The Germans must have a word for that feeling of being reluctant to read something that you are sure has been created only to excite you into frothy denunciations on your blog.
Just read this month’s Toronto Life cover story titled “Exodus to the Burbs” (also profiled on CBC’s Metro Morning). Showing more skill at the misleading headline that the whiz kids behind those damn Yahoo News! stories you keep clicking on, Philip Preville’s piece is really about something else – young professional families with last names like Martin, Dunlop and Porter are choosing to semi-retire, job-share or otherwise slow down and move to small towns like Dundas, Creemore and Uxbridge. (Preville, a frequent contributor to Toronto Life, and his family have moved to Peterborough for his wife's new job.)
What follows over six pages is an attempt to make this personal decision into a story about Toronto dying a slow, unlivable death. Perhaps inspired by the sorry state of US politics, Preville goes on to make this about ideology: only our fool moralism (the kind that advocates the superiority of cities) keeps us from seeing this “heart-stopping” truth. His editor, Sarah Fulford, blames our demise on the Spadina Expressway and the Millennium Park that aren’t. But such trophies, even if we were ambitious enough to acquire them, are unlikely to satisfy those profiled by Preville: a long-suffering couple fighting all odds to rush from their downtown 9 to 5 to get to the cottage (they’d still be bitching on the Spadina Expressway) and a woman who would probably find it too annoying to get to Millennium Park anyway (“you have to pack your bags with diapers, bottles, snacks, changes of clothes, all that stuff…only to cut the outing short so you can come home and hurriedly fix lunch”). I won’t even go near Preville’s argument that he needs the watchful eye of his small town neighbours to keep him from being an asshole who litters in front of his children as I am bewildered by this.