“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better”.
– George Orwell (Politics and the English Language)
I first encountered MTL Blog scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook one day. I remember thinking how innovative it was, and how I loved to read their content. I mean I couldn’t relate to every single post, but being born and raised in Montreal made it easy. I loved reading about my city and seeing my favourite spots being featured on the page! I remember wanting to be a part of it more than you could imagine, and this was when things went sour.
I decided to write to MTL Blog and inquire about how I could be a part of the MTL Blog family (if it was even possible for a young inexperienced writer like me). I wasn’t even expecting a response, and that’s when I received one. The individual representing MTL Blog (who shall remain nameless) offered to “try me out” and see if I was “what they were looking for”. I was presented with the task of writing a 10-item list about the homeless in Montreal. It was then that I thought to myself that this would be easy and that it would take no time at all. It was when I finally sat down to do some writing that I realized how ridiculous of a topic this would be, and asked myself why anyone would want to turn the homeless in Montreal into a spectacle. So I kept it light and tried to shine a positive light on the topic, and thought I had done just that.
A week later, I received a response and it was exactly what I had been hoping for! The individual informed me that the article was great and that they were sending it to their editor right away. That was the last I ever heard from MTL Blog, and at the time I was discouraged and disappointed but I when I look back on it today, I must thank them!
As time went on, I let go of the anger towards them; perhaps I just wasn’t what they were looking for. As the years went on, MTL Blog began to create some serious traffic, and they were just about everywhere on Facebook. A friend of mine even went as far as to do an interview for them, but when it came time to see the interview it just wasn’t what they “were looking for”. That should be their slogan “come work for us at MTL Blog, we’ll waste your time AND not pay you!”
It was downhill from there, and it was here that I started to see MTL Blog change drastically. The first big change I began to see was less writing, and more photos. Now, this works if you are running a photo blog, but if I want to see pictures of Montreal all I have to do is walk outside. So that didn’t work for them, as I’m sure they realized that the traffic they had worked so hard to get was beginning to dwindle. So they turned to food, because really, who can screw up talking about food. This worked for them, and the response was a positive one and we were all excited to see our favourite restaurants getting all the praise. Just when things were looking up for MTL Blog, things went completely wrong. They had been exposed for only promoting restaurants that were paying to be there! If you kept up with MTL Blog over the years, this was when their reputation really took a hit. So basically all of the articles that featured Montreal’s Top 10 Sushi Restaurants were actually Montreal’s Top Ten Sushi Restaurants willing to pay for a silly little title.
Slowly losing credibility, they needed to think fast as they were at high risk of losing creditability all together. You know how they say sex sells? Well so does bullshit, and at a high price too. This was when things started to get really silly, and MTL Blog became Montreal’s biggest joke. First of all, the quality of writing had diminished significantly, and if that wasn’t enough they were running out of ideas too. If there was a synonym for MTL Blog it would be desperation, because no well-educated individual would even think to write about the things they were spewing out. They had caught a bad case of verbal diarrhea and everyone at the office was catching it.
I had a really hard time believing that someone was editing these “articles” and having an even harder time understanding how someone could even post them, let alone take the credit for it. You would think that people are smart and have morals, but it turns out it’s a requirement at MTL Blog to be free of these qualities and just say whatever comes to mind! Hey, they should let me write their mission statement.
“Here at MTL Blog we pride ourselves in behaving with lack of good sense and judgment. It is our goal to spread stupidity throughout our city, and bring together useless information to help you fill your brain with nonsense. We take the time to write articles that really have no relevance to anything in life, but hey we’re making money so who cares. Here at MTL Blog we welcome you with open arms, and hope that you and friends can stoop as low as we do. It is important to our brand that we promote horrible ways to live and treat people, as well as how to diminish your quality of living. We promise that by the end of the day you will want to scratch your eyes out and wish that you had never been born, because our articles do just that! Our articles are most important to us as they represent the morals we just weren’t raised with! Welcome to MTL blog, where everything irrelevant calls home!”
So it is here that I send a message to all of the people who were ever rejected by MTL Blog, don’t feel bad you just weren’t shitty enough. Don’t think for one minute that it’s okay to cheat on your boyfriend or that being in a certain program will make you rich. Last time I checked, hard work and dedication was the recipe for success and that hurting your significant other was never okay. I don’t see how they are qualified to tell you that you need to move out of Montreal to get a good job. Isn’t the name of your organization MTL Blog? Isn’t it a huge contradiction to write an article that’s title suggests moving out of the city? How is this bringing us together? How is this promoting the city we all know and love? Speaking of contradictions, some articles suggest dating crazy cat ladies and others suggest steering clear. One article’s sole focus was naming the type of girls men should stay away from, if you can manage to read through it, they basically describe every girl in the world.
I just don’t understand how people can support and accept that this is what some would call “journalism”. It’s a disgrace, and honestly I’m embarrassed that these are the people attempting to represent our city. Because writing about places to volunteer, or donate clothing is just not “what they are looking for”. It saddens me that people still read these articles when the authors are guilty of shaming people, and writing the most ridiculous opinions about things nobody cares about at all. They completely miss the mark when trying to represent Montreal, and if I was from another city or country reading these articles it wouldn’t be the first place I’d want to visit. It’s only going to get worse, and it really makes me sad to think that young girls and boys who don’t know any better are filling their growing minds with things that can only bring them down.
With that said, writing is all about spreading a message or telling a story. Having a voice in a community as strong as this one requires knowledge and morals, something MTL Blog is seriously lacking. I hope as you read this that you find it in yourself to know when someone is just trying to make money or if they are trying to make a difference. Instead of bringing Montreal up, they are just putting us down. They are making us out to be shallow, partygoers who have nothing else better to do than watch porn and eat poutine. I’ve had enough, and I know I am not the only one. So next time you are confronted with an article written by MTL Blog, just don’t do it. These are the people making money off of us and giving us a bad name, it’s time for some change.