The S(T)ory That Just Won’t Die

August 3, 2010

Being away from this computer even for just a few days always seems and feels much, much longer. Your rhythm gets messed up. The flow of information is interrupted. Thought and idea processing becomes sluggish and non-responsive.

It’s political ennui and being caught out of the loop rolled up into one big Egg McMuffin of disorientation. (Which reminds me. I’m hungry. Why is there never anything in the fridge?)

Scrolling back through unread emails and Tweets, following what may be pertinent links to stories that might’ve been of interest last week. The process is more laborious than usual as these are now the official dog days of summer and campaigns have pulled back on the throttle a bit, taking a breather before the final push begins after Labour Day. Not much is happening and deeper digging may not reveal much for the effort.

Let’s see, there’s the ongoing call for a full inquiry into the G20 debacle. (Neal Jennings does a great job here gathering mayoral candidates’ responses or non-responses as the cases may be to how they would deal with the fallout from the G20 if elected to office). Apparently the weather was excellent for Caribana festivities. Will John Tory run for mayor or won’t—OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!! ARE YOU PEOPLE STILL ON ABOUT THIS?! I KNOW IT’S SLIM PICKIN’S OUT THERE, NEWS WISE, BUT DO YOU HAVE TO CONTINUALLY BEAT THIS DEAD HORSE WHEN THERE’S NOTHING ELSE TO WRITE AND/OR TALK ABOUT?

This is John Tory here not Mario Cuomo painfully mulling over a run for the U.S. presidency in the 1980s. John Tory. We’ve been through this before, remember? He’s not bringing anything new to the table except the notion of being the least uninspiring of a wholly uninspiring field of front running mayoral candidates. Hardly newsworthy, folks. Yet, there they all were from the Toronto Sun through to the National Post and Globe and Mail, once more, weighing the pros and cons, ups and downs, pluses and minuses of a John Tory candidacy. How many ways and how much ink must be spilled to spell out one word? Indifferent.

The most interesting aspect of this latest Will He Or Won’t He is that it stems from an email exchange between Tory and candidate Sarah Thomson whose campaign team already includes one Mr. John Tory Jr. as a senior adviser and is poised to hire George Tory (brother and son of) as campaign manager. It seems that to Ms. Thomson’s way of thinking Tory Sr.’s waffling has bogged her candidacy down in the mud of uncertainty. Her need for clarity is understandable, Ours? Not so much.

But the dreary saga does reveal just how incestuously inbred our local political scene is. Torys everywhere. Doesn’t anyone find that at all disturbing? No wonder the pond of discourse is so shallow and oxygen deprived.

Now, I’m sure the journalists covering Toronto’s municipal beat are all very nice people except for maybe Sue-Ann Levy over at the Toronto Sun. No one can write that partisanly crazy and be considered nice. If let off their respective leashes they would, in all likelihood, take the time to more fully explore other mayoral options given the apathetic response in the general public to what has been offered up so far. Surely they must be as bored as we are about the John Tory speculation story. Rehashing rehash over and over again. They weren’t the ones to arbitrarily winnow down the race from the get-go to 6 or 7 acceptable candidates, were they?

That dubious distinction must lie at the feet of the higher ups in the journalistic food chain who aren’t responsible for reporting the news so much as they are for creating it. Which brings us back to the real storyline behind all this front runner business and apparent Tory – gulp… I can barely bring myself to say it – mania. Who decided any of these candidates including John Tory should be considered our only viable alternatives? I know it makes me sound naïve just asking that question but it really needs to be asked and explored and talked about.

This is our democracy. Just because those making up the headlines and attempting to generate buzz can’t or won’t see past their office doors or windows and gaze upon the wider list of candidates beyond sitting councillors, former M.P.P.s and backroom dilettantes, doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t. Maybe the collective yawn a solid majority of the electorate has given to the list of “acceptable” candidates handed down from on high is because they are little more than sitting councillors, former M.P.P.s and backroom dilettantes and not very attractive prospects for mayor of this city.

How’s that for a story angle, media? So far, chalk us down as unimpressed. What else do you have for us or are we going to have to start looking elsewhere for the information we need to make the informed decision that are integral to our democratic process?

desperately submitted by Cityslikr