– Mark E. Smith

I see the Onion made its worst hire ever: John Semley, editor of its branch-plant operation, A.V. Club Toronto. I say this due to Semley’s lazy, warmed-over, gumtoothed repudiation of Michelle Dean’s brave infiltration of the magazine of the dumb rich, Toronto Life.

Dean had dared to set out what’s wrong with the city and explain why she left. The best Semley can come up with for a rejoinder is a list of gems that only an Annex blogger might consider a viable counterbalance to everything that’s wrong in the city. Semley’s list – neighbourhoods, “indie rep cinemas,” video stores, “parties and bands,” and “word-of-mouth… nights,” which I believe other cities have, and the nastiest record store not staffed by Jack Black, Sonic Boom – is nullified not only by the facts attested in Dean’s article but the first half of his own posting, where Semley himself attests to Toronto’s decline.

And did you know Toronto is “diverse”? Honestly: Brooke Alvarez would never write anything this stupid.

Toronto has too much of the same kind of media: Commodity downtown leftist blogging, available in ten undifferentiable flavours – Now, the Girdle, BlogTO, Toronto Standard, OpenFile, A.V. Club, Yonge Street, Toronto Life itself (for some reason), Spacing, and the only site that does it well, Torontoist.

Quite simply we do not need this many sites wilfully ignoring the unstoppable decline of Toronto. Why do downtown leftists need their own personal tastes, which haven’t changed in decades, reinforced week after week? How would we distinguish this kind of preaching by the choir from, say, Republican talking points, or a Ford Nation cheatsheet, or an oligopoly of “Canadian broadcasters” that all specialize in American programming? Our four print newspapers do a much better job of differentiating themselves than do these blogs, which one really cannot tell apart.

This, apparently, is the best “defence of Toronto” that a resident writing for a U.S. outlet can come up with. At Semley’s level of mediocrity, he fits right in.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.10.20 14:06. 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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