We’re all meant to be awfully impressed with songwriter Dan Hill’s searing account of this family’s travails at the hands of three black Toronto teens, a siege that went on for years.
Of course, some time within living memory, we’d have all recognized the teens’ behaviour as “trespassing” and excused (even lauded) Hill for eventually going Straw Dogs on their asses, sparing his family and the rest of us any further trouble from these incorrigibles.
Alas, this is Toronto in 2008 and we’re so much more civilized now. Funny, though, I don’t feel very safe on that account. And neither do you. Especially if, like so many Toronto women, you’ve stuck yourself with a Dan Hill of your own: a spindly careerist wet who considers safe “uncolourful” communities a peculiarly “American” (sniff!) fetish, and who prefers spending hours alone in the editing suite or watching tv or playing computer games or — in Hill’s case — listening to music on headphones to exposing his faintly effeminate, still-adolescent self to the unpredictable messiness of mature family life.
At the very end of the story we learn that Dan Hill’s father was one those responsible for bringing us today’s Human Rights Commissions. A fact that, oddly, seems like the perfect coda to this sorry tale of voluntary emasculation and which is, I suppose, an only slightly more egregious offence than having brought us Dan Hill himself.
(UPDATE: “I lived in that neighbourhood…”)