When localization fails

I got a little excited when I saw this month’s Atlantic Monthly on the newsstand. “The suburbs lose. The sun belt fades. Toronto wins. How the crash will reshape America,” touts the cover over a nighttime shot of Toronto seen from the lake. A little strange, granted, since Toronto is in Canada and there is no sun belt here, unless you’re talking midnight sun — but, with the author listed as Toronto-based urban affairs guru Richard Florida, it made sense.

Except… the article doesn’t mention Toronto. And this is the cover on newsstands in the U.S., where the Atlantic sells all but probably a couple hundred issues of its magazine:


All that tolerance, openness, creative, multicultural stuff is represented in the article by… New York, not Toronto. And, having completed whatever paperwork was necessary to get a working visa for Canada, Florida now knows well that there is a border dividing northern North America. The article is focused on how the United States in particular can reinvent itself — which either has absolutely nothing to do with, or has some potentially negative implications (top U.S. scholars returning to newly-science-friendly, more tolerant homeland) for, Toronto.

Sure, Richard Florida’s ubiquitous in Toronto these days, and we’ve all heard him gush about the city and its creative class. I don’t doubt that the tiny number of Atlantic readers in Canada are, for the most part, familiar with his vague ramblings about the charming ethnic neighbourhoods that exist close (but not too close) to his Rosedale home. But it still seems unreasonable to expect readers who pick up the magazine because of its cover to have to think back to whatever he may have written about Toronto elsewhere in order to make sense of a cover promoting an article that ignores his adopted hometown all together.

UPDATE: Mock Turtle picked up by Torontoist and the Driven magazine blog.