The Outsider

January 7, 2010

Glancing through our local broadsheets and tabloids and I’m surprised to find that Toronto still has 4 daily newspapers. Seriously. I could’ve sworn a couple of them went belly up since the last time I was paying any attention, back, I don’t know, 10, 12 years ago. Who’s keeping these rags alive?

I’m “thumbing” through them to get a lay of the land in terms of this year’s municipal election coverage. Is it going to be cranky, jovial, upbeat, downbeat, intrigued, disinterested. Watching the watchers if that’s not too grandiose a turn of phrase to apply to, well, sitting around in my stretchy slacks, reading a newspaper. Fourth estating®™©, as I like to think of it.

And the opening notes, frankly, smack of anti-incumbency. T’row da bums out is the clarion call sounding out from our local print journalists. This city’s in trouble. We need fresh faces with bold new ideas to right the Good Ship T.O. The situation is dire! Out with the old and in with the new. Nobody could do a worse job governing than those who’ve been manning the helm for–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The only thing more predictable than that story angle is my surprise at the use of said story angle. I mean, what else did I expect? The new year is not even a week old. We’re all still a-jangle with our resolved resolve to be better than we were last year. To take on new challenges and rid ourselves of the bad habits that have plagued us our entire lives and stopped us from becoming the healthier, enhanced, new and improved people we know, in our hearts, we can be. If we can do it, why not city hall?

New is the new black in other words.

Leading the pack of the nouvelle vague, interestingly enough, is the first mayoral candidate to file nomination papers, Rocco Rossi. Rocco who? Never heard of him. He must be good. He’s got my vote because he’s an outsider!

Except that for one thing… and let me summon my inner Jeff Foxworthy to run with this. Come on. It’ll be fun. We all have a little Jeff Foxworthy in us. Even us dwelling here in the big city. If my understanding of evolutionary biology is right, a turnip even has a little Jeff Foxworthy in it.

OK. Here it goes…

You might not be an outsider if you were the national director of the federal Liberal party as recently as a month ago.

(Pause for laugh here).

You might not be an outsider if you ran John Tory’s unsuccessful 2003 mayoral bid.

Anyone connected with the ultimate insider, John Tory, cannot claim outsider status regardless of having never run for office themselves. Combine that with the solid gold Liberal party connections and Rossi’s up to his eyes in insider-ness. So spare me the fresh face bullshit, Peter Kuitenbrouwer of the National Post. If Rocco Rossi was any further inside, the man would have to turn himself inside out to fit.

And I don’t care if that last sentence doesn’t make a lick of sense. It felt really good writing it.

so says City “Rutabaga” Slikr