More Of The Mayor’s Magical Musings

January 24, 2011

“To be a world class city, at least a North American world class city, we need an NFL team.”

— Councillor Doug Ford, older, allegedly smarter brother of Mayor Rob Ford.

If there’s another statement that would better reveal this administration’s horrifying ignorance about what makes a city vibrant, livable, “world class”, it would have to be grunted by a speaker who’s covered in their own feces. Assuming the mayor agrees with his brother’s view (a fair one to make, I think, given the cover of the newspaper the story appeared in), we bear witness to yet another dimension in the realm of the mayor’s magical thinking. You can cut taxes and not cut services. If you absolutely have to have public transit, subways are always better than any alternative. Professional sports franchise equals civic health.

Look down there at Detroit. After decades of on-field futility, their Lions showed signs of life this past season. Can recovery be far behind for the city?

It seems the mayor and his brother headed off to Chicago this weekend on a fact-finding mission to take in the NFC conference championship game. Because, it stands to reason, that if a world class city needs an NFL franchise, having a winning franchise will make a city even more world classier. Why, winning the Super Bowl just last year, turned every Hurricane Katrina induced disaster around for the city of New Orleans.

Hopefully while in The Windy City, the mayor and his brother managed to find time to take in some other sights outside of Soldier Field that contribute to Chicago’s vitality. Just down the lake from where they would’ve seen the Packers defeat the hometown Bears, there’s the Art Institute. A little further from AIC, there’s Millennium Park with its Frank Gehry Pritzker Pavilion, built on former industrial railroad land. It’s all part of a renovated waterfront that reclaimed the lake. A familiar sounding problem, Mayor Ford?

Or maybe the mayor and his brother rode around for a bit on the Chicago transit system, just to see how other cities of comparable size move their people around. Not being knowledgeable enough myself to know how it matches up to ours, I’ll assume neither is the mayor. It’d be nice to think that he took the opportunity to help enlighten himself further on the pressing issue of public transit.

And while they were at it, I wonder if the mayor and his brother sought the advice of anyone who could give them a hands-on account of how the privatization of parking in Chicago has worked out. Since his budget chief has mused publicly about the necessity of the city being in the parking business, the mayor certainly needs to take some time to weigh the issue fully to see if other places benefited from such a move. Some due diligence done on either side of a football game.

On the other hand, maybe this whole call for an NFL team was simply a dog whistle that only the mayor’s supporters could hear. After a week of sometimes bruising public consultations over the proposed budget where it became crystal clear that the mayor wouldn’t be able to maintain his campaign promise of holding the line on taxes without cutting services, they needed a diversionary tactic. Hey! Look over here! The NFL! Remember? The mayor loves football. Just like you and me.

As cynical as that would be, it’d still beat the mayor and his brother actually believing that having an NFL team in Toronto puts us on the road to world classiness. The simple-mindedness of that is a little too much to bear on a cold Monday morning after a weekend where the Raptors lost their 7th game in a row, the Leafs further mired themselves out of playoff contention and the Blue Jays traded away their center fielder in what was little more than a salary dump. By professional sports franchise standards, Toronto’s sitting on the corner of Shithole & Crack  Alley, smack dab in the middle of Nowhere’s Ville on a rail line that no longer stops here on its way to Classy Town.

abracadabraly submitted by Cityslikr


More Michael Moore

November 29, 2010

I don’t make a point of watching Michael Moore’s films. It’s not any problem with him as a filmmaker. It’s his politics.

I tend to agree with him.

He doesn’t challenge my views and opinions. He merely reconfirms them. I am part of the choir he’s preaching to. So, why bother?

But then comes a lazy Sunday afternoon when I probably should be working and there I am, in front of the TV, watching my Toronto Raptors get crushed. I can’t stands it anymore and begin flipping. Just in time for the start of Capitalism: A Love Story. No, no. I really shouldn’t. Really. It’s just going to get me all worked up, mad, angry which, I already am after the Raptors’ drubbing. Suddenly, Iggy Pop starts singing ‘Louie, Louie’ and it’s over. How can I resist? I mean, I’m only human after all. A weak, easily swayed, quick to excite human being.

Sparing you a movie review, let me just say that we need more polemicists like Michael Moore. And by ‘we’, I mean those of us on the left side of the political spectrum.Unswerving, uncompromising, irate, unreasonable, intemperate, pissed-off motherfuckers fed up with having ceded the apparent middle ground to the likes of crackpots from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., talk radio, our very own Toronto Sun, corporate backed think tanks and university economics’ departments, etcetera, etcetera, etc.

Our political and economic discourse has been infected by an ideological mindset impervious to rationality or quantifiable truth. No amount of reaching out and trying to find common ground will succeed. The very act of attempting to have a reasonable debate only gives credence, lends a cloak of legitimacy to what is nothing more than superstitious, mythical lore and cant. It is no longer helpful to engage or participate in such corrupted civics.

People, a lot of people, are angry. They have every right to be. Watching Moore’s film and its agitprop addendum, Inside Job, it is painfully obvious that our economic system is rigged and has slowly over the course of the last 30 years or so poisoned our political system with it. Class war? Hell yeah. And it’s becoming more uneven with every concession we allow to happen in the name of “market realities” or “austerity measures”. We should be angry. It’s just that our anger’s misdirected.

Why?

Because the other side, the evil side, those representing corporate interests over those of the country or taxpayers and customers over citizens, are louder, richer, better organized and more unbending. They’ve seized the megaphone and shaped the dialogue. They don’t seek compromise. They demand acquiescence. When you possess the power, you don’t negotiate. You dictate.

That’s why we need more Michael Moores and his ilk. As direct and aggressive challenges to the status quo and what is embraced as conventional wisdom. While peaceable and fair-minded give-and-take would always be preferable, it’s been some time since any of that has actually happened. The post-war social contract that was drawn up to highlight the rights and responsibilities accorded to citizens and corporations alike has been shredded into pieces, bit by bit, over the past 3 decades. In my humble opinion, we’ve all helped with that by trying to place nice and get along. It’s time that we started to kick up a fuss. Just like Mike.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr


Angry Rant #2 (He Said #2. Hee, hee. Hee, hee.)

July 11, 2010

(In a bid to be seen as less partisan and as fair and balanced as the next guy, we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke periodically hand over blog space to some Angry Torontonian who has something to vent about. We take no responsibility for the content of said rants and look upon it like a public service on our part. You’re welcome, Toronto.)

OK, so how many ways to Sunday do we have to be told here in Toronto that we suck?

First by God with an earthquake and then a monsoon rain and then a blistering heat wave you normally have to go someplace like the tropics to get. Next comes the politicians and police from all over the country and the world, strutting into town and kicking some serious butt and showing them who’s who and what’s what. Take that, you protesting hippie freaks. (And don’t kid yourself, every one of you involved in protesting. You’re all hippie freaks to us right thinking, meat and potatoes, hardworking, ‘other’ Torontonians who have better things to do than ‘protest’ like keep down a job. As our man said, the police were too nice.)

Finally, another overpaid American superstar jock has told us to get lost. He’s taking his act down to the Heat of Miami where he plans on winning himself a boatload of championship titles. Totally his right but it’s at times like these when I wish I believed in the whole global warming garbage. The oceans would rise and wash away all those players’ mansions in south Florida and they would come running back here, begging to play where it’s nice and cozy and dry.

But it could be worse, Toronto. It could always be worse if you lived in Cleveland.

Personally speaking, I’ve stopped watching sports. Why bother? The Leafs haven’t won a Cup since before my dad was born. The Jays play in a warehouse not a baseball diamond. Toronto FC just flat out scares me because, I mean, how can all those people get so excited about a game like that? Hasn’t the World Cup taught us anything? Soccer’s boring!

And forget basketball. Why? Just because of this whole Chris Bosh thing. Another example of the fact that good American basketball players come up here to play only if they absolutely have to or if we pay them way too much. And if good American basketball players won’t play up here we don’t have a hope in hell of ever winning anything aside from high placed lottery picks who all just piss off at the first opportunity. It’s what they call a ‘vicious circle’.

Of course, that means European players love to play basketball in Toronto because there’s no pressure on them to try and win. They’re just in it for the love of the game (or to get away from whatever backwater hellhole they call home). They all look pretty but don’t want to get their hands dirty in the messy business of winning in the NBA. Another case of a ‘vicious circle’ where we can’t win because we can’t keep players who want to win and anybody who wants to play here wants to play here because they don’t have to win.

So I say, why bother? If everybody on the playing field is only looking out for #1, why shouldn’t we? Besides, it’s not as if any of them actually come from here anyways. This is their office. They’re just doing their jobs. We shouldn’t judge ourselves by what our sports’ teams are doing. Just because they’re losers, doesn’t mean that we’re losers.

I mean, we are losers but not because our teams suck but because a lot of us suck. Like most of our politicians who show us taxpayers no respect. They throw themselves retirement parties and expect us to pay the bill! Those people suck. And do nothing unions suck who think it’s their right to pick up our garbage whenever they want. Or drive our buses while loaded. Or fall asleep at the ticket counter. No wonder they can’t keep on schedule. All union members suck.

People who ride bikes everywhere suck. Grow up and get your license already. Police haters suck. You can only hate the police because they let you hate the police. If the police didn’t let you hate them then you’d be living in someplace like Chile or wherever you can’t criticize anybody without going to jail. So you police haters suck.

Gay people suck, and I don’t mean it like that. We shouldn’t be giving them all that money so they can march and prove to everybody they’re gay. Yeah, we get it, OK? Where’s my money so I can parade around and tell everybody I’m not gay aside from that one year at summer camp? In fact, I tried to do that just the other day and the Shriners told me to take a hike. So the Shriners suck.

So you see, Toronto. It’s not that you don’t suck. You do. It’s just that you don’t suck because all your sports’ teams suck. That’s got nothing to do with it so you should just stop worrying about it. There’s plenty of other suck in the city to go around. We don’t need to go out and find more reasons why we do.

So let’s all stop crying over being jilted or whatever by Chris Bosh. Toronto sucked before he came along. Hell, we sucked before the Raptors came along. We will continue to suck long after he’s retired from basketball with all his money and championship rings. Stop blaming other people for why we suck. As my crazy aunt used to say, it’s all so downright undignified.

angrily submitted by an Angry Torontonian