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21 Comments

culture

2012 Villain Nominees: The Dividers

Setting us against one another.


Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains: the very best and very worst people, places, things, and ideas that have had an influence on the city over the past 12 months. From December 10 to 19, we’ll unveil the nominees, grouped by category. Vote for your favourites from each batch, every single day! On December 19 and 20 the winners from each category go head-to-head in the final round of voting, and on December 21, we will reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.




The Nominees: The Dividers


CLICK ON EACH NOMINEE to learn more about them.


Sue-Ann Levy

Using her position to deride instead of reason.
  Michael Bryant

An astonishingly tone-deaf response to a tragic death.
  Frances Nunziata

Treating her colleagues like wayward schoolchildren.


Unsubstantiated “Safety Concerns”

Using race as an indicator of crime.
  Yunel Escobar
 

Homophobic slurs and frustrating non-apologies.
  Doug Holyday
 

Trying to turn an already divided house even more against itself.


  James Pasternak and QuAIA Alarmism

Undermining Pride Toronto, and Toronto’s commitment to diversity.
 




Voting has now closed on this category. The final round of voting begins Wednesday, December 19.


Comments

  • Anonymous

    905 Central Jersey Shore types. :-P

  • Anonymous

    Shouldn’t you guys include some left-leaning dividers, so that you don’t end up being a divider yourselves? I guess that ship has sailed.

    • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

      Agreed, most of these lists have been decidedly left leaning.

      • Anonymous

        On the other hand, right-wing ideology is pre-disposed to villainy, what with its strong stance against being nice to people. So it’s definitely easier to populate such a list exclusively with members of the conservative party.

    • d

      agreed. Hey Torontoist, how about naming QuAIA as a divider for piggybacking their unrelated inflammatory cause onto Pride?

      • Anonymous

        “unrelated”

        I have three problems with that. One being the ever-evolving nature of Pride’s parade – thongs and water guns don’t erase its political origins or political nature. The second being the super-abundance of truly unrelated floats and marchers escaping similar scrutiny and opposition. The third being that the number one argument in defence of Israel in this ongoing debate has been the very-related “gays are treated better there than in Palestine”, which says human rights in the region is very much a concern for Pride’s participants on both sides of the QuAIA issue.

        • d

          re #1) Pride’s political nature is in regard to a specific cause, and the expressly inclusive and not “divisive” nature of that cause is the basis for justifying public funding, and justifying the expectation that public figures (Ford) will publicly support Pride
          re #2) examples? The point with QuAIA isn’t that they’re “unrelated” so much as it is that their cause has nothing to do with the cause of Pride (and as you point out in #3, is if anything at odds with it). If they were styled as “Palestinians for Pride” there’d be no issue. For that matter, if they were styled as something unrelated but not “divisive” (the point of this blog post) they still wouldn’t qualify as “divisive”.
          If they were styled as “Queers for a return to the peace process” or some such I doubt there’d be much or any issue. But the m.o. of QuAIA is clearly to aggravate and pick a fight. Which is totally fine, but once they are granted the platform of Pride to pick that fight, Pride loses its right to demand unanimity and public funding on the basis of its original cause of LGBT tolerance, because it’s not longer exclusively about that cause. You can’t have it both ways. And therefore, if the desire on the part of Pasternak et al to not publicly fund a QuAIA-including-Pride constitues divisiveness, blame QuAIA.

          • Anonymous

            Are you a Pride organizer?

          • Anonymous

            I get double aggravated by council members that take issue with QuAIA because it is simultaneously insincere (in that these folks probably aren’t all that thrilled with Gay pride as a movement) and pandering (in that it’s a dog whistle to a right-leaning base). So, on principle, the only right response to politicians making a big hairy deal about this one float in the parade and threatening its funding is, “shut your stupid stupid mouth.”

            That said d’s argument makes valid points. But shouldn’t this all ultimately be up to the parade organizers, and to the extent possible, Toronto’s gay community as a whole?

          • Anonymous

            1) You can’t argue Pride must be inclusive and then try to boot some gays for having a human rights agenda you don’t agree with, or ‘styled’ in a way you find offensive. If some can march with “Real liberals support Israel”, as they did, without uproar in the media or Council, then some can march with “End Israeli apartheid”. Both messages are equally ‘divisive’.

            2) Half the organizations that marched/floated may have been there under the guise of showing support, but their large corporate logos or political chants (the cringe-worthy “Jack! Jack! Jack!” from the NDP float, for example) said they were there to promote themselves first and foremost.

            3) Pride didn’t start out as “please acknowledge us, if you find the time, because we would very much like the public funding to continue”, it was a fist in the air demanding equality, demanding fundamental human rights, a demonstration in the streets. If Pride doesn’t have room for such political expression under the public funding regime, it should find other ways to pay for the parade so as to not be forced to pander to the Fords and Pasternaks on Council.

          • d

            I don’t see where I’ve suggested “booting” anyone, or suggested that Pride’s cause should be deferential to anyone. I also don’t see where you get the basis to presume that my arguments are premised on a personal disagreement with QuAIA’s agenda, or my personally finding it offensive.

            your strawmen aside, I don’t actually disagree with you on the basic point that Pride/QuAIA/whoever can and should be as controversial as they see fit. The point is simply that it’s absurd to think they can do so while maintaining the advantages that come with being non-controversial. The thesis of this post is that it’s blameworthy and “villainous” to be divisive; assuming that premise to be correct, then the groups such as QuAIA that are intentionally being inflammatory can properly own the title of “villain” at least if not more so than the people who react to their provocations.

          • Anonymous

            You argued they should be nominated for “piggybacking” and being “inflammatory”; in the context of that post I think it’s reasonable that I assumed you want them booted from the parade. You also argued that Pride in part exists to gain the support of – defer to – public figures and retain public funding, and to endanger either of these goals (by including inflammatory groups) contradicts Pride’s reason to exist.

            “The point is simply that it’s absurd to think they can do so while
            maintaining the advantages that come with being non-controversial.”

            Pride itself is still controversial outside liberal downtown Toronto and other liberal communities and sympathizers. Arguing against QuAIA’s inclusion from either the funding or offense standpoint misses the point of the parade and cheapens it further. It’s already at the point where LGBT people see it as another themed street party and just avoid it.

            If being divisive is the criteria, then QuAIA isn’t to blame for being included, Pride is. Nominate Pride.

          • d

            More strawmen.

            “You also argued that Pride in part exists to gain the support of – defer to – public figures and retain public funding, and to endanger either of these goals (by including inflammatory groups) contradicts Pride’s reason to exist.”

            Actually my entire argument is precisely the opposite. Here, I’ll quote myself for you:

            “I don’t actually disagree with you on the basic point that Pride/QuAIA/whoever can and should be as controversial as they see fit.”

            And, “Which is totally fine, but once they are granted the platform of Pride to pick that fight, Pride loses its right to demand unanimity and public funding on the basis of its original cause of LGBT tolerance, because it’s not longer exclusively about that cause. You can’t have it both ways.”

            In short, the corrollary to Pride’s entitlement to public funding (which is the pretense underlying the Torontoist post that I was responding to in the first place), is accepting public (Council) debate and input on the scope of their cause. Wanna adopt a whole new cause and present it in an attention-grabbing way? Fantastic. But don’t bitch (as Torontoist does, in the post I was responding to in the first place) when it triggers a debate about whether you should still be entitled to funding. And if you’re gonna bitch (as Torontoist does), at least acknowledge your own responsibility for “divisiveness” in having triggered the issue (QuAIA). That’s all.

          • http://twitter.com/pothen Pothen Kunnenkeril

            Do you think we should de-fund parks and sidewalks because someone might use them to express opinions others disagree with? A big part of the point of funding public space – and events like Pride which draw people into public space – is to create a setting where people on all sides can engage in public discourse about disputed issues. To put it plainly, the case for funding Pride is enhanced, not undermined, by the fact it provides a “stage” for unrelated political expression.

    • Testu

      I think John Sewell would have been a decent choice. His article in the globe was the definition of divisive ( http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/time-to-rethink-the-toronto-megacity/article5943324/?cmpid=rss1&utm_source=dlvr.it_tor&utm_medium=twitter )

    • http://twitter.com/alekt Alek

      I don’t know if calling themselves “right-wing” really makes some of these villains legitimately so, but including “left-wing” (as you perceive) examples just for the sake of doing so would be… well, disingenuous.

      As they say, the truth has a well-documented “liberal” bias.

  • Anonymous

    I think Pasternak should get a second shout-out for his idiotic rantings about the “North York Relief Line” before we get a DRL where there is actual traffic. People seem to forget that North York has received 2 of the last 2 most recent subways already.

  • Anonymous

    Who the hell is Sue-Ann Levy anyway?

    • Anonymous

      The devil.

  • Fayclis

    I can’t seem to move Michael Bryant from 2nd to 1st villian. Can someone help me?

  • http://twitter.com/pothen Pothen Kunnenkeril

    Do the folks who want to defund Pride also think we should de-fund parks and sidewalks because someone might
    use them to express opinions others disagree with? A big part of the
    point of funding public space – and events like Pride which draw people
    into public space – is to create a setting where people on all sides
    can engage in public discourse about disputed issues. To put it
    plainly, the case for funding Pride is enhanced, not undermined, by the
    fact it provides a “stage” for unrelated political expression.

    Come to think of it, perhaps the folks who want to defund pride ARE the same ignorant people who whine about postering, leafleting, protests, and other forms of political expression in public space.