Wisdom handed down from the blog oracle advises against writing when upset, which is probably the same futile logic that propelled legislation against road rage, but in the world of ‘current affairs’ online – delaying a post 18 hours seems prudent enough, this barely qualifies as current anymore, even.
Of course I couldn’t really keep my online mouth shut this long – after receiving emails about the tragic death of a Toronto cyclist and the sad circumstances of the accident, I started posting thoughts and reflections on Twitter.
For non-Torontonians unaware of the online rubbernecking, review the national newspapers or television stations to find a breathless breakdown in hour-by-hour bullet points of assumed/alleged actions. Don’t forget to watch videos from the various eye witnesses, the arrest scene itself, and the sadly-reminiscent-of-an-AG-press-conference car-towing.
Until officials fully review security tapes and statements from witnesses, there is no point speculating culpability. What was most stunning, and poorly articulated in my blurbs under 140 characters, was last night’s stark contrast to the fortunes of Ted Kennedy.
Today’s politicians live in a virtual fishbowl, many, like Bryant, tried to embrace it – speaking directly to constituents or stakeholders through YouTube channels, attempting to connect with new online audiences, and presenting a personal ‘self’ in media interviews. Unfortunately, the hyper connected/accessible/affordable means to capture and publish media online tears down as well as it builds up. The enthusiasm and momentum embracing a ‘viral video’ is equally powerful when packaging and distributing mass amounts of information, teasing it out under the guise of objective news and judging a case before a court date is booked.
Today’s newscycle illustrates that the impressively productive career following Kennedy’s tragic fatal mistake cannot be reproduced by allegedly erring politicians today. Even the tone of Kennedy’s statement released after the investigation – less an ‘apology’ than a fierce rebuttal – seems completely opposite to the bleary eyed press conferences staffed by scrubbed-clean family members, or the vaseline-lensed ‘exclusive’ interviews to ‘set things straight’ after a scandal.
The Toronto Twitter community, at least the fraction in which I choose to participate, has a very large cyclist crew. Reviewing their comments, I was immensely impressed with the respectful and sombre tone as they reflected on the sad news and awaited substantiated facts.
Most encouraging of these commentators was Mark Kuznicki, spearheader of ChangeCamp, TransitCamp organizer and now a force behind BikeCampTO. Follow @bikeunion for more information & hopefully road-sharing/transit/infrastructure becomes an ongoing conversation with all Torontonians, unprovoked by a tragedy.