Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pity Toronto

Poor Toronto; we’re always never quite there, even though we try so hard. And by there I’m talking about our obsession with being a world-class city, whatever that connotes. The smell of our desperation is starting to get noticed though, which is worrisome for those of us who actually like Hogtown. Check out Gawker’s list of cities to move to when the Tea Party takes over America where Gawker astutely noted about our little hamlet: “there's a weird inferiority complex thing going on in Toronto that just gets a little sad after a while.”

Inferiority complex aside, however, there is something that sometimes seems a bit provincial about our beloved burg (take our reaction to Scott Conant HuffPo letter about his Scarpetta outpost at the Thomson).

Or remember when William Thorsell announced Daniel Libeskind was going to head up Renaissance ROM? At the time Libeskind with Da Shit; he had just designed the acclaimed Holocaust Musuem in Berlin AND had been hired to design the Freedom Tower which was to be built at Ground Zero. Take that New York – Toronto had him first (just like Susur Lee!). In our minds we had hit the starchitectural big leagues baby. So then we built our showy new Libeskind but then we all ended up hating it and more importantly everyone else hated it. For those with little short-term memory it was named the ugliest building of the decade by the Washington Post. To make matters even worse - by the time the ROM opened the era of starchitecture had died. The international financial crisis had led to an era architectural austerity yet there was Toronto holding the keys to an overpriced tin can.

Toronto is like that girl in your class who is the lamest member of the cool girl posse (think Gretchen in Mean Girls). True, she is still part of the cool posse, but barely so and bless her little heart – she’s always trying, clinging on to being invited to tag along. In fact she reeks of try. Toronto is like the last person to get UGGs and then proudly wears them the day Queen C declares UGGs are over. I mean – good for us, we got a Liebskind, but we opened our Libeskind the day the world zeitgeist decided that Daniel was démodé.

Le sigh for us.

Unlike for gays, however, it doesn’t get better for Toronto – first there was the whole Rob Ford thing, which I mean is sort of embarrassing from a macro-perspective, but then Roger Ebert had to pipe in with this tweet: “Toronto elects a mayor who doesn’t believe in public transit, arts funding, environment or homosexuality. Toronto?” I know most of us were hoping that we could keep a lid on the Ford thing for a bit longer, “maybe no one will notice that we, a self-proclaimed beacon of diversity, elected a Mayor who called Asian people Orientals and then made disparaging remarks about gay people?” When push comes to shove at least we could sort of gloss things over and boast about our Mayor-elect is so badass he got busted with marijuana! I know most of us were hoping that we would have at least until World Pride 2014 to deal with the issue had hand.

As if that isn’t bad enough – we’re about to become hit with “The Lake-Shore” some weird made-in Toronto reality show that features 8 of the worst (and I’m making a value judgement of these 8 people after watching their youtube auditions) people our fair city has to offer. The cast members are self-described in variants of: hardcore party animal, tease, fashionista etc… What’s even worse is they’re labelled as: the Jew, the Lebanese, the Turk, or the Italian. Just an FYI from his bio: our home-grown Italian loves to flash his hot Italian abs. Great – so not only are we going to be subjected by 8 idiots doing Jager Bombs to Shots Shots Shots by LMFAO and Lil John at Easy on the Fifth – we’re also going to be subjected by near racist epithets.

Awesome Toronto. Just f’ing awesome. And to take it up a notch – the international media is taking note: Gawker, NY Daily News, LA Times, Washington Post and Entertainment Tonight are all reporting about the Lake-Shore. One article was titled: “Canada's Lake Shore: It's Like Jersey Shore But Worse.” For a city that is constantly trying to join the big leagues of sophistication is this really what we need?

Look – I’d love a good Toronto-based reality TV show – maybe something Bay Street related? Or even a catty show about people who work in our burgeoning fashion industry – can’t someone give Robin Kay a show – that bitch would bring the CRAZY? Or what about a scripted show about rich Upper Canada boys and Branksome Hall girls – think Gossip Girl meets 90210: “Hey there Forest Hillary’s, guess who was spotted eating hummus at Mashu Mashu…”. Maybe the first episode can start with someone coming back from self-imposed exile from Lakefield or something… I don’t know… but like surely we can do something a bit cooler then copying a reality TV show based in New Jersey? I mean, really Toronto, really?

Last year I wrote that Toronto with our garbage strikes and socialites had finally become Manhattan. I take that back – Toronto has become New Jersey, the armpit of America, and quite frankly this is embarrassing for all of us. Instead of international media taking note of whatever it is we do best – we’ve taking photos of our warts and have tagged them on the Facebook that is the international news media.


File this one under: Nancy Drew and the case of Toronto needs a good PR person. Stat.


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