Thursday, May 27, 2010

dear toronto star: you are kind of a piece of shit.

enough, toronto star, enough.

today they published this garbage on the front page:

i want to know how much the toronto star is getting out of running these blatantly PR-firm fed stories about darcy sheppard and why he deserved to die.

anybody working for the toronto star with half a soul (like, perhaps, antonia zerbisias, who wrote this great article about the case and how it's a class issue/how it's being spun) should be protesting the garbage-ification of their workplace.

so i'm going to use my powerful deconstructive tools and talk about the most offensive passage written in the toronto star for a very long time:
"It had been nearly nine months since Bryant and his wife were driving along Bloor St. after an anniversary dinner, when a drunk Sheppard approached the convertible's window.Bryant's car had stalled and, when he tried to accelerate, Sheppard landed on his hood. The cyclist became enraged and grabbed onto the side of the car. Fearful for his wife's safety, the court heard Wednesday, Bryant took off.About 100 metres west, Sheppard hit a fire hydrant and fell to the road, suffering fatal injuries"

"It had been nearly nine months since Bryant and his wife were driving along Bloor St. after an anniversary dinner, when a drunk Sheppard approached the convertible's window."

ok, let's start here. it's been nine months since our hapless victims, bryant and his wife, were celebrating their anniversary. by starting a description of the incident with bryant and his wife just "driving along bloor st." digesting their anniversary scratchins, we're meant to understand that bryant and his wife are not only the main characters here, but they are also the victims of some kind of weird fate. if only their anniversary wasn't being celebrated! if only they hadn't driven down bloor st! if only they hadn't been staying at the four seasons!

suddenly, bursting their anniversary bubble, "a drunk sheppard approached the convertible's window."

i would be willing to bet that the PR firm actually wrote this story. sheppard approaching the convertible window doesn't make sense. for what? he didn't just come up to the window, he must have been riding his bike, right? so why all of the sudden the lack of detail?? we're given so much detail about bryant and his perspective but none about or by sheppard--this is a classic move meant to familiarize us with bryant, to force the reader to sympathize with bryant. it's actually brilliant.

"Bryant's car had stalled and, when he tried to accelerate, Sheppard landed on his hood."

again, painting bryant as a victim. it's almost like a highway ghost story: his car was stalled, there was a monster at his window, oh god what will happen next!!

well what happens next is that, magically, sheppard LANDS on the hood of bryants car!! just lands there! bryant is just sitting there, in the euphoria of his lasting marriage, and some cyclist has the nerve to land on the hood of his convertible.

"The cyclist became enraged and grabbed onto the side of the car. Fearful for his wife's safety, the court heard Wednesday, Bryant took off."

the cyclist wasn't just angry, he was enraged. first he landed on the hood of a car, then he became enraged. i'm surprised they don't describe him here as growing a few sizes and ripping his shirt off. maybe he picked the car up and took a bite out of it too?

ok, so he didn't take a bite out of the car, but he did grab onto the side of the car. take note though: if we hadn't read any other story, we wouldn't really know why he was grabbing the car. we could guess, but we're not getting any details. no details and the "drunk" accusation make it sound like sheppard just kind of hit the hood on his own and was so drunk he didn't realize it was his own fault.

bryant took off because he was "fearful for his wife's safety." there it is. they go out of their way to humanize bryant in this article and out of their way to dehumanize his victim. it's like saying 'anyone would have done what bryant did, he was scared for the safety of his wife.' his little wife couldn't possibly stand for him to stop the car and deal with the accident he'd just caused. ladies are fragile like that.

"About 100 metres west, Sheppard hit a fire hydrant and fell to the road, suffering fatal"injuries."

and finally, placing all of the blame on the victim. sheppard "hit a fire hydrant". he wasn't smashed into one on the side of a speeding car, he just hit the hydrant and fell to the road. that's it. the person responsible didn't speed off or anything.

the rest of the article describes circumstantial evidence: that sheppard was a "mad man", a "sociopath", a drug addict, an alcoholic, part of a problem community(couriers?? really toronto star??), and "shirtless".

so, basically he asked for it. bryant and his wife were just victims of circumstance, the victims of a notoriously shirtless and drunk mad man. he was practically a serial killer.

the toronto star should just change it's name to whatever PR firm wrote that article. this bullshit spinning combined with the sensationalizing of violence that spews from rosie dimanno = a newspaper rapidly losing any credibility it may have once had.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Navigator Ltd does pro bono work? Maybe they're just staunch defenders of a person's right to road rage.

pamphleteers said...

Maybe to be fair they should now take on the other side of the story.

Anonymous said...

You're right, why would a person do such a thing like attack a car, or reach into it's window, much less more than once in one night... right he might be looking for a fight. Uhm you forgot to mention the part in the article where Sheppard attacked a car earlier. He was looking for a fight, he got one. I was out walking late with my girlfriend that night not far from where all this happened, and if Sheppard had not ridden Bryants car into a fire hydrant, my girlfriend and I could have been Sheppard's next victims. We didn't have a car to fight back with. Better him dead than me and my girl.

elle said...

Anonymous, it is so great that you would put your own self interested hypothetical situation above the reality that someone did die in this incident. However, let's take a moment to think about that hypothetical situation anyways. Apparently, Darcy Sheppard was being aggressive with people in CARS that day; therefore, I'm sure he would have posed no real harm to you and your girlfriend. However, Bryant's driving was out of control and he could have very easily hurt someone or even kill them. OH WAIT A MINUTE! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what kind of person Darcy Sheppard was. He is dead. He is not on trial. And Michael Bryant is responsible for his death whether you (and the courts) would like to acknowledge this or not. I am a driver and I am absolutely positive that if I hit someone accidently - let alone killed them because I was driving recklessly - I would not be let off so easily. After all, I can't afford a PR firm to spin the story.

Anonymous said...

I can not tolerate the downtown cyclists. They consistently break traffic laws, are rude, aggressive, and for the most part generally vile.

Any regular commuter would tell you the same thing. They are distracting and are in opposition to much of the vehicular and foot traffic.

Having said that, I wish nobody died in this incident. Sheppard evidently was enough of an on-going problem that he should have been policed before this instance.

tee said...

I'm a "downtown" cyclist and I think it's dangerous to paint every cyclists or driver with the same brush.

Just like every driver isn't a jerk, neither is every cyclist.

I don't break traffic laws and I'm only rude when someone almost hits me becuase they're talking on a cell phone or putting on their makeup.

We can't pretend that all drivers are Saints and all cyclists are monsters. It's that kind of attitude that pits people against one another and makes any kind of progressive change in this city impossible.

There will always be cyclists and always be drivers. This tragedy(and the countless tragedies every day on our streets) should make us realize that it's time to put down this petty feud and get some bike lanes.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is a double post

Oops, I was the first 'anonymous' commenter, but I don't mind putting a name to it.

"Maybe to be fair they should now take on the other side of the story."

Agreed, athough I'm not sure if the employees of Navigator Ltd. would know how to act in a 'fair' manner?

tee said...

Thanks rvbryant!

Although my comments about cowardly anonymous comments weren't directed at you, I appreciate you putting a name to your comment--if only because now I can read your blog too!

Maybe the employees of Navigator Ltd think "fair" means what they get paid to do?

Anonymous said...

Elle, I appreciate your empathy but hugging a thug doesn't work. I cannot judge by some shoddy video why Bryant's car shot forward and hit Sheppard. What I do know is that if you did that accidentally and you stopped to see if he was alright, or to say sorry, "you're not gonna get away that easy". And when Sheppard started shouting, yelling and possibly punching you through your car window, I hope for your sake you would be smart enough to hit the gas peddle. I am sad that someone died that night, Really. But you seem like a sweet person, and given the choice of who is going to live, I hope you would pick you.

That's all I was trying to say. I'm not a yuppy, not a car driver.

Anonymous said...

Dear "not a yuppy, not a car driver". Do a google search for a similar incident that happened two days after Al Sheppard died. A courier, mad that he had been cut off (by a silver Mercedes) rode alongside the driver's window, punching at his head as both the bike and car kept in motion. The driver, after about 100 metres, pulled to the right side of the road, got out on the passenger side, came around and proceeded to beat the crap out of the courier. When police arrived, they both refused to press charges. Those two were "men". You and Mr. Bryant... not so much.

Anonymous said...

And what is a 65 year old lady supposed to do... take shit, get spit at, punched... Get out of her car and get into a street brawl with a fucking neanderthal, so she could prove she was a man. Your argument is pathetic.

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