On Symbols of Oblivious Decadence and Superficial Leaders Who Suck at Their Jobs

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.

The Mayor of Vaincouver: Kennedy Stewart under fire for using $7,800 of public funds to make video about achievements. Glitzy and superficial, a perfect metaphor for the city he’s mayor of. A smirking optimism masking a litany of broken promises.

But as tone-deaf and ill-timed as this was, criticism over the cost of this ad in the face of a tax-hike is totally missing the giant feral hog in the room, that the tax hike is going to pay for more cops. Cops aren’t going to help with overdoses or housing, Mr. Mayor: Alliance Against Displacement calls for the City of Vancouver to redirect the VPD budget to housing for the homeless. When it’s austerity for social programs and massive budget increases for the police, it’s class war.

And this is one of the battle grounds: ‘Take Back Little Mountain!’ Vancouver’s Housing Cry. When the tribunals go down after the revolution, Rich Coleman will be tried for war crimes.

Jean Swanson: Close-up look at who runs Vancouver City Hall. But…but…Swanson is a poverty pimp who *checks notes, wants to make housing affordable for every single person in Vancouver.

Living in the demoviction and renoviction capital of Canada, I appreciate the importance of these kinds of renovations. Even though I wasn’t keen on the program being administered by a landlord lobby group, I decided I’d vote in favour if the city could ensure that rents in the renovated apartments would remain affordable.

I thought this was a pretty reasonable deal. You get some government money. You put in some of your own. You do some environmentally good renos that prolong the life of the buildings. And you keep rents affordable. Surely, affordable rents should be a condition of getting government subsidies, especially in the midst of a housing crisis, I thought.

This is a sobering eye-opener of how if landlords and corporate lobby groups don’t get their way they have a tantrum and storm out of the room. Never forget that these are people’s lives we’re talking about.

This happens every single day: Renter evicted so her former place could be an AirBNB suite. There’s an illegal AirBnB in my building and there’s nothing strata can do. (I placed a bottle of urine at the door as a spell and that hasn’t worked either.)

6,000-unit Squamish Nation project in Vancouver exempt from foreign buyer tax. Yeah, I’m not touching this one with a 10 foot totem pole.

Corporate cash was banned from B.C. elections. Developer’s employees started donating.

But when advised that her name shows in records as having donated the $1,200 maximum last year to the NPA and then $600 to Stewart this past February, Lam said: “A lot has happened over the past year, so I honestly cannot recall that right now.”

Apolitical employees of one of the city’s biggest realtors forgot when they donated 1,200 dollars to a political party? That totally happens, right?

Mostly loathed: Loved and Loathed, He Lures World’s Wealth With Luxury Towers. Can I please obtain a list of people who love this Ian Gillespie for…uh, journalistic reasons?

Meanwhile…

Related: Let Them Eat Crystal: Rodney Graham and the Bankruptcy of Ironic Art. Tough to pick just one paragraph from this piece:

But here’s the thing: the rest of us have already been thinking – have already been seething, for years. This symbol of oblivious decadence shows us nothing that we did not already feel deeply. For this reason it can’t be argued in good faith that its meaning lies in the genesis of conversation. Torqued Chandelier is far more concrete; the sculpture’s material is not only its phony crystal, but also its urban setting, whose social traumas cannot be divorced from the work. Those traumas, having been inflicted by the exact interests that allow this piece to shine so brightly, are both the symptom and the target of this class war taunt. The gaudy decoration simply is what it is.

So the Chandelier is broken. Do you know what else is? Capitalism: “It’s pretty staggering”: Returned online purchases often sent to landfill, journalist’s research reveals. Wait, what? People actually do this? They just buy a bunch of size runs of things, try them on at home, and then return them? Who are these people (again, for journalistic purposes)?

Exhibit B: ‘Hundreds of hectares of moonscape’: B.C. spruce beetle infestation used to accelerate clear cuts. Because if there is a threat to an ecosystem the best way to remove that threat is to remove the entire ecosystem. Gotcha.

Do you approve of Vancouver’s separated bike lanes? Hey CTV, where’s the poll asking if we approve of Vancouver’s car lanes?

The rich are preparing. Are you? World’s first armoured Bentley Bentayga is built in Canada.

Satire of the day: Update: white journalists still not seeing the irony of demanding Wilson-Raybould give office back. “You people” are real Indian givers, eh?

Bonus: I’m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News, So I Illustrated 50 Of The Best Ones From 2019.

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