Wednesday 10 August 2011

Mammoliti, Rob Ford Threat and Toronto's Idiocracy

Given the current political climate in Toronto, perhaps the most prescient movie of the past few years was Mike Judge's Idiocracy, where the everyman can excel in a dumbed down culture. 

First there was Giorgio Mammoliti going on about the communists in Toronto (kudos to the Toronto Star's young Daniel Dale) dominating City Hall deputations and how he created a Facebook page (sample here!) where they'll be kicked off if they espouse those views. But as Meg Campbell points out on Torontoist, isn't it problematic hosting a forum where only some people have access to it and undesirable viewpoints are deleted? Isn't that a bit undemocratic? Aren't the deputations supposed to be a formal forum to exercise this process, but that was duly ignored by Mammoliti?   
Mammoliti being super classy at City Hall in 1999. Toronto Star

And then the Toronto Sun continued to run with the idea of banning panhandlers from city streets. Columnist Joe Warmington covered the idea after reporter Don Peat included it in a list of things to improve the city (including licensing all cyclists over the age of 16). Of course, Sue-Ann Levy has covered the idea before too.  While Doug Holyday has spoken about this, it was Mammoliti's turn to get attention and so he happily said that he was in favour of a ban and that homeless people should be sent to hospitals and shelters should be decreased (Mammoliti is preparing a report on homelessness for September). I mean sure, hospitals are far more expensive and more poorly equipped to deal with the underlying issues, but it feels right to stock it to the 'poverty pimps', right? 

Getting rid of homelessness is a worthy goal, but not for the reason that it's a blight on a pristine sidewalk. Rather, the goal should be improving people's lives and acknowledging that communities need to look after their least fortunate members and seek opportunities for them. Framing the issue as something that impacts the middle class through being a nuisance after coming out of a theatrical play (as Levy's article is framed) misses the point that addressing homelessness is a complex health and social problem that should be driven by a moral imperative. 

But Mammoliti managed to be outdone by an even bigger idiot. Because no matter how dumb your arguments are, they're not deserving of a death threat. So the individual (the second one to be arrested) who threatened Rob Ford deserves the distinction of Idiot of the Day, a tall feat when Mammoliti is talking about social policy. No matter how much you may dislike Ford, attack his ideas- it's easy!- rather than resorting to violent threats. Unless you want to join the race to lead the Idiocracy, be the better person.  

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