I’m not sorry.
I called a spade a spade. I see others who demean the city, as much, if not more than I just did (angry response writers included), who joined the social media lynch mob. I stand by my last article because as a lot of people have agreed, there’s fact behind everything I have said. What started out as a list of 50 Things People from Cornwall Know Well, like how killer good Riley’s sandwiches are, ended up cut down to 25. They were slightly negative, completely satirical, and yet firmly accurate points, mostly because, as has been proven, people know what’s up. I understand that some love Cornwall and were offended that someone made a point about it, but the fact that its true remains the same.
After asking around, those 25 things are pretty much the summation of actual complaints/points made about Cornwall. I clearly have struck a nerve with some people. Good. It’s good to know you see a problem and want to fix it. Turn that around to make Cornwall a better place to live. But to the people denying there is a problem: make sure to ask yourselves, "By denying the problem, am I contributing to the problem?"
We all love things/people/places, but that doesn't mean they are without their faults. I am glad you found things you appreciate about Cornwall, and I am not sorry one bit that my article provoked you to find them. There're lots of great things about Cornwall, but one by one those things are slowly losing momentum because people do not attend them or use them.
Along with all the people that had a good laugh about the article were some people who crossed a line, and were completely classless. I get that you were offended and good. It’s your right to be offended, but reflect on what you are willing to say to prove your point. I love a good debate, so long as we actually debate, and people don’t resort to name calling, mob mentality, and spewing very rude and highly questionable obscenities.
There is one post, in particular, I’d like to respond to, rather succinctly considering how long of a post they made. Apparently, it was "beautiful" and "well said." It was argued like a child, going off and trying to personally attack me, while reaching for a shred of an argument and that person (who I will not name because I have class and objectivity that they clearly do not), because of the clear bias, would not pass the reasonable person test. Not that I even have to explain myself to some of these people with their “Facebook Balls”, but here goes:
- I never said anyone was untalented. Cornwall has quite a few artists with musical talent, that however doesn’t change the fact that every rapper that has made a music video, has glorified the negative aspects of Cornwall, like “gangs” and drugs.
- My volunteerism in the community is not anyone's business, and the reason this person does not see me at those events is because they themselves are likely not there.
- Cornwall does have a ski hill in the middle of town made of industrial waste, no word of a lie there. You could argue it’s a great height for kids to learn to ski. It’s also a great spot to catch sicknesses from industrial pollutants. Defend Cornwall all you want, it’s a good city, but there’s definitely a problem with skiing on industrial waste.
- Cornwall did have times where the smell was terribly bad, and it’s because people were/are breathing in sulfur, carbon monoxide, and toxic industrial chemicals, which brings me back to my last point. It was dumped behind the old Walmart and when the snow melts each year, you can smell it. (Sidenote: If you want someone to lynch, maybe ask yourselves what pollutants are in your own backyard, how they got there, and how that is going to affect your future health.)
- “Be happy our country allows free speech.” It does, and I have exercised it. Now, my problem is, as a lot of people in Cornwall have agreed, that if your religion is pure hate towards diverse groups of people, you should not be shouting it on the street corner. (Mostly because it violates Section 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada). And yet here we are.
- “Poverty seems to be a joke to you.” As a person who actually did things the right way, and worked their way out of it, I deplore the insinuation. People work their asses off to get by in this city, and then there're people who choose not to. There’s people living on disability and their pensions who deserve much more than they are getting, and yet, there’s people who are perfectly able to get jobs and don’t/won’t.
- “Privileged and ignorant needs.” Because I said the escalator is broken again? Whoa, calm yourself. Every single time I go to the mall, I see some of the elderly having problems walking to the other side of the mall to use the stairs, escalator, and elevator. What do we do to help them? Bag on the people that bag on the problem.
- Getting caught for pedaling coke and firearms is not a “misfortune”. They chose their battles and lost, so yes, I am entertained. Crime is not a misfortune, it is a mistake, and they chose to make it.
- I’m not casting shade on the Vu for their clothing policy, I’m saying that it had to make strict rules about public decency in their facility, which should be a sign that there is a problem.
- We all get annoyed at people mispronouncing “poutine.” That point was conceded, but then it was used as an opportunity to say things like, “this shows me how far you have traveled.” If one is going to continually reinforce the point that people in Cornwall are less monetarily fortunate, please realize the contradiction made when you classify travel as a form of wealth and as a knowledge base. I was actually going to justify this travel comment with proof that I have been across Canada and most of the United States, but I really don’t feel the need to defend my travel lifestyle to a person who is using that as a way to make other people feel small and unknowledgeable. Apparently, though, I get to be the classist in this argument. Sure. Whatever you say, bud.
- Saying "it happens everywhere" is not justification for the fact that a problem is a problem. Sure, its a widespread systemic problem, but it is nonetheless a problem.
- Admitting Cornwall is a C+ class populace, thereby conceding all previous arguments made, is a little contradicting, but that’s fine. (BTW, I love Tampico’s, and the rash and bizarre insinuation that because one finds faults in a city that they cannot eat Grade A Latino food is irrational and illogical.)
- To end an argument by saying, quote, “I went to Catholic school and rivalries aside, this is a reeeedonkulus statement. Just make sure Gilcig cleans you up after that next reach around.” And a few lines down, “The real rough truth is when rape is condoned, bombs are more regular than mail, and [violnce] are more accessible than education. Thankfully that isn’t Cornwall.” Oh, but it is. You have literally JUST condoned sexual assault. Want to fix the problem? Don't condone the problem. People who have shared that post have just condoned it too. Rapes go unreported in Cornwall quite frequently, and can you blame those people for not coming forward? The systems in place to deal with such things are inadequate.Our schools have been shut down due to bomb threats. Walmart was shut down due to a bomb threat just last year. Violence actually is more accessible than education in Cornwall, you just have to take the blinders off.
Let's not put lipstick on the pig here. There’s a fairytale land where Cornwall isn’t a teen pregnancy and cancer hub. There’s a fairytale land where Cornwall is all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s sure as hell not the Cornwall we are in right now. I hear y’all calling for my head, when really you should go out every day and actually make this place better.
What I said this past week was a reflection of me, I will not deny that, but what built my character is living in this place. I managed to stay away from drugs, despite growing up playing on playgrounds with heroin needles protruding from the gravel. I managed to go to a world-renowned university, despite the education system in high school that was designed to pigeon-hole students from the beginning. If you would like to take your frustrations about this city out on me, that’s perfectly fine. I pointed out the problems, and it was overwhelmingly clear that others saw them too. I did not create the problems, most of them we were all born into. Does that mean we enable it? Yeah, apparently we do, but let me make this clear, we shouldn’t. We talk about it like its such a great city, like it has all this potential, the same way we talk about an addict. We reminisce about what they were and what they could be, if they ever overcome their problems. People are talking about the city in the same way, and they shouldn't.
The satire of the article actually made people get up and listen, and I will not apologize for that, either. If I accomplished that much in 10 minutes, imagine what you can do in an hour. Or a day. Or a year. My article enraged some people, good. It made some people inadvertently proud of their hometown, good. I don’t hate Cornwall, otherwise, I’d probably be still living the high life in Syracuse or NYC. There’s a lot of really kickass people in Cornwall working to make the city a better place.
I say it all the damn time, Cornwall has opportunities. Even more, opportunities can be created. The potential for greatness is there. Businesses can be created, jobs can be filled, rent control can be facilitated, rehabilitation facilities can be expanded and utilized. City council people can be encouraged to do better, and come election time, replaced if need be. Apathy towards Cornwall’s problems on a macro-scale doesn’t change a thing, it just perpetuates unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the city we live in. I’m happy I got people riled up and ready to do something, even if it meant pointing out Cornwall’s problems satirically. Sorry, but I am not sorry.