Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ford More Tears

Happy New Year, dear reader. It is 2014: year of the horse, the 100th  anniversary of the start of WWI, 75th anniversary of the stirrings of WWII, the year Canadian Forces pull out of Afghanistan and, most monumental of all, the municipal election year in Toronto.

Ah, Toronto, city of tempered glass, concrete, steel, and a subway system that hasn't changed since Charles Nelson Reilly appeared as uptight Claymore Gregg on the television series The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. Money is being invested in infrastructure, apparently. I think we’re getting a new swing set for a park. This is my adopted city, one that has been good to me. What’s been extra good to me in recent memory is our mayor, Rob Ford.

People have asked me (okay, maybe not) “why haven’t you commented on Mayor Rob Ford?”  I believe the expression is “gilding the lily”. Why tamper with comedy perfection? Mr. Ford has been a gift from the comedy gods. I have always held that Toronto proved its exceeding progressiveness by having elected the world’s first developmentally delayed politician. Perhaps in 2014, the City should consider imposing an IQ minimum for candidates, like those height requirements needed to board certain amusement park rides – you have to be this smart to run for mayor.

Now Mayor Ford is in the running again for re-election. He has called his campaign “Ford More Years”. Dan, my paramour and live-in caregiver (he makes a mean pancake) on hearing the news, immediately quipped “Ford More Tears”.  Being the comedian in the family, I put my spin on it with Ford More Gears, Ford More Beers, Ford No Hears etc. But Dan was first out of the gate and, I admit it, captured the exasperation of sentient beings everywhere with Mr. Ford, his antics, Ford Nation, and the dumb and dumber team of Rob and Doug.

Thing is – Dumb and Dumber is one of my favourite comedies. Rob and Doug Ford make for great entertainment. Too bad Rob Ford is the actual mayor of Toronto. I would vote for him in a second if everyone agreed to let him run amok for the cameras, to let him exist only on television and in opinion pieces and blogs. He’s way more fun than Mark Grimes (who?) or Gloria Lindsay Luby (who?). Rob Ford has put Toronto on the map. Sure, people say he’s disgraced the city and has sullied its reputation, but is that all bad? We’re on the map! Come see our new aquarium!

This is when my Gemini nature really emerges. My 100% whole grain side says “Rob Ford shouldn't be allowed to vote, never mind run for office”, while my frosted sugary side says “Yo, smoke a fatty, fatty, and mow Pam McConnell down one more time.”

In the book Amusing Ourselves To Death (published in 1985) Neil Postman theorized that television sacrifices quality of information in favour of feeding the insatiable needs of entertainment. In 2014, this is not only true, it is an industry, a lifeblood.

We are all complicit in the creation of Rob Ford, as critics, citizens and consumers.  He is the lightening rod for our civilization and its discontent. So hello 2014,  bonne annĂ©e, Kung Hei Fat Choy, and Insha'Allah, we’ll stay sentient, sense of humour intact.