The New Yorker gets its cycling on in this month’s issue, written by the wonderful Ben McGrath. Bike Forums’ SSFG has its panties in a twist as usual, but they are also low brow pedal punks and kamikaze biker bullies and ignorami (for real, they called the New Yorker a “sugar-coated parade magazine for the wealthy”)! From a journalistic standpoint, I was kind of dismayed that the New Yorker joined the other throngs of oblivious publications who put out a cycling lifestyle/Critical Mass piece in the past year, but a) who can blame them [ergo us/me] when an oil war, global warming, overconsumption and obesity are everywhere, and b) at least McGrath is sympathetic to cyclists, unlike other aforementioned poorly-researched and (not-so) subtly car-biased pieces.
Secondly, on the day before Remembrance Day, I’m appalled at the lack of poppies. I sat on the steps of an old house on Gerrard with Jessica yesterday, eating a sandwich and basking in the “way past Indian summer” Indian summer day. I counted 19 poppies in almost an hour of people-watching (hundreds of people passed us by), only 6 of which were pinned onto the collars of visible minorities. In Halifax this weekend it was easier to pick out the non-poppied people at the mall than counting who did remember, and Jessica suggested maybe it’s because in cities like Halifax and Edmonton, Remembrance Day warrants a public holiday — something worth remembering. Maybe it’s the multiculturalism in this city, the flood of first-generation immigrants, or the egocentric Toronto bullshit attitudes, but here, nobody cares.
In a few years time when those who fought in World War II are dead and gone, I will miss the strange brew of feeling I get when a veteran pins, with his two shaky time-worn hands, that furry plastic poppy onto my jacket.