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Taking The Piss Out

“City State,” writes Toronto Life‘s Philip Preville in his first post on the magazine’s new blog of that name, “will try to take some of the piss out of this town.”
To wit:

Here’s another urban riddle for you: Why doesn’t Toronto have a better sense of humour about itself? Wit, pun, snark, cheek and parody are the only sensible responses to Rob Ford, the TTC’s union, the new black hole–size recycling bins, the CN Tower’s transformation into a glow stick, the coming real estate meltdown, Richard-Florida-mania-o-rama, and so much more. They are also the only coping mechanisms that will get us through the coming 40 years during which the Maple Leafs will surely fail to win the Stanley Cup. Humour is a great way to celebrate, and also to shake off collective embarrassment. It’s also the most enjoyable means of prodding public figures into action.

Which—though it’s a little weird to have as a raison d’être—is actually rather refreshing (especially given that Preville’s other Toronto Life blog, Preville on Politics, is usually pretty good). Toronto, of course, needs cheerleaders—and it has plenty—but it also needs critics (who should not be confused with haters). There is nothing wrong with optimism or idealism, but those who push those characteristics and think that Toronto can do no wrong are not much better for the city than those who think it can do no good. If this is Toronto the Good, how do we make it better? (Or, in the words of a slightly less delicate Preville: “I know which path I want this city to take, and I intend to give it a crisp shove from behind with a shit-eating grin on my face.”)
Whether or not Preville can pull off taking the piss out on a daily basis without City State getting exhausting to read—or spending too much time in the “Toronto can do no good” camp—we’ll have to wait and see. Either way, we’ll be reading.
Logo by Evan Munday, courtesy of Toronto Life.


  • rek

    I don’t think there are enough commas, em-dashes, parentheticals and in-line quotations in this post.

  • x_the_x

    I’m surprised he got through a paragraph without his trade-mark annoying italics (to amplify a mundane observation into something the writer clearly thinks is profound).

  • David Topping

    Whatever do you mean, x_the_x?

  • Mark Ostler

    Did Topping trademark italics? Damn. I love using italics, but I hate getting sued for trademark infringement even more. Curse you and your marking of the trade, Topping!

  • matty

    I thought Toronto took great pride in “taking the piss” (does anyone say that but the English?) out of their police force.
    “Look at that robbery over there, eh?”
    “You think we should do somethin’?”
    “Naw, waaaaay too dangerous. Let’s go to Horton’s!”

  • Mark Ostler

    The Irish all also great users of “taking the piss.”

  • rek

    It’s Tim’s, you foreign devil.

  • David Topping

    Preville just wrote a post on Preville on Politics saying that blog will no be “dormant” in lieu of City State.

  • andrew

    rek is on fire in this thread. dude!