Saturday, November 22, 2008

Grey Cup: You lost us at turban-spotting

That old line about the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function always comes in handy.

There is a Toronto media personality who has truth and fun on his side like no one but no one in this country, but sometimes, well, he doesn't polish the message. His heart was in the right place when he wrote about the Grey Cup losing some of its cultural cachet, but it he blew it kind of with a line about how you won't "spot a lot of turbans" or "many young immigrants with tickets" in the crowd at Olympic Stadium Sunday.

Eep. Did anyone else read that and look over their shoulder for the Queen's University conversation cops? It is not necessarily prejudiced, merely careless on the website editors' part to post that unexpurgated.
"...take the behind-the-scenes crew at Sportsnet who put the nightly highlights together. Most of them are young, some of them multicultural, but all of them are passionate NFL fans. I see it every year and I'll see it again on Sunday; The kids will go crazy if the Jets upset the Titans but when the Grey Cup kicks off, our studio will sound more like a library.

"So, while CFL officials, the media and fans come together to toast the league with a few wobbly pops during Grey Cup, they should also take a good look around.

"With Calgary in the big game they're bound to see a bunch of cowboy hats in the crowd, and French-Canadians might even break out a few colorful Berets.

"However, they won't spot a lot of turbans and they'll be hard-pressed to find many young immigrants with tickets to the 'Big O,' which is too bad since it should be a heckuva game." (emphasis mine)
Far be it to wonder about what makes an individual "multicultural," whether colleagues in their 20s count as "kids" or where this guy gets off thinking he is entitled to use a semicolon. (Granted in Ontario, the definition of "kid" keeps getting pushed farther and farther back.)

They won't spot of a lot of turbans ... A Heinz-57 Canadian from cracker-ass crackerville cannot assume to know what it's like read that for those who are young, black or brown, or a first- or second-generation Canadians (not "immigrants"). The best one can is be thankful to have once had a teacher who stood before a classroom full of whiter-than-white Eastern Ontario teenagers and said, "You're not Canada."

The CFL has some issues with demographics, but it's borne of age, not just ethnicity. The CFL, in central Canada, is reaping what it sowed in the '80s and '90s, which is why the makeup of its crowds have not kept pace with the face of modern Canada.

Shortsighted blackout policies, franchises in turmoil in all four Eastern cities and the nuclear proliferation of televised sports caused the CFL to lose a lot of fans. They are now, 25-39 years old, which represents a person's prime years for following sports and buying tickets (the optimal point between having disposable income and not having to chase after children). There are still plenty of men and women who will seek out the CFL on their own, the same way some people love indie rock or art-house movies. That cuts across all lines.

If the CFL is becoming nichey, it's because of what happened in the '80s and '90s, and CFL commissioner Mark Cohon, et al., have to find that lost generation. They're smart enough to figure that out, without looking for fans in turbans.

It's just a football game (
; funny someone at the cable sports network that doesn't have either the Vanier or Grey Cup games would make that argument, but whatever)


Andrew Bucholtz said...

If Toth wants to see a multicultural audience in the CFL, he should go to a B.C. Lions game sometime. They get plenty of support from people of all races and backgrounds. Toronto and Montreal probably do as well.

Rob Pettapiece said...

Using "multicultural" as a catch-all smacks of ignorance, especially when you know and I know and he knows he meant to say "not white"...but, really, there's no reason to take this guy seriously.

He sure nailed the berets-in-Montreal thing, though. Those are everywhere, often worn by crooked winemakers who enslave Bart Simpson.

eyebleaf said...

Toth is such an idiot.

sager said...

Who is this Toth you speak of?

Jordie Dwyer said...

Vintage piece of work from someone that's still trapped in a closet at Calgary 2&7....

Andrew Bucholtz said...

[tap on the shoulder]
"Mr. Toth? We would like to engage you spontaneously to try and create an atmosphere of inclusivity."
[/conversation cops]