Thursday, March 4, 2010

Toronto Star Hit Piece

The Star published a piece about The Rabble last Monday. I felt that it was a pretty unfair and uninformed write-up.

I sent a letter to Joe Fiorito, his editor and "letters to the editor," but as far as I know, it wasn't printed or posted anywhere. So, here it is:


Dear Mr. Fiorito,

I read your piece about my book, The Rabble of Downtown Toronto, today. I have two concerns about your article.

The first is that you wrote about myself and my work without contacting me. I'm a fairly easy guy to get in touch with and I would've been more than happy to talk with you about this project. I would think that someone writing for a newspaper would want to consider as many sides of the story as possible before forming an opinion about it.

My other issue is that you stated that I have not responded to requests to meet with members of the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre. I have not been contacted by anyone from that institution, or anyone else for that matter, to meet and talk about my work. I am completely open to discussing the book with people who request it.

It seems like gross negligence on your part to not only exclude my point of view in your piece, but also to make a false claim about my actions.


Jason Kieffer



  1. think the piece is fair. I've read a number of interviews you've given about your offensive little book and am absolutely astounded that you never utter the words "mental illness". Anyone with any experience with street people is keenly aware that the number one issue plaguing these people is mental illness. From that perspective, your book make about as much sense as having "The Terminally Ill Cancer Patients of Downtown Toronto" and having poor drawings of children crying as their mother passes away from cancer.

    No doubt you're proud of your silly little project (that couldn't have possibly taken a year to do) but don't be so shocked when it's called out for what it is: ignorant, borderline hate literature.

  2. James,

    It is great that you have taken the time to read a number of articles on The Rabble of Downtown Toronto. You should also read the book. Please pick it up and go the last subject. It's "the artist" Jason Kieffer. This is a very important point.

    Kieffer positions himself, and anyone who would read the book, as a participant in the urban community, and as equally culpable for the problems of their fellow citizens. The underlying point of the Rabble: our cities cannot credibly function as social models as long as there is homelessness and all the factors that contribute to it. I think it's great that Jason has confronted the issue with such candour.

    I think you have mistaken Kieffer's use of the cartoon caricature to make a serious point for insouciance.

  3. I've just sent you an email requesting a meeting to discuss your book. Here's hoping I get a response.

  4. I like how you seem to define "unfair" as writing about you and your work without contacting you first and excluding your point of view and making false claims about your actions.

    Congrats on writing the most "unfair" book ever, Mr. Hypocrite.

    And you know how Fiorito's article made you feel? Now imagine he had ALSO written that you were a pedophile and provided readers with your home address and keys to your house, and perhaps you'll start to get a sense of how "unfair" you've been to 39 people in Toronto who have it a 1000 times harder than you do.