She left us with one hell of a fine obituary.
Following a tedious rendezvous with ovarian cancer, Kathy Shaidle has died, wishing she’d spent more time at the office.
Her tombstone reads: GET OFF MY LAWN!
She is relieved she won’t have to update her LinkedIn profile, shave her legs, or hear “Creep” by Radiohead ever again. Some may even be jealous that she’s getting out of enduring a Biden presidency.
Kathy was a writer, author, columnist and blogging pioneer, as proud of her first book’s Governor General’s Award nomination as of her stint as “Ed Anger” for the Weekly World News. A target for “cancel” culture before the term was coined, she was denounced by all the best people, sometimes for contradictory reasons.
Kathy did not lead a particularly “full life,” her existence having been comprised mostly of a series of unpleasant surprises. Her favourite corporeal pleasure was saying, “I told you so,” which she was able to utter with justification multiple times a day. A bookish movie-buff and agoraphobic homebody, as a child Kathy (as per the Roz Chast cartoon) “always preferred the little couch ride on the merry-go-round.” Yet Kathy managed to acquire a reputation for mouthiness, a side effect of her bullshit allergy.
Contrary to cliche, Kathy did not conduct herself with particular “grace,” “dignity” or “courage” in her final months. She didn’t “bravely fight on” after her cancer was pronounced terminal. All she did was (barely) cope, and then only with assistance from her generous employer, and some energetic and selfless friends whom she’d somehow managed to acquire over the years, much to her astonishment. Of course, the greatest of these was her stalwart beloved of over 20 years, Arnie, with whom she is now in the ultimate long distance relationship. They can all finally catch up on their sleep.
Kathy’s bereaved co-blogger Mark Steyn adds:
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Kathy Shaidle, a dear friend and our peerless movie essayist, who left us just before six o’clock this morning at Mississauga Hospital in Ontario.
In a too short life, Kathy wrote in almost every form: She is the only writer I know who was both a respected poet nominated for major prizes and the “Ed Anger” columnist of The Weekly World News. And, as most of you know, after 9/11 she became the leading Canadian polemicist in the great messy decentralized blogosphere we miss so much in the age of Social Media woketalitarianism.
There will be time to discuss all that in the days ahead. But on Saturday evenings, for the past several years, Kathy was here every week to talk about movies. A decade or so back, I had suggested to the fellows who run Maclean’s that they snap her up to do a column on pop culture, because nobody wrote better on Joan Crawford, punk and a zillion other subjects. They were a little nervous of that, and somewhere along the way Maclean’s ceased to be a thing, and so at some point I just thought, “Aw, nuts! We should snap her up ourselves.”
What I particularly loved about Kathy’s film essays was the occasional glimpses she gave us of her own life. One should not take it all as gospel: She had a carefully constructed persona as an agoraphobic misanthrope who never left the flat. Whereas, as Mark Steyn cruisers who had the good fortune to be at her dinner table will attest, in real life she was gregarious and occasionally (as I told her a couple of weeks back somewhat to her horror) verging on bubbly. I had the pleasure a few years ago of introducing her to half the Canadian cabinet over pizza at the Prime Minister’s house. Reading about it afterwards, the highly-strung leftie bloggers were horrified at the thought of the hated Shaidle piercing the holy sanctum of 24 Sussex Drive like a one-woman trial run for the mob’s storming of the US Capitol. But the various ministers of the Crown seemed to enjoy the opportunity to shoot the breeze with her – as we all did.
I especially love the Ed Anger business, which, despite having been an Anger devotee myself in the long ago and far away—despite a good friend of mine having also worked at WWN back in the halcyon Bat Boy era, even*—I didn’t know about before now. Steyn has a second Shaidle memorial post up, featuring a video compendium of scorching quotes from her appearances on the Mark Steyn Show.
Rest now, girlfriend; forever may you be be at peace. And: well done.
* Believe it or not, I actually had a Bat Boy t-shirt that was sent to me by said friend as a gift, a garment I wore with tremendous pride until the thing was nothing but a tattered rag, as any decent, right-thinking American would have. She also revealed the epic Bat Boy behind-the-scenes story to me back then—a sordid, shocking tale of love, bravery, and betrayal which is now so highly-classified I could easily be killed by shadowy Black-Ops assassins for even having brought it up.