Michael Coren’s latest book has predictably been trashed already by the pundits who populate what passes for the mainstream media these days – Toronto’s free weekly left-wing rag Eye, for example, suggested the book should have been entitled Getting It Right while the Toronto Star cited what it saw as Coren’s “terminal pomposity” in relaying the kudos of one of this readers who told him she relies on his writings as a voice of “sanity, morality, clarity, and wisdom.”

Personal attacks aside, though, Coren’s book is weakened because the reader soon gets the perception that he or she has read these sentiments somewhere before – and indeed we have for the book is simply a collection of newspaper and magazine columns culled from the author’s writings for the Globe and Mail, the Financial Post, the Toronto Star, Books in Canada, Saturday Night, Toronto Life, and The Idler over the years.

Make no mistake, there are some good pieces of writing here – the massage spotlighting Toronto’s Catholic Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic is particularly interesting – and pro-life and pro-family advocated will be heartened by the columns which uphold the traditional family and the sanctity of human life. Too often, however, we’re left with the feeling that we’ve trodden over this ground already.

The book is divided into sections which respectively examine politics, men and women, fatherhood, the arts, the media, the military, religion, morality and personalities.

Vis a vis politics, there are some good insights into the Northern Ireland situation gleaned from the author’s personal experiences in that region of the world. Of particular interest to pro-life activists, who are often unjustly fingered for violent activities, is the column examining the copious instances of left-wing violence and terrorism which curiously never get the degree of press drawn by similar incidents perpetrated by those on the right-wing.

The chapter on men and women included Coren’s now-renowned column from the Globe and Mail “The Abortion Debate Not Over” which prompted the circulation of a petition among his colleagues for his dismissal. In it, Coren issued the sort of clarion call in support of the unborn that obviously was too much to handle for the pro-abortion folks who fill the newsrooms of our land under the guise of being impartial journalists.

“We claim that we want a society that is less violent, less exploitative and less cruel,” he wrote. “Yet we harm and exploit the most vulnerable in that very society. How dare it surprise us that others are also treated callously?… As a man, I am thankful that I was allowed to be born. And as a man I say that if the debate is over, on this or on any other issue of life and liberty, then so is history. For the sake of us all, le the band play on, and on.”

Also included is a humorous, satirical look at “”life Through the Eyes of a Typical Male.” This typical male, a creation of “clever women columnists in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and on television” likes his women as a “hybrid of harlot and Madonna,” judges wet T-shirt contests and love stow istle at the “babe at work.” That is, until someone comes up to him and tells him “Hey, Everyman, you’re not real. You’re just someone else’s polemic, rhetoric, overstatement.” Everyman can only scratch his head and remark, “Geez, those clever girl columnists didn’t tell me about any of this.”
He chapter on fatherhood includes a number of touching pieces such as tributes to Coren’s father (“the Caring London Cabbie Who Was My Father”) and his late grandfather, or any newspaper for that matter…no public awards, no friends in high places. What commemorations there were came in the local pubs among friends.” Coren adds several odes to fathers in divorce situations who are often not the alimony-evading ogres depicted in the media or who are the innocent victims of sexual abuse witch hunts.

Then there is a call for justice for fathers-to-be, who are often shut out of having any say in whether their children will be born. Coren relates the story of Martin and Janet, who had been lovers for two years. One day, Janet finds she is pregnant and Martin offers to parry her. He wishes for a girl and even gives her a name: “Sally. What a name. He’d always wanted that name.”

A week later, though, Martin receives a phone call from Janet, who tells him she’s made two decisions – one, to end their relationship, and two, to have an abortion. His subsequent pleading to her are of no avail. Coren can only poignantly conclude: “Beautiful name, Sally.”

Coren offers some good insights into the not-so-great workings of the Canadian media, noting correctly that “some journalists in this country appear to have a profound difficulty with anyone who expresses a conservative opinion…hatred, in their eyes, consists of taking up a contrary position to the liberal status quo and the leftist establishment that is so powerful in Canada.”

He draws on American commentator Rush Limbaugh as an example of a conservative figure who has been raked over the coals for his political beliefs, but Coren might well put himself forth as a model also – he’s pilloried several times for statements made on his nightly radio talk show in Toronto.

The cause of the tearing of the moral and social fabric can be traced to the affluent liberals on the 1960s who argued that promiscuity, pornography, and narcotics were acceptable in a mature, open state. The results, writes Coren in one of the book’s concluding sections, have been that “the traditional family is under attack from malicious and threatened people who have powerful friends and influential media allies…Hundreds of thousands of pre-born children are ripped in agony and terror from the womb because we have managed to justify the ultimate form of selfishness and have even glorified its practitioners”

Hard talk. It’s often found in this book, but in fragments. Perhaps Coren would have achieved greater success by composing a completely original work in its entirety. Let that b his next project.

Also helpful by the time of this next book would be for him to solidify his ostensibly pro-life position. During a recent broadcast of his CFRB Toronto talk show, he said abortion should not be made illegal during the first three months of the pregnancy (the period during which the vast majority of abortions take place)

One has to be puzzled as to how that view is compatible with the pro-life stance he takes in the book.

To meritoriously claim the pro-life label, Coren should come clean and support the protection of unborn life from conception onward