BlogTO’s and Torontoist’s ideal reader. Image taken from The Hipster Handbook.
Differences in Perspective
While I agree with Torontoist writer Patrick Metzger’s statement that Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty’s refusal to “share any of the billions of dollars that the province sucks out of Toronto each year” is wrong, I think he’s out to lunch with his statement about the 2.8% rise in consumer spending:
The Canadian dollar rose to a 30-year high against the U.S. greenback yesterday, fueled by a 2.8% month over month rise in consumer spending. The numbers show that even with peak oil and climate change catastrophe just around the corner, we’re still willing to get out there and buy more unnecessary crap. Go, Canada.
Accordion Guy regular reader Chris Taylor called Metzger out on that statement:
Maybe they were out buying Energy Star stuff to replace their old, inefficient junk. Not that anyone has ever done that before.
And Metzger fired back with the stock sarcasm of someone who doesn’t work for a living:
It’s possible that the numbers reflect conscientious citizens buying solar powered cars, storm windows, and shopping bags made from organic hemp. However, the data shows it’s mostly SUVs, gas and Gucci handbags.
Ah yes, the old “money and progress are bad” canard. I’ll counter with this comic:
Comic from Reason. Click to see it on its original page.
Back in the winter, I caught up with local tech community builder Will Pate for lunch. He was in the process of moving to Toronto and we were talking about the local blog scene.
One thing that came up in that conversation was that although the BlogTO and Torontoist served their demographic very well, their demographic was only a slice of the larger pie that is Toronto.
What is that demographic, you might ask? They’re mostly white, under 30, and only attend events that take place in an area bounded by…
- Dupont on the north
- The Distillery District on the east
- The lake on the south
- Roncesvalles on the west
(Here’s an idea: take the events listed in BlogTO and Torontoist for the past year and plot them on a map. I’m willing to bet that they’re concentrated in the zone I describe above.)
Another hipster, courtesy of The Hipster Handbook.
They can reply “Yeah, that’s me” to seven or more of the following statements:
- You graduated from a liberal arts school whose football team hasn’t won a game since Mulroney was Prime Minister.
- You frequently use the term “post-modern” (or its commonly used variation “PoMo”) as an adjective, noun, and verb.
- You carry a shoulder-strap messenger bag and have at one time or another worn a pair of horn-rimmed or Elvis Costello-style glasses.
- You have one Conservative friend who you always describe as being your “one Conservative friend.” [optional]
- Your hair looks best unwashed and you position your head on your pillow at night in a way that will really maximize your cowlicks.
- You own records put out by Matador, DFA, Definitive Jux, Dischord, Warp, Thrill Jockey, Smells Like Records, Drag City, Mint and Nettwerk.
- You bought your dishes and a checkered tablecloth at a thrift shop to be kitschy and often throw vegetarian dinner parties.
- You frequently complain about gentrification even though you are responsible for it yourself.
- You have refined tastes and consider yourself exceptionally cultured, but have one pop vice (Laguna Beach, either Idol show and and anything on Slice are popular ones) that helps to define you as well-rounded.
- You spend much of your leisure time in bars and/or restaurants with monosyllabic names like Plant, Bound or Shine.
- You have kissed someone of the same gender and often bring this up in casual conversation.
(If these look familiar, it’s because I took ’em from 11 Clues You are a Hipster from The Hipster Handbook).
My Modest Proposal
Now don’t get me wrong: I’ve got nothin’ against twenty-somethings who like hanging out in charming local dives, listening to indie rock and buying things at thrift shops. If you’re a reader of this blog, there’s a good chance that you are (or were) one of them yourself.
I just think that there’s room for other “What’s going on?” blogs. Even Will Pate, who’s part of the BlogTO/Torontoist demographic says “Dude, there’s got to be more” (not a direct quote, but that’s exactly the way he’d say it).
We need blogs that cover events in areas outside the hipster core, whether they’re in the near-burbs like Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough, or out in the 905 area code. Blogs for people who work in offices, drop their kids off at hockey practice and have Costco memberships. Blogs for people who don’t look as if they were descended from the Family Compact. Blogs for people who both buy fair trade coffee and Harry Rosen shirts. Blogs for people who work the night shift.
Who knows, if this tech evangelism/computer programming thing blows over, I might start one of them myself.