Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Conrad Black on the fur trade

The Walrus for April 2016 has a photo essay (not on the website, at least for now) on "Canada's Oldest Profession," the fur trade, based on a moody set of black and white images by photographer Tyler Anderson, shot at trap lines and hunting camps around the contemporary north. The accompanying text, which at first I took to be Anderson's too, is an odd essay, oblivious to the images. It almost entirely about New France, which is portrayed exclusively as a fur trade outpost, as if no one ever planted a crop along the St. Lawrence.

Then I checked the byline. It's by Conrad Black.

I happened recently to be looking into Black's biography of Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt very narrowly won the 1932 Democratic presidential nomination, after many ballots, at one of the last "brokered" conventions, so there is some timely stuff in it. Once again, I concluded it's a damn good biography. This piece? It reads more like some of Peter C. Newman's effusions on the Canadian past.    
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