Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Toronto: City life & stories : New: What's happening to "eh"? Updates: Miss Uni, Subway terror - Is The Star shifting?

Miss Universe Fiasco

The heat has simmered down after having boiled down the Mayor, the Law against Beauty-Contest Winners, and the Bureaucratic Wahhabist Strict Enforcers (BWSE) thereof. But I couldn't resist this item simply because of its headline, otherwise rather repetitious. Whereas the headlne is delicious. Bring your tiara and sash, Toront says, welcoming Miss Universe. Actually the title wasn't quite that good: "Bring your tiara and sash ...," so far so good, but then reality sets in, "apologetic Toronto tells Miss Universe." If only the words "Welcome to Toronto City Hall!" could have followed "Bring your tiara and sash" into one of those headlines at some point, but of course an apology was very much in order and now apparently has been fully made, according to the report of David Usborne in London UK's The Independent. Unfortunately, the article as a whole has disappeared into the Ind's pay-for archives. But a snippet survives for your delectation:

An embarrassed Toronto has formally apologised to the reigning Miss Universe after some of its more politically correct bureaucrats prevented her from attending a recent Thai food festival in the city's main square, citing a by-law that bars sexual degradation or stereotyping.

Natalie Glebova, 23, a citizen of Toronto who won the Miss Universe contest in Thailand in May, was to open the festival in Nathan Phillips Square, in front of City Hall, last Saturday. But officials said she would be allowed to participate only if she ditched her tiara and sash and other beauty queen regalia. An almighty row predictably followed.

About the almighty row. And I'm still backtracking a bit to recover some items I earlier missed, this time from Norman Spector's Daily Press Review, with a flourish of a Hat Tip to that gent and reporter par excellence, tho mired in a rather leftist orientation in my opinion.

Norman continues: The Gazette [of Montreal] gooses Toronto:

Even by Toronto standards, this week's ban on Miss Universe was ludicrous. And Mayor David Miller knows it. Hizzoner apologized to Natalie Glebova - who has lived in the Toronto area since early childhood - after some zealous crank at city hall barred her from taking part in a "Taste of Thailand" street fair in front of city hall last weekend. (Glebova won her title at a pageant in Bangkok in May.)

Toronto, predictably, has a policy banning anything that could "exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls," and flatly bans beauty contests. So she could have attended as an individual, but not as Miss Universe. She chose not to attend at all.

Well, what else can you expect from a city that vetoed a 1992 concert by the rock band Barenaked Ladies, because some city hall busybody deemed the name offensive?

But now Toronto's stupidity can be Montreal's gain. Memo to Mayor Gerald Tremblay: There's still time to invite Glebova to come and take part in the closing ceremonies for the World Aquatics Championships. Montrealers don't object to physical beauty, and don't have a dress code. And at an event taking place at poolside, Glebova could even get away with wearing a bathing suit.

"The National Post’s David Asper dumps on TO" [even more acerbically, to continue with Norman's posts of record]:

Not that we need any more examples of how stupid the doctrine of political correctness (polcorism) has become, but once in a while its purveyors (polcorites) achieve new lows worth noting. Such is the case of the as-yet-unidentified Toronto bureaucrat who barred Miss Universe, Canada's own Natalie Glebova, from opening a festival scheduled to occur on city property. This polcorite -- who purported to be acting on the authority of a bylaw prohibiting all things degrading to women -- should be named and forced to explain him or herself.

According to her bio, Ms. Glebova is a Russian immigrant to Canada. Overcoming language and cultural barriers in her new land, she received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson University and has worked as a motivational speaker for students in the Toronto area. She is also a model, as well as a trained classical pianist and athlete who has won a number of regional gymnastic competitions. Her accomplishments in life, including winning the Miss Universe Pageant, probably far exceed those of the pointy-headed polcorite who tried to shoot her down. Which of the two, one might ask, is the better role model? Which is giving more to society?

Thankfully, Toronto Mayor David Miller stepped in and did the proper thing by apologizing for the cock-up. But one has to wonder: In a city that annually opens its streets (municipal property, of course) to celebrate a parade of gay, transsexual and transgendered people, how is it that Miss Universe, an accomplished, successful woman, becomes verboten?

Would this happen in any other Canadian city? Not a chance.

As enlightened as are most Torontonians, the fact is that the city will always be held back from greatness by its polcorites. They are a sour, energy-sucking plague upon the metropolis. Only someone with a warped mindset could see in Natalie Glebova, decked out in her Miss Universe regalia, a sinister plot to promote sexist stereotypes. How else can one explain the decision to bar a glamorous and accomplished woman from a festival's opening ceremonies?

I find the comparison with the decorum of attire at the Gay Pride Parade and events is being contrasted in many reports and opinion pieces regarding the treatment of Miss Universe. - Owlb

Toronto losing its "eh," eh?

Here's another item that has largely disappeared into the paid-for archives, this time those of the National Post again, where originally it appeared under the byline of Siri Agrell.

A new study chronicling the patterns of "Toronto English" has found the language of Canada's most populous city is changing rapidly and the archetype of cliched Canadian parlance -- eh? -- is dying.

The term "eh" is losing favour in the Ontario capital, according to the Toronto English Project, a study led by a University of Toronto linguistics professor. …

She found that the way Torontonians talk is evolving at a rate outpacing that of Americans and Britons, and that the word "eh" -- as in "Sure is humid, eh?" is being replaced by words such as "so," "whatever," "right" and "and stuff" -- as in "You sure are sweating and stuff."

Now, that last one doesn't sound plausible, eh? Thanks to Norman Spector again for carrying this snippet too! And damn the archives, full speed ahead! - Owlb

Subway terrorism

Background blog entries previously in refWrite:
•July 24 - Harper wants tuffened national security, TTC's Moscoe defeatist on subway security
•July 22 - In Toronto, Canadian Muslim leaders unite against terrorism
•July 21 -GTA terrorist watch focuses on subway system

It seems reality is catching up with the Toronto Star; it is shifting to rightward, and joining a newly-centre on the issue of opposing terrorism. It has taken The Star decades to do so, but for the reasons outlined in its editorial yesterday, Struggling to cope with a new reality, July 26, 2005.

All of a sudden, the Toronto newsdaily is embracing in one concept New York. Baghdad, Madrid, Bali, London. refWrite had already done so earlier - except we didn't have the guts to include Baghdad. However, The Star suddenly legitmates the inclusion - yet holding back on the full weight of the logic necessary to the world-pattern, as also we did. Sharm el Sheikh belongs on the list, and refWrite got that right earlier. Yes, New York, Baghdad, Madrid, Bali, London also belong on the list. Good for you, Toronto Star. But so does Jerusalem belong, Tel Aviv, and numerous other cities and towns of Israel, all Isreal belongs on the list. That's where the logic of seeing the pattern takes us. When The Star says "Now, more than ever, civilians — regardless of race, religion or ethnic background — are under attack, primarily from suicide bombers, a phenomenon almost unheard of a few years ago." Really, it was heard of an awful lot regarding Jerusalem and other locales in Israel. But The Star has claudicated along, with that blind spot large in its field of vision, never holding Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, just as now we are asked by the new government in Lebanon not to hold Hizbollah there, accountable in the same way for the terrorist deeds perpetrated according to the pattern that the editorial now sees as worldwide. Let's not make convenient exceptions.

But The Star editorial rings with a clarity that many of us have not yet been able to achieve. Recounting the attacks of the last week, the editorial says pointedly:

Each of these events was a graphic demonstration of how extremists' tactics are changing. Their aim is to disrupt society and breed suspicion and fear. Their tactics have been particularly alarming in Western Europe and North America, where citizens have been largely insulated from the violent tactics that have long been a fact of life in many parts of the world. ¶ More suicide terrorist attacks are inevitable. Within security forces, there's a growing belief that they are impossible to prevent. ¶ Faced with this new reality, governments around the world, including in Canada, must decide how best to cope with extremist ideologies and strategies that know no boundaries, humanity or reason.

Now, a new problem is upon us. The editorial does not shy away from this. It notes that the death of an innocent occured in London while the police there were in hot pursuit of a suspected terrorist. The editorial notes that the police chief remarked forthrightly that more innocents will die, it goes with territory. The editorial doesn not shy away from that awful fact either:

As frightening as this new reality may be, particularly to minorities who feel they will be unjustly targeted, it is not unreasonable that police should adopt such a policy. After all, London's transit system was attacked twice in two weeks. Dozens of people died and 700 were injured. And when police suspect a suicide bombing is about to take place, every second counts. Regrettably, tragic mistakes sometimes will happen.

May God have mercy on us all. Which all brings us down to the question of how we defend the TTC and Toronto's subway system? - Owlb for us all, Anaximaximum, Politicarp, and Owlie Scowlie.

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