Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ford, Atwood, Toronto

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Guess who?

Now that the dust has begun to settle on the great Doug Ford-inspired "Margaret Atwood? I don't even know who she is" comment, it's time to consider the entrails of this media bird.
I imagine you know who is pictured in the image on this blog, but then, being an Open Book reader, you're no average citizen--- you already have a declared interest in writing.
What does it mean that Toronto's "unelected mayor" and closest advisor to the head of Ford Nation thinks Canada's best-known author is a nobody, her opinions -- on library closure or presumably anything -- barely worth dismissing? Well, one perspective is that the Ford brothers (adding in the recent episode in which ol' Rob gave a mother and her six-year-old daughter the finger for suggesting he stop yakking on his cell phone while driving) have begun to live the reality of the Emperor(s) having no clothes. They can't hide their true identities as spoiled large rich suburban boys with scant understanding of the complexities that make Toronto an interesting city and the center of English-language publishing and writing in Canada. They have little culture overall, and probably think that economic theory is reducible to cutting taxes and privatizing everything, and mankind's greatest cultural achievement is inventing American-rules football. The last book they read was by Sarah Palin.
Another interpretation is that Mike Harris is laughing into his sleeve while he sits collecting fees on all boards of directors of corporations who owe him one for reducing their taxes during the Harris years of terror as a provincial govt. Yes, the fearless leader who made Tony Clemente and Jim Flaherty provincial ministers, the same guys who continue to clog the intellectual drains of federal government, allowed a yahoo from Etobicoke to rule all of the GTA. For those of you too young or bored to remember, Harris forced amalgamation on Toronto, as well as many other Ontario municipalities, thus allowing a candidate who didn't win one ward in downtown Toronto to rule the whole city.
I think future mayors should have to pass a test in which they identify photographs of, for example, Margaret Atwood, Dionne Brand and Michael Ondaatje, before they can even be nominated. Oh, yeah, and explain why gay people are an important part of Toronto, too.

1 comment

Personally, Atwood makes me puke. I do a great impersonation of her little nasal whine, complete with facial tics etc but that's beside the point. I've never been a fan of hers but I know who she is cuz every Canadian who's ever attended high school has had her bright white middle class feminism shoved up their ass, whether they enjoyed it or not.
But Fats Ford and his broheim are a far bigger issue than a dinosaur like Atwood. They represent something deeply hideous in Toronto and Ontario culture. SOMEBODY voted for them - a lot of SOMEBODIES voted for them. Perhaps the same SOMEBODIES who voted for Harris. I think Tammany Ford and his bubba are gonna keep on winning. It's the Revenge of North of the 401. They represent the vindication that the wasteland north of the 401 as it passes through the city of Toronto is not in fact a wasteland. For decades, all the gas-wasting clones living north of that great moto-barrier that saws the city in half east to west have been told they are nowhere, that they live in a dying car-dependent place where transit sucks and nobody would be caught dead walking anywhere.
With the advent of the Fordites, the North of the 401 fellaheens can stand proud, that one of their own now lords it over the fags, freaks and fuck ups who live in all those narrow streets and high density areas full of stupid things like trees and two-lane byways.
The only solution, split the city in half - and THEY keep the 401.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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John Oughton

John Oughton is the author of several books, including Time Slip: New and Selected Poems, published by Guernica Editions.

Go to John Oughton’s Author Page