Sunday, November 20, 2005

Class War!

Who knew?

The London Free Press reports that a new 226 telephone area code will be introduced into the existing Southwestern Ontario 519 area next year. Local calls within Southwestern Ontario will require dialing the area code.

If you think that's the end of the story, you've forgotten a couple of things, including the Free Press' policy of filling in newsprint with gratuitous interviews of UWO professors just in case readers are incapable of thinking for themselves. Ideally these will be humanities or social science professors — a privileged class paid to substitute abstraction for reality and dream up scenarios to justify the premises they use in their funding proposals. As well, the Free Press is just a really ridiculous newpaper…

Class war and the 226
Sun, November 20, 2005
By PATRICK MALONEY, FREE PRESS REPORTER

[…] But beyond simple inconvenience, the conjoined area codes may also cause broad social complications.

"It's another form of inclusion or exclusion," said Tim Blackmore, a pop culture professor at the University of Western Ontario. "You can refer to a whole band of people by referring to … numbers on the dial, making assumptions on who are members of the community. That's a worrisome thing."

To Blackmore, the concern is simple: A 519 or 226 number could denote broad generalizations — socio-economic, for example — about the person who holds it.

[…] "It encourages people to think about groups in an abstract way that doesn't bear any resemblance to reality," he said. "It (potentially) indicates a newer community as opposed to an older community.

"We hold a myth that Canada or North America is a class-free society. Couldn't be further from the truth."
Gosh! Who would have guessed? Well, if the telecommunications industry is going to start a class war, all I can say is, let the best class win!

5 comments:

Paul said...

Sounds like the boy comes from the 905. Nobody in Canada would ever classify someone according to their area code :)

Mike said...

Dial "S" for Stupid!

Lisa said...

"It's another form of inclusion or exclusion," said Tim Blackmore, a pop culture professor at the University of Western Ontario. "You can refer to a whole band of people by referring to … numbers on the dial, making assumptions on who are members of the community. That's a worrisome thing."

Possessing a uniquely assigned, usually randomly generated telephone number so that people can reach you is a worrisome thing???

Paul said...

"Possessing a uniquely assigned, usually randomly generated telephone number so that people can reach you is a worrisome thing???"

... Except that his fear, apparently, is that it isn't a purely random assignment. Rather, some neighbourhoods may be "tagged" by not being "in the 519". After all, we've all heard of millions of people in the GTA, but outside the Toronto core, whose lives have been destroyed because some pundit referred to "the 905 belt". Not.

As an aside, it appears the 905 is going to be in play in the upcoming federal election. Are those SUV-lovin' blue collar suburban Hockey Dads ready to kick out the Liberals?

MapMaster said...

Isn't that precisely what Sam Trosow and the Urban League of London want to do with their Imagine London project, assign ward numbers to people based on their neighbourhood's socio-economic status? Not that I would expect the Free Press to suggest that their friends at the Urban League would be inciting class consciousness.