Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks: Rosie DiManno

We don't know what the Canadian eqivalent is of the Navy SEALS, but whatever agency trains underwater commandos in the Great White North probably has Rosie DiManno on their payroll. It takes strong lung capacity to read a DiManno column — even silently. Try this typical passage (warning: take a large gulp of air before attempting):

Earlier, already changed into his suit, Lindros had stepped right into the showers, there to have a private word with Tie Domi, who on this evening had been feted for a thousand games in the NHL, his mother, so disapproving of how he played the sport, endlessly worried about her son, finally lured into attending a game, Domi offering his own tender tribute to a father long deceased.

Whew! That was a tough one, and we're exhausted. Sadly however, run-on sentences are not the most egregious of her crimes. Come with us now as we examine the vital statistics of our first Canadian — and first woman, we believe — subject of WYHCS.

Name: Rosie DiManno.
Writes for: The Toronto Star.
Columnist Since: 1989.
Covers: Crime, politics, sports.
Born: Toronto — downtown, Grace Street, to strict Italian immigrant parents.
Nicknames: Rosie Dim; Tokyo Rose; Edith Prickly.
Telling quote: "If I ever run into Lynn Crosbie, I will rake my fingernails across her face."
Most resembles: Rosie O'Donnell.
Too much information: "Rosie: A break, please, from the pining about the latest guy you've failed to bed." [Now Toronto]
Best comment on a message board: "Rosie DiManno? The last time I checked, she was bleating about smoker's rights. She's a knob. Why bother? — RonB [Rabble.Ca]

Here's a great take on DiManno, from the blog Ubuntu: "The Toronto Star, some time ago, ran some house ads with a picture of columnist Rosie DiManno and the caption "The Literary Equivalent of Lemon in your Eye." I disagreed - I always thought her more ham-fisted than acid-tongued - until the day I managed to squeeze lemon juice into my eye for myself. Howling and wincing at the unpleasantness of it all, my first reaction was, they were right! This IS just like reading Rosie DiManno!"

DiManno is a "general assignment" columnist for the Star, which means she's often turned loose on sports — in fact, she has authored a pair of books on the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs and was dispatched to the 2006 Winter Olympics. Best known in Canada as a George W. Bush apologist and anti-environmental shriek-monger, she is also omnipresent on the Canadian sports scene — in fact, she's been there pretty much exclusively over the past two months. DiMatteo has managed to burrow under the skin of beach volleyball enthusiasts, runners, cyclists ... you name a recreational sport, she has probably mocked it. She is combative and writes with a chip on her shoulder. If DiManno makes readers mad, well, at least they're reading. Right? Who cares if she rarely deals in fact, nuance or common decency? Those writing qualities are so passe, anyway.

When it comes DiManno and sports, there's no there there. Take her report on ice dancing from Turin on the night that Italians Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio suffered their fall that resulted in a notorious stare-off. DiManno justifies the money that the Star spent to send her to Italy by telling us that the Italian couple fell, and so did the French couple, and hey, it turns out a lot of skaters fell that night! Oops! You sure couldn't have figured that out by watching NBC!

Rosie DiManno archive [Toronto Star]

(Note: We're taking a break on hometown columnists for a while. A little hiatus.)