From The Sublimation To The Ridiculous

Filtering through the news reports of the “hazing” at Mississauga’s Transportation and Works Department, I wonder if we’re approaching its meaning and repercussions from the proper angle. Yes, many of the ‘Who Knew What and When’ questions absolutely need to be investigated and answered. There appears to have been a serious culture of fear and intimidation at work, forcing many of those involved to keep quiet out concern for job loss or becoming the next victim. That old Nazi foot soldier rationalization about participating or being added to the list.

Still, the city of Mississauga shouldn’t overlook bringing in some sort of sexual orientation counseling. The nature of the ‘pranks’ and ‘practical jokes’ now on display screams “Help me! I’m gay and can’t bring myself to admit it!’ That’s not to suggest that gay men who are comfortable in their skin are in the habit of spanking others, tying them up or smacking them in the privates, not that there’s anything wrong with that (you know I couldn’t pass up that homage if the opportunity arose) as long as it’s consensual and all that.

It’s just that in an all male environment when someone institutes an unofficial policy of bondage, spanking even when birthdays aren’t involved and sacking, well, I just have to wonder where the impulse is coming from. We can label it simple bullying and being drunk with power but, I can think of other, less sexual methods in which to employ such urges. Social ostracization. A steady diet of dirty and demeaning jobs. Cutting remarks across the lunchroom table.

I mean, for god’s sake, these guys spent much of their time, traveling around Mississauga shoving poles into holes! While there’s nothing exclusively ‘gay’ about that, it seems the whole environment at the city’s Transportation and Works Department was sexually charged. And how did it manifest itself? Man-on-man horseplay and hijinx. How long will it be before we hear about the use of the Atomic Sit Up?

So let’s not rush to judgment on this just yet. Bad behaviour must certainly be properly dealt with but I think there’s also a need for some understanding and outreach. Maybe if those responsible for overseeing these acts were given the opportunity to deal openly with their repressed personal issues this could be looked upon as an unfortunately hurtful and destructive learning experience. Put the pain behind them and get on living their lives with the freedom that comes from stepping out of the closet.

It's not an orgy, Chuck. It's college hijinx!

I’m not saying. I’m just saying.

suggestively submitted by Urban Sophisticat

Say What NOW?!

So, is anyone doing anything else with their leisure time these days aside from seeing and re-seeing Avatar? I ask because last Friday I thought I should go and check out what all the fuss was about only to discover that every one of the 3-D IMAX showings over the weekend were sold out. Sure, I could’ve taken Avatar in at a normal screening but my guess is that without the additional fancy pants, hi tech eye candy that the 3-D and IMAX provides, you’re going to realize PDQ just what a crappy movie it actually is.

I bring this up because as I was thumbing through NOW, our weekly alternative newspaper, to find movie times, I came across reporter Enzo DiMatteo’s sorry assed excuse for a political column. It seems that in last week’s issue, DiMatteo mistakenly outed councilman (and possible mayoral candidate) Adam Giambrone who is so far in the closet that he’s actually straight. Giambrone then had to give a give an awkward, Seinfeldian denial, saying that he wasn’t gay, followed by the implied Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and that his partner, Sarah, was a full blooded female. Oh well, honest mistake, Enzo. I mean, look at Adam. Tall, slender and with those purrr-dy lips. How couldn’t he be gay?!

Remarkably, not only is DiMatteo still part of the NOW staff after such an embarrassing gaffe but he was permitted to write an eye-poppingly lame mea culpa filled with stroke inducing puns like: No use crying over spilt milk (can I say “homo”?) and doing penance over his faux pas by listening to Morrissey and The Smiths sing (guess what song, guess what, guess what!!) Big Mouth Strikes Again. You see what he did there? Combined an apropros title with a gay icon singer. Touché, Enzo. But if it was penance you were really after, I think you should’ve locked yourself in a room and listened to The Bronski Beat’s It Ain’t Necessarily So or Liza Minelli singing… anything.

Hack journalism aside, I lay the blame for all this almost entirely at the feet of George Smitherman. I’ll tell you why. Ever since he made his intention of running for mayor clear late last year, Smitherman has pushed personality front and centre. He is the prodigal Toronto son returning ‘home’ to champion the city where he was born and raised although, after spending the last decade at Queen’s Park (which if I have my coordinates right is still located here in the heart of Toronto), George’s journey is not all that epic. His husband, Christopher, is a big mucky muck at Lindt chocolates which makes George’s recent 40 lb. weight loss all the more incredible.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Who cares?! I just want to know why you want to be mayor, George.

Given the trite, empty clichés George mouthed after he officially filed his nomination papers last week (“A vote for my campaign is a vote for a city that works. I’m going to bring new energy, new direction and new leadership to the challenges that face Toronto.”), maybe personality is all that he possesses. Yeah, yeah, it’s early in the campaign still and it’s a long race, so we shouldn’t expect a full platform roll out, blah, blah, blah. But I think we should have a sense of why it is you want to be mayor as you come out of the gate. And no, this… “My city calls out, my city shows that it has a need to restore a sense of power to the office.”… is not inspirational, George. It’s kind of creepy.

So Enzo and all in your print journalist cohort, dial down the focus on personality. It’s lazy and it makes it easy on lazy politicians with a paucity of positive ideas.

gaily submitted by Cityslikr