Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kyle Rae has some weird ideas


Mr. Rae is chair of the Toronto's economic development, culture, tourism and special events committee (whatever that is). In this article he is quoted as saying "We have turned to the philanthropic sector to finance health care, when in fact it should be investing in the arts." Or if I understand him correctly, people should spend money on art not doctors.

Weird idea number 1.

Christopher Hume, the author of the article writes "the arts have historically been considered a frill. They are seen as elitist and non-essential." Wrong-O Boy-O! From 1962 until 1971 Sears sold original contemporary art. In 1968 Andy Warhol was used as a pitchman for Braniff Airlines. That does not sound like art being elitist and non-essential, but history was never my strong point. Mr. Hume continues to shoot himself in the foot by writing 'when the corporate sector does give, it's more often because of one individual within the organization than corporate policy.' Actually, I take that back - he is completely right about that - the RBC Collection is because of one individual, G.W. MacKimmie who has been dead for 62 years.

But back to Mr. Rae, he seems to have memorized, or more maybes joined the cult of, Richard Florida. Otherwise I can't quite understand why he would say something like this: "The hallmarks of successful cities in the 21st century are innovation and investment..." After six years, he is able to identify "successful cities?" Right. I'd also like to see his list of unsuccessful cities - my guess is that Baghdad and Beirut havn't had enough innovation and investment, although last I heard the US Army had invested something like $1 trillion dollars in Baghdad.

Weird idea number 2.

Obviously the education he got in England wasn't quite the one he would have recieved here in Canada, otherwise he wouldn't confuse creativity and Culture.

Weird idea 3.

And I don't quite follow how investing in Canadian infrastructure is going to help retired Ontario municipal employees. Last I heard Hydro One wasn't a great investment.

Weird idea number 4.

And finally, 'cuz this post has taken me way too long to write, I completely disagree with 'eading urban adviser Greg Clark' and if business isn't talking to the creative people, then who was speaking about the Opera House and the two museum additions that are built or being built right now in Toronto? If Mr. Hume can't enumerate what Toronto is good at, maybe he should move. I don't think Toronto is best at anything, but I certainly know that jumping on Richard Florida's cultural bandwagon as the salvation of all urban ills is one of the most cock-a-mamie concepts I have ever heard in my life. If you would like to know what I've previously wrritten about Mr. Florida, try One, Two Three, Four, Five and, Six.

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