Sep. 10th, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)
While I was out walking down Yonge Street today, I saw a huge commotion down at the intersection of intersection of Yonge and College, with emergency lights flashing and crowds of people milling. I walked south, getting closer and more curious by the minute. What was going on?

Nothing, it turned out, apart from the Toronto police blocking off a lane of Yonge street near the College Park complex for the sake of the Toronto International Film Festival

This globally-covered media event is important to Toronto. This importance stems not only from the demographic changes wrought by the presence of so many movie stars. (I, for instance, caught Samuel L. Jackson, wearing his black beret, on the Queen Street streetcar. I don't think he wanted to be recognized.) The Festival's presence and success is often taken as a crucial data point ongoing controversy as to whether Toronto really is world-class city like New York, or Chicago, or London, or Paris.

As a non-native, I find this sort of teenager-like existential angst amusing. It's probably best to jettison all the extraneous issues and enjoy the shows. World-class status will come, if it hasn't already.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Over at Claus Vistesen's Alpha Sources, a commenter responds to speculation about Russian, and global, population futures by wondering if the situation is too advanced for any recovery to be possible.

A useful parallel here can be found in the many, predominantly male, private clubs in London. Their history goes back a couple of centuries.

There is a well-documented record of problems arising in these clubs if the average age of the members is allowed to rise too far. Beyond a certain point the existing membership is no longer prepared to encourage the relatively active, noisy presence of younger people, so few younger people join. In almost every case the result has been a long decline which gets even more difficult to reverse with each passing year, leadng eventually to closure or often merger with other equally moribund (even if financially well-endowed) clubs.

One might describe this phenomenon as the 'whirlpool of advancing gerontocracy' (the clubs are generally self-governing, electoral bodies). The parallel is illuminating but I'm afraid offers little encouraging to say about the prospects of countries with the sort of demographic problems[.]
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