– Mark E. Smith

Did you know that trim, spit-’n’-polished, fashion-forward city-booster Matt Blackett, founder of Spacing, has issued a fatwa against me on his site?

Well, I don’t know it either. I merely surmise – on the basis of the fact that no comment I have left on their site has been published in some months. Remarkably, in that time I was the subject of a flattering post.

Blackett passive-aggressively outsources the work of public derision to the detractors whose comments he does publish; Spacing is in no way a common carrier, and in this context, the site, and Blackett, must be seen as endorsing the remarks of these detractors.

I assume this all boils down to the fact I am “a commenter [who] has shown a pattern of posted comments that are abusive, used excessive foul language, or included ad hominem attacks.” In my case, those categories are cover stories for the fact that I am one of the few people in town who calls Blackett on his bullshit, particularly his refusal to declare the intractable conflict of interest involved in running a site, publishing a magazine, and hosting and moderating public fora on architecture all while working (“consult[ing]”) for ERA Architects.

Blackett seems unwilling to accept he is working in a journalistic capacity and that journalists must continuously renew their declaration of conflict of interest whenever it comes up, not just once on a page nobody will actually ever find. But in case you didn’t know, whenever Matthew Blackett of Spacing discusses Toronto architecture, or, more specifically, future or potential paid architectural projects, he has a conflict of interest due to his work.

Blackett, incidentally, has been known to send along a series of fulminating snatchmails accusing me of “slandering” him. (Hard to do that in writing.) Years later, he’s still not accustomed to any form of opposition. With his mayor-for-life in office and so very many friends at City Hall and in the press, he expected a clear sailing all the way. Not so fast.

Now, what’s the funny part?

The funny part is that Shawn Micallef, whom I used to call the Spacer™ It’s OK to Like, has boasted of approving Spacing comments on his iPhoné while walking the cool-down lane at the Metro-Central Y’s jogging track. The Spacer™ with Money – also the Spacer™ Who Owns a Television Set and Shops at “Holts” – couldn’t possibly subjugate his independence of volition to somebody of Matt Blackett’s ilk. Then again, Micallef promised to delete a racist comment on Spacing and never did; at the same time he claimed Spacing barely ever deletes comments, an obvious falsehood.

So perhaps I have given the dashing Maltese too much credit all along. It’s still OK to like him. I quite fancy his ascots and have plied him with a compliment to that effect on at least one occasion.

Of course, I could have this all wrong. Blackett could have been shitcanned from ERA Architects without telling us or updating his author page, and the comment malarkey could merely be an innocent technological “glitch.” What odds would you give?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.05.17 13:53. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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