Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Creative Waste of Space

I guess the section editors at the Globe and Mail don’t bother to consult with one another anymore, like divorced couples that stay together for the sake of the children, but no longer see the need to converse to keep up appearances. In today’s Globe (Wednesday, October 22, 2003), both Kate Taylor and David Macfarlane discuss Creative Places + Spaces, a recent conference about how to revitalize urban centres through the arts. If a newspaper intentionally decides to do this kind of thing, then either a) have Taylor and Macfarlane write about the same thing on different days or b) ensure the writers take appreciably different tacks on the topic.

As it happens, both columns (one in the Toronto section, one in the Arts) are basically the same, although most will find Macfarlane’s far and away the more interesting of the two because he provides personal anecdotes and doesn’t spend most of his column inches explaining Richard Florida’s book The Rise of the Creative Class in tedious detail. (A book, by the way, that was already given plenty of press last year, making a lengthy summation somewhat redundant.) Taylor, in fact, spends so much time talking about Richard Florida that she leaves no room to talk about her own ideas or add any colour to her piece. Macfarlane, meanwhile, begins by sipping coffee in Balzac’s, the Distillery District’s coffee house and meanders around from there to good effect. Nothing dramatizes the difference in comfort level and columnist's confidence more than having two people write about the same thing.