2 Responses to 07w39:4 Sheila Heti Interview

  1. Sheila Heti says:

    Hi Timothy,

    I don’t know why everyone who makes something in this city has to be a pundit for the city. It is an accident of fate that one is born where they are born, and only the people who want to be its mayor run for mayor. Tell me how I’m wrong here.

  2. Timothy says:

    You’re not wrong. What I did pick up from the interview is a sense of being bored with it all. That’s something I can relate to. There’s a sense of ennui that comes through, and that especially I can relate to.

    It comes across that you’ve grown older and lost interest in some things, which is natural. It’s not so much that one (in a general sense) is being asked to be a pundit for the city, but that one is being asked to play along in a rah-rah game that is no longer fun (‘been there done that’). I’m glad that so many of the young people driving sites like Torontoist are excited about being Toronto citizens, but the city is just a place to live after-all. How one lives is a different story. The kids are looking for permission to live a youth-orineted celebritocratic lifestyle in an exciting city.

    Toronto has always had a strong inferiority complex and that’s why the people who work here are asked to be pundits for the city. The underlying question is ‘why aren’t you someplace else if you’re so great?’ The kids want role models of someone who’s here out of choice and they want those reasons articulated. Writers have always done that for people. I also think that the inferiority complex exists partially out of inertia and tradition, and part of the desire to get rid of it once and for all is to have ‘evidence’ to argue against it – this evidence being the testimony of the city’s elite, who we want to tell us how great things are here compared to elsewhere.

    There’s that clip of John Lennon being interviewed after he’d moved to New York, and he said that NY was the greatest city in the world. Why would Lennon need to say that? Wasn’t it because people at the time were like, ‘why would you move here?’ This was when NY was dealing with bankruptcy and crime and all sorts of shit, which reminds me of what Toronto is dealing with today. If Paris Hilton decided to live here and said it was the greatest city in the world, the inferiority complex would vanish over the 24 hours that was headlined across the transit tabloids. In the meantime it falls to those who the young admire to give voice to their sense that Toronto is a permissible place to live if one wants to be thought of as young and hip.

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