Thursday, June 04, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

What a Joke the Mainstream Media has Become.

The Province in their latest Operation Phoenix story (articles on the Downtown Eastside of which they are hoping to receive an award) names a pretty white girl Actress from North Van as an unsung hero/guardian angel of the Downtown Eastside simply because she started paid work making beds and sweeping floors in December at Gregor Robertson's Shelter.

So in six months what has qualified this pretty lady as some hero? Is it because she is a beautiful actress?

In actual fact, the story and unsung hero tag comes across as very condescending toward the people who call this neighborhood home. The story projects the actress as beautiful and the people are not and lucky them for getting someone like Ms Agosti.

The story also implies that Ms Agosti is somehow better than the community. Moreover, her work sweeping floors or making beds in the shelter hasn't changed anyone's life. What has she accomplished in six months working here? Has the neighborhood drastically changed for the better?

If I were Ms Agosti I would be ashamed of the Province piece. It is really pathetic.

Park Commissioner Sarah Blyth who works with Ms Agosti actually had the nerve to tout this story on Facebook as somehow newsworthy. This is even more pathetic considering it comes from an elected official who obviously can see the despair in the neighborhood and someone who has been in paid employment sweeping floors and making beds is hardly deserving of hero status.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 10:54 AM, Blogger Drina Read said...

I'm sure the actress is a nice, caring person, but there's lots of nice caring people living on the street and they don't get a break. The shelters are a joke. I have talked to tons of people in downtown Vancouver and they say that Gregor's new shelters are dangerous. You risk being beaten up and robbed in these shelters when the lights go out. How safe is that?

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are missing the point of the article.
The paper is not saying that there aren't other people that deserve awards. The paper is not saying that the shelter are the answer to homelessness. The paper is just saying that there is someone out there that don't mind breaking a sweat to try her best to make life more positive.
If you don't do anything, nothing gets done. That's all there is to it, Lady.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger page turner said...

It's interesting and telling that the "Someone" out there willing to break a sweat, only one of hundreds, (many more are unpaid residents of the community)is a pretty, very thin, young professional working in media(tv and film) already. And calls her clients "those people".

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Well said Page!

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hero??? because she has paid work taking care of "those people" while there are so many UNPAID volunteers working their hearts out. I find it very telling that she states "those people even ask for her autograph...I'm sure she is a nice caring person....but a Hero, I don't think so. What kind of qualifications does she have that would merit a paid position rather than volunteer position with "those people" I find that term so offensive!

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really sick of the "Great White Hope" message the media has been feasting on during the last several years r.e. the DTES. - whether it's David Eby - the HEAT team member who had one profitable flip and one flopped flip in Strathcona at the height of the RE bubble, or the "beautiful little white girls" featured in the Hope in the Shadows calendar who just happen to be the offspring of Abbotsford Bible-belters. All I keep hearing is how "David Eby is the NICEST guy." THE NICEST. People, nice guys don't flip real estate in the DTES. My point is, beware of the media-appointed "gleaming white" saviours of the DTES(I'm caucasian, for the record).

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Hubble said...

I live in London, Ont but love to visit Vancouver especially Oldtown.
Jamie Lee is Right ON. Love her site. One question, is there a hint of discrimination in "White Girl' article?

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Hi Hubble

I use 'White Girl Actress' to point out a glarng fact. If this individual had not been beautiful, young, white, an actress and from the middle-class enclave of the North Shore would she after only being in paid employment for six months at this shelter been befitting of the 'unsung hero' and 'guardian angel' accolade instigated by her co-workers (one who is an elected public official) and annointed this title by the Province paper?

For contrast would an Aboriginal women perhaps a single Mother who lives in Oldtown/Downtown Eastside, maybe missing a few teeth and working in say the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre-- would she have been awarded this same honour?

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Hubble said...

oic and I agree. Now I'll read 'The Province'in future as well.
I surmise,-if this actress is a hero then how much more of a hero is Jamie Lee for standing up for the downtrodden!!!
Note: I went to Cuba and wanted to visit the place where the 'real' people live. Forget North anything.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Hubble said...

Ok, I have read the article in "The Province' and was wondering the same thing as a commentator: "Also, what are her mental health work qualifications?"


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