Friday, December 28, 2007

Silly Little City

The moderately amusing mockumentary "Toronto Sucks" (here's an interview with the film-makers) included a section I enjoyed centered on the canard that has been around the city for years, that at some point "the UN" (whatever that means) had declared Toronto the most diverse (or multi-ethnic, or multicultural) city on Earth.

Some of the funniest Millerbabble I have ever witnessed has included our Mayor intoning this ridiculous claim from his pulpitry, with the most self-satisfied seriousness. And the claim still occurs in our local media with stunning frequency.

When I first heard the claim, my initial reaction was "Huh, what about New York and London (whoever made the claim cannot have spent much time in either of those cities)? Maybe Sydney, Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago? What about some great Asian cities (though the authors of the claim may just conclude that all Asians are one group and so no Asian city can really be diverse)."

I know I once spent a lot of skeptic's energy looking for any assertion from any UN agency to such an effect, and failed. Though UN agencies are certainly capable of making ridiculous statements, this one seemed to me so much a howler that surely even they could not go so far. Now apparently Reuters is at least allowing that we might be catching up.

The discussions in the interview linked above and in the article are not bad; the claim itself is simply not measurable. But the reason for the claim is the ache of its politicians and elite to be tops at something other than just aching to be tops at something.



At 6:59 PM, Blogger rondi adamson said...

Paris and Istanbul, two cities I have lived in, are both more diverse than Toronto.


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