Exeunt To The Cave

April 13, 2010

It is done. The wheel turned full circle. Case closed. The End.

Adam Giambrone announced last night that he is not running for re-election as councillor in Ward 18. His meteoric rise followed the course that most meteors take, finishing up with a crash and burn, leaving behind little evidence of their final impact. Certainly at 33 years of age, he is still a mere babe in the political sense with a long road ahead of him to start over again after enduring a period of time, wandering about the wilderness purgatory as many a great figure has done before him. (Wasn’t Jesus Christ of similar vintage when he battled the demon in the desert?)

Young Giambrone sounded resilient during his interview with CBC this morning. He ruled nothing out including another go at municipal politics once he’d done his time. (My words not his.) So perhaps there is little to mourn or to note in his passing. Rather than the final act of a great modern tragedy, it may only signify the curtain coming down for intermission, the ending of a first movie in a franchise of sequels.

Scoff as you might at my invocation of a tragic story but it does have all the makings of such. A brash young hero quickly rises through the ranks, impervious to the established limitations expected of one so green and inexperienced. He is arrogant, the old folk say, haughty. Just who exactly does he think he is?

Taken under wing by the king, he is given immense power which only increases resentment toward him. Clearly ambitious, a trait which normally elicits admiration, on young Adam it comes across as unseemly. The boy’s too ambitious, to the point of hubris.

Hubris. Pride. That which goes before the Fall. A fall that comes just as he nears the peak of powers, shortly after announcing his intention to become mayor of the city.

What trips our tragic hero up? That singular flaw which his pride blinds him to?

Errrrr…. he likes the ladies? Unseemly, maybe. Sordid even but tragic?

How about being a terrible judge of character? It wasn’t so much who he chose to practice his infidelity with but rather who he chose to text all about it with that ultimately undid him. Didn’t he see that an aspiring model with a need for publicity was not the best kind of character with whom to commit his unfaithfulness in bytes that could be easily broadcast far and wide? In that way, Giambrone was the author of his own demise. He was just plain stupid.

Hardly Shakespearean or Sophoclean. Barely movie of the week.

In reading an article by the National Post’s Jonathan Goldsbie earlier this week about another matter, I came across this little tidbit: … the dirty (non-sex-related) secret was that very few people actually liked him [Giambrone], as a person or as a councillor.

In other words, Adam Giambrone, once a rising start in the progressive political skies, was felled by the fact that nobody liked him.

Where’s the catharsis in that? All great tragedies provide catharsis. There’s no catharsis here. So this is no great tragedy. Sad and tawdry with a healthy dose of titillation, maybe, but certainly not a tragedy.

Or maybe it is. Only it isn’t a tragedy about Adam Giambrone. It is a tragedy about us. So obsessed have we become with the trivial, mundane and all that is monumentally inconsequential that we have lost our ability to focus on the essential. We reject complexity in favour of simplicity and can no longer collectively conduct our lives and society in any sort of rational, vigorous, mature manner. Those who think and act in such childish terms can only ultimately be treated as children.

sadly (but not tragically) submitted by Acaphlegmic


Let’s Hear It For A Job Well Done

April 13, 2010

Amidst all the irate rhetoric in the air about the state of this city’s services, whether it be the TTC or, well, the TTC… there’s been a lot of bitching about the TTC of late… I think a shout out should be made when something positive catches your attention. A reminder to all the nabobs of negativity out there that Toronto runs pretty darn well and our needs are met with an efficient routine that goes largely unnoticed until it doesn’t, usually when something goes wrong which, as I’m trying to say in this long, convoluted introduction occurs less often than we might think. Or that politicians running for office would like us to think in order that we vote for them.

It was garbage night in my neighbourhood last night and, as is my wont, I threw my cape on up over my shoulders, and went out for a stroll to garbage pick, I’ll be frank. A treasure hunt for artifacts that others deem to be extraneous; my own personal recycling program. Springtime is a particularly bountiful period for this as people are more prone to junking stuff that has driven them batty over the long winter season, cramped up with it in close quarters as they were.

Making the rounds last evening, I was stopped up in front of a house, struck silent and motionless by the sheer amount of content sitting at curbside. It was not anything that I was on the lookout for, an old art deco floor lamp, for example, or LPs of long forgotten artists, just simply everyday detritus that must be dealt with every week (or bi-weekly as the case may be) from every house, on every street, in every neighbourhood. Tonight, for example, along with the compostable material in the green bin and non-recyclable garbage in the black, there was yard waste. Paper bags filled with old leaves, dead plants, pruned clippings or clipped prunings.

At this particular house that I stood before, there were 9 of these paper bags, all full. In addition to which, there were two neatly tied bundles of branches that clearly came from the dogwood which stood just back further up the front yard. And a Christmas tree, looking shockingly and robustly green. How is that even possible? Why would anyone still have a Christmas tree in April?

Moreover, there was no way in hell this was all going to be picked up tomorrow morning, I thought. It’s too much. Too, too much. What if everyone in every house on every street in every neighbourhood chucked away this amount of refuse, fully expecting it to be hauled away to some miracle location? The work would be non-stop and ultimately impossible to stay on top of.

Besides, haven’t we had it drummed into our subconsciousness that the city workers who do this job are lazy, shiftless, strike-taking ne’er-do-wells who are simply underworked and overpaid? No way, no how was this heap sitting out in front of this house all going to be taken away in one trip tomorrow morning.

Yet, gone it was as I took a slight detour up the street on my morning run early today. All of it. Not a twig left behind. Even the Christmas tree.

As we have pointed out in an earlier post here, all of this for a mere $6.39 a day for Toronto homeowners (in addition to all the other services we receive). What’s there to bitch about, people? Yes, it’s their job and they’re doing it. Could it be done cheaper? I guess so, although I’m still waiting for someone to send me the numbers to show where and how that’s being done. The only way it could be is to pay people less for doing the exact same job. Why would we want to do that? How does reducing people’s wages and benefits add to the well-being of this city?

Should they have the right to strike and inconvenience us all? Call me old school and a traditionalist but I say yes. It seems to be the best, most cost effective way we’ve come up with to maintain a healthy equilibrium in the ongoing struggle between management and workers. The alternative is simply a one-sided, take it or leave dynamic that never encourages but only instills fear and resentment. That’s a tone that plays well on the campaign trail, even to a larger degree during times of economic uncertainty like this one, but ultimately leads to piss poor governing.

Before giving in to that frame of mind, take a moment and think about all the things that go unnoticed throughout the course of one day and marvel at just how smoothly our city does in fact operate.

chidingly submitted by Urban Sophisticat