Friday, November 15, 2013

"I guess we can't feel superior to Italy, anymore."

Let’s get the obvious out of the way.

1) I don’t like Rob Ford. I don’t live in Toronto anymore, so I couldn’t vote against the man, but if I could’ve I would’ve.

2) Rob Ford is incredibly likeable. I’m talking “off-the-charts” likeable. Not 24/7, of course. These days it’s all he can do to muster up that level of likeability for three straight hours in a single week. And I’d go further and assert that the burden of proof now lies on the other extreme of the spectrum: he has consistently proven himself a profoundly unlikeable character. But despite all that I don’t doubt for a second that, given the right circumstances, I would find myself coming around and, gosh-darn-it, liking this guy — this guy I would never in a thousand years vote for.

The hard-core “Ford Nation” types liked him right from the git-go, and because of this they will not be swayed — ever. They all possess a singular characteristic that Born Again evangelists learn to recognize very quickly when proselytizing: these nice people will not be moved. They Are Going To Hell and nothing you say will change that, so smile, politely thank them for opening their door to you, wish them a nice day and move on to the next house.

But geez-Louise: everyone in this guy’s inner circle is either quitting, or going to jail, or getting whacked. It’s time to stop liking the guy, and start thinking straight.

So far as I’m concerned the salient talking-points are only secondarily related to his penchant for substance abuse (now entirely in hand, we are assured). When he’s being unlikeable, he’s a bully and a goon who consorts with gangsters in a fashion that is less-than-reformatory. The video that the Star and Sun both ponied up for is disturbing, I think, not because the man is in a drunken rage (with a tad more energy than I typically associate with buckets of alcohol), but because he’s talking rather persuasively about killing someone — to associates who seem rather persuasively able to do something about it.

Even casual observers (and none of us are that, anymore) have to admit the guy has a seriously compromised capacity for judgment. The world learns of a potential “crack smoking tape,” so he knows he’s being watched — and he still escorts his driver in “drop-off” runs? It hardly matters what he’s dropping off, that’s just incredibly stupid.

So now the city council is basically stripping him of whatever residual mayoral powers remain, and I find myself getting bothered by that. The mayor’s powers are pathetic to begin with! For all the Toronto Council virtues that people praise, it is a ridiculously hamstrung chamber at the best of times. For my voting currency, I wish previous mayor David Miller had had a bigger bat to swing during his tenure — he’d have got more done that the Fords could take a swing at (like garbage contracts, for starters). With his friends reduced to a measly five, Ford can’t get anything done in chamber anyway — why not just consider him persona non grata and get on with business as usual?

Actually, it all seems kind of obvious, doesn't it?

Anyway, as has now become the norm, the Neo-Puritans at VICE have done the best job of culling and summarizing the local-now-gone-global news. Read it and weep.

*The heading is a quote from my wife, said this morning, in reference to the apparent undying popularity of Silvio Berlusconi. So yuk it up while you can, Taiwan:

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