The new Globe and Mail building seems to be just as cloistered as the old one was. Keeping with their tradition of reticence, Globe management has not responded to inquiries about Leah McLaren’s controversial column, despite requests from The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and the usual Canadian suspects. A brusque brush-off by Conservative leadership candidate Michael Chong only made the column more of a story—even if he’d rather ignore this viral gift. McLaren’s only acknowledgement of the furor came via this retweet:

How an attempt to bury a column created confusion.The joy (and politics) of breastfeeding someone else’s baby” was published online last Wednesday at 4:13 p.m., but the Globe never promoted it. Lack of clarity on when and why the piece was removed has left commentators to invent their own narratives. CTV’s show The Social assumed the piece was unpublished because of widespread outrage. Meanwhile, The Rebel’s Faith Goldy described the piece as calculated clickbait, only deleted after an outcry, putting McLaren in a league with Gavin McInnes.

The fumes of Fake News rise from Leah McLaren’s claim. A stealth transmission from inside the Globe indicates that the column was “meant to be funny,” but was pulled down for legal reasons. But there’s at least one tweeter convinced all of this was but a stunt to promote Chong’s struggling campaign. And then there was this meme:

Maybe "breastfeeding Michael Chong's baby" isn’t what she really did. A few Twitter hot takes were determined to set the record straight: there’s no way that McLaren could’ve produced milk if she wasn’t lactating. Another school of thought has it that she was perhaps drunk, and perhaps lonely, and no harm was actually done. And then there’s the notion that Chong's privacy was invaded, and doing this to a now-tweenage boy shouldn't be glorified in Canada’s National Newspaper.

Vice suddenly gets sanctimonious about deviant behaviour. An outlet that has given us over two decades of content glorifying every kind of oddball bodily function—and which no doubt stands ready to cover ones that haven’t even been thought of yet—produced a crash course on what not to publish.

The competition tries keeping up with McLaren. Shannon Miller, a former journalist in Vancouver who breastfed her own son, returns to Postmedia to describe a comparable experience: “I wasn’t lactating, but my breast still had all the feeding and soothing parts and it worked like a charm. By the time the baby figured out it was all apparatus and no milk, she was asleep.”

How many columns can be written about one column? Thanks to the tempest created by Andrew Potter writing about Quebec’s “social malaise” in Maclean's last week, we have one answer: at least 40, along with three editorials, and letters to the editor that went as far as to compare it to the Rwandan genocide. (The takes peak with wondering whether Potter would've gotten off the hook had he written the same about transgender people.)

Word of the moment


Tabatha Southey, another Globe and Mail columnist, discreetly supplied this entire Leah McLaren episode with a name.

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