ends up running a lap-dancing club in Manila?

The only thing near a recipe any of these people have written is an essay calling for a greater appreciation of broad beans, for God’s sakes.

So the investigation, thus far, Chief, would have two primary data:

1. While the rest of Canadians have – with a quiet courage that would probably make a really good abc mini-series – taken it right in the ear during the recession, the Sat. Nite people have been pulling it in with both hands

2. Your Sat. Nite folks hang out with crazy writers. Big names, sure. And cultural icons. But the stuff that comes out of their word processors is not what they publish in the other journals where readers have learned to keep a modest and quiet limit to their lusts and incomes.

Have nothing to do with these people, Chief. They’re swine.

All they have to recommend them is their money, their education and their possessions. There is nothing there for you except the kind of whacked-out kicks some get from fondling gold and listening to the so-called literati.

Yeah, and I still say it’s a damn shame we can’t mount a decent surgical air strike in this country. These people would be on the tippy-top of my list, Chief.

Story supplied to Jeffrey Shearer, publisher of Saturday Night magazine by writer J. Rod Darnel.