Rob Ford's mayoral career considered as a reality TV show - straining suspension of disbelief


If Rob Ford's mayoralty had been a scripted reality show, it would have strained credulity, as this trenchant Marcus Gee column reminds us. Gee rounds up some of Ford's greatest hits -- including a few I'd missed, like Ford's vote against naming a street after Nelson Mandela; his failed bid to distribute 10,000 Easter eggs at a parade where he wasn't welcome, his appointment of disgraced, drug abusing athlete Ben Johnson to his campaign team, and his profane rant against a security guard who denied him entry to a VIP lounge at a hockey game.

You had me on the edge of my bar stool with the police angle. Would they get the goods on Rob and drag him away in cuffs? Now we find out the cops are fighting each other and it looks like he’s home free. Who saw that coming? Still, you guys may be going too far for real this season. The latest episodes stretch our viewers’ willingness to “suspend disbelief” (I think Spielberg said that).

A mayor who votes against naming a street after Nelson Mandela (then says it was a mistake)? I mean, Nelson Mandela! A mayor who claims to be an ordinary Joe – loyal friend of the poor, fearless foe of the elites yada yada – tries to bully his way into an exclusive lounge at a hockey game? Come on. How does your rich boy get off pretending to be real people now?

The bit about the Easter parade was good, sure. He gets banned from the parade and gets stuck with 10,000 Easter eggs. I laughed.

But with the Ben Johnson stuff, you went way over the top. What guy who is in trouble for drug use brings out a guy infamous for using steroids and poses for the cameras with him? It just reminds voters of the whole crack thing in the middle of an election campaign. Here I am, folks, the most notorious Canadian in the world – standing next to the guy who used to be the most notorious Canadian in the world. What real-life person would do that?

The Ford Show is riveting, but soon we’ll stop believing it [Marcus Gee/The Globe and Mail]

(Thanks, Mom!)

(Image: God Emperor Fob Rord I, by Torley, CC-BY-SA)

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  1. Unfortunately that's outside of the power of the city to do. There is, however, a ranked ballot initiative, which might otherwise be titled the, "Never elect Rob Ford again" initiative, because his hope to win is to run up the middle between two or more "best" alternatives, which wouldn't work if people picked a second or third choice.

    All that being said, it's very easy to think of Rob Ford as the worst mayor ever, but during his tenure as mayor how many mayors of Montreal have been arrested for corruption? Mayors take huge bribes from organized crime to illegally award construction contracts that cost cities millions or tens of millions. Rob Ford's criminal contacts are not large or organized enough to help him fudge numbers nearly that large.

    I'm not convinced that Toronto is a worse place for having elected him over his closest contender in the last election (George Smitherman, nicknamed "Furious George" for his temper tantrums and bullying while a provincial minister). Rob Ford had one year to mess things up and then he was sidelined by council. I kind of like council running things and ignoring the mayor. It's, you know, democracy. My worry is that Ford will be re-elected and council will make the mistake of thinking that he now has a "mandate" and they have to listen to him. If he god re-elected and council went right back to the business of ignoring him, it would probably be fine.

  2. Much of it strains belief, but unfortunately voting against naming a street after Mandela is all too believable. Conservative loons have long believed and said that the man was a terrorist (particularly in the US, but doubtless elsewhere as well).

  3. He really is, like, chaotic neutral isn't he?

  4. I doubt very much that the The Trailer Park Boys would campaign for Rob Ford.

    In Halifax, they've been known to go door to door campaigning for local NDP candidates. In character even.

    /yeah, that would be cool to have them show up at your door.

  5. ...do you mean "That hot dog-eating caveman Sam Losco"?

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