Rob Ford is worm food, and with his corpulence his corpse will be feeding worms to the Second Coming. Cakers this week went all-out in their worship of a guy who smoked crack in office. Because Marion Barry was totally the shit, right?
Yeah. AmeriKKKa had a mayor like this too (and in Washington, DC no less) – one who voted against gay rights, did drugs, had most of his power stripped by regional authority (in Toronto, Queen’s Park did it; in Washington, the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, which is I think Congress), and generally was known more for panache than thinking skills.
But here’s where some comparisons stop. See, Barry was a scientist – he actually trained as an organic chemist (the more you know, I guess) and scored his Masters in the field. His turn to politics came after his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, he left academia because as a doctoral student he was forbidden from tutoring white kids. Now, Marion has a checkered legacy that I as an outsider dare not cast judgement upon, but from his background Barry seems to be a genuinely intelligent man who had clear reasons to take up politics. How well that went isn’t for me to judge, but it’s miles above Rob Ford’s story.
Rob Ford was the son of a caker businessman named Doug Ford. Doug Senior was a crazy fucking goat of a man who kept money hidden in a tin hidden within a wall and upon losing track of said tin forced his children to take lie detector tests. In typical caker fashion he drove his partner out of their shared business and thus was born Deco Labels and Tags, a caker business caking it up with the best of them. From this we get the latest bundle of Ford fuck-ups – suburban wealth with awesome business-crashing powers and the kind of impulsiveness associated with drugged-out…oh, right.
The Ford family is fucking weird, and I could write an entire post simply linking to weird shit I’ve found while looking for a reason to believe that Ford came to politics for the right reasons. Instead, what I found was an angry Daddy’s boy who could never be bothered to read reports about issues and who ran from a meeting to slap magnets on cars. He thought improving walkability constituted a “war on cars“, tried to use caker nationalism to justify needlessly riling the nu-left, and provided a shocking interpretation of the Jamaican accent. Ford, in short, planned as well as most Canadians do and was as much a caker as any. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree on this one, folks.
How do you bury a man who loved being angry but hated learning anything about the source of his anger or planning?An alcoholic, drug-addled mess of a Mayor who made Toronto the laughingstock of the world, set transit back decades, and prioritzed minor tweaks over major repairs because he lacked the patience and foresight to do anything else?
Obviously, losing someone who doesn’t plan is a tragedy for Canada, a country that relies on not-planning because reasons, so cakers predictably went fucking nuts. Rob Ford is the Mayor of Heaven now, which presumably means that the chorus of angels will now have to cross a 70-lane superfreeway to get to practice. His brother valiantly held the torch of the “ME ANGRY GRRR” movement that Rob started.
Even Mike Harris, who should know better than to appear in public in Ontario (Dalton “Guilty” McGuinty fled to America because that’s what anyone with the money to does) came aboard to tell us what truly motivated Rob. I doubt it was struggles with racism on campus and the very real fear of getting drafted that Barry endured. So shoot, Mike – what was Robbie’s calling?
[T]hose who are most successful at it never let politics change who they were in the first place. This was certainly true for Rob. He came into politics with a strong sense of putting the people he represented first.
…Right. Putting the people first. Harris continued to proudly proclaim that poor kids got sports equipment thanks to Rob. They can’t get anywhere because Toronto transit is a joke and car-centric design is dangerous for humans, let alone kids, but ah fuck it, right? Typical caker prioritizing – why do something useful when you can do something cheap? “Putting the people first” is fine until you realize that “the people” aren’t exactly filled with foresight or expertise, least of all Canadians and the very least of that least the GTA, the wood splinters at the bottom of the barrel of caker mediocrity.
But what’s really precious about this is the staggering amount of love poured into this guy by suburban cakers and the whispers of conspiracy that developed whenever this guy revealed his idiocy, which was always. Yeah, he didn’t achieve anything – but he made Toronto interesting so it’s all good! America is laughing at us as they watch our city spiral out of control but at least they’re watching!! Lookit meeee! He fought against unions that contributed to a decent working culture in Toronto because he really cared about the people!! Presumably not the ones getting the shit end of the stick but those guys are losers and conspirators against the Great Ford Nation.
And oh, the conspiracies. The media was out to get Ford by reporting on a guy who made the world about himself and thus should have known that he’d attract attention from profit-seeking news agencies. The police were conspiring against Ford’s driver by following the law and arresting people who break the law. Fucking Martians were probably in on it too. Interestingly enough, the cabal-forming, fuck-ethics-make-money stylings of the caker business class that the Fords come from wasn’t a part of the make-believe conspiracies.
What’s even worse is that people clearly like this “show-up-and-fiddle” method of government. In a way Ford and Trudeau share a lineage – hell, Ford and #RealChange were taking selfies at Jim Flaherty’s funeral. Justin is hardly leaning on the same hard-drinking hoo-rah football marketing campaign that Ford used but they come from the same silver-spoon Laurentian stock and employ personal mythologies (Ford as “man of the people” and Trudeau as “bringing Canada back”) and the appearance of doing things as a way to justify using their offices to boost themselves. This is what passes for politics in Canada, folks.
When both the “left” and the “right” of the country (I put those in quotes because either implies thinking and neither Ford nor Trudeau are known for their skills in that regard) believe in the same manner of governing something went very, very wrong. In Washington Mr. Barry may have had a similar trajectory to Mr. Ford but at the very least Marion was motivated by reasons beyond himself and demonstrated academic acumen. He didn’t look like a trainwreck from the start.
By contrast Ford was a typical son of caker oligarchy, with more feels than sense and a political job to fall into (Daddy was an MPP) bestowed by endless finances and a family name. His legacy is the kind of idiotic populism, a vision of the soft aristocracy that dominates Canada today and will for the forseeable future with #RealChange in Ottawa. As long as Canada encourages this type of look-at-me politics it will never have the honesty or foresight to do much of anything except continue trying to draw attention with props and stunts.