On Monday, I posted a link to a personal ad posted in the “Rants and Raves” section of the Accordion City edition of Craigslist, the free online classified advertising site. For the benefit of those who didn’t check out the ad, it’s titled
I LOVE TORONTO, DAMMMIT! and is a laundry list of things about our fair city that the author — known only as “Mary Fucking Sunshine” — loves. I agreed with most of the list, so I blogged it.
Yesterday, in the blog Torontoist — which bills itself as “a website about Toronto and everything in it” — an article covering “Mary’s” posting titled Concerning “I LOVE TORONTO, DAMMMIT!” was published. In the article, its author, one David Topping, appears to take great glee in refuting several of “Mary’s” points, calling Toronto a “giant dehumanizing city” in his closing paragraph.
Wondering where David’s Toronto malaise came from, I clicked on his byline, which led to a page containing his bio. The very first line told me all I need to know:
David Topping is not well-travelled; he almost never leaves the city he was born in.
“Wait a minute, Accordion Guy,” you might say. “You can’t take that bio at face value. We’re talking about hipster city bloggers, for whom irony and sarcasm is the default mode.”
That is a valid consideration, so I give you a quote from a series of articles that David posted (that I enjoyed), in which he photographed all the stations in the Accordion City subway system. He wrote:
I’ve lived in Toronto’s west end since I was born. I’ve moved twice: once, in grade nine, a block east of my old house, and, four years later, downtown to live in residence on the U of T campus. My Toronto — the part of the city that matters to me — has never extended further west than Kipling, further east than Yonge, or further north than St. Clair.
Therein lies the problem: his frame of reference against which he judges Toronto is, well, Toronto. Not even the whole city, but a subset that completely leaves out its eastern and northern halves.
Some Torontoist readers rightly called him on his familiarity-bred contempt of the city, to which he replied that when he visited New York City, people seemed friendlier. How many times have you been, David? Once? Twice? And did you venture anywhere say outside the Soho/Greenwich Village/East Village/Lower East Side box, or Park Slope?
(Note that in the paragraph above, I linked only to articles about homelessness in the U.S.. If I really wanted to smack David about with facts about persistent homelessness, I’d pick Mexico, or even better, my home city of Manila…or lots of other cities off-continent. Ever been to a Third World country, David?)
David, it takes a bold man to wrote authoritatively on a topic of which he knows little or nothing. Have you considered a job at NOW magazine?