Friday, August 18, 2006

Brown Spots on the Wall

My wife, with her infallible eye for the grotesquely absurd, came across this piece in today's Star. It would appear that a TDSB principal "allegedly toss[ed] excrement at children" and has been suspended from her position for doing so.

Apart from its almost sublime comic value, I find the story fascinating for two reasons.

(A) It seems to me that odds are overwhelmingly against the possibility of its panning out. The story, I mean. Indeed, I promise to eat my hat if we don't discover that the poor woman, Maria Pantalone, probably just got a little irritated at the sight of two young people allowing their dog to make a poop on her front lawn; was struck then with inspiration--provided, apparently, with a keen sense of poetic justice--ran to the garden shed, got herself a shovel, ran back out to the front lawn, did the necessary bit of scooping, and lofted the stuff after the little brats in their retreat. If this is so, as I stongly suspect it is--what on earth else could it possibly be?!--one is forced to wonder how the story made the papers.

(B) If it is the case that (A), the story's highly questionable newsworthiness is, I think, explained by the apparent scatological fixation of the reporter, the pricelessly named Robyn Doolittle. She says--in the sixth sentence of the piece, giving us a too acute sense of her priorities--"but investigators were mum on details refusing to say whether the excrement was animal or human." ... Yes indeed. Inquiring minds need to know.

I must admit to a certain amount of disgust at the level of stooping here, on the part of the media. The Star should be ashamed of itself for smearing--er, besmirching--Ms. Pantalone's reputation before all the relevant facts are in.