Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Bibliophilia: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story – Robyn Doolittle

Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story – Robyn Doolittle  
In case you haven’t heard, the mayor of Toronto has a substance abuse issue. Okay, many issues.

I’m an avid CBC radio listener and was transfixed by all the revelations as they unfolded. But reading them all again in one place brought into stark relief what an abysmal mayor the Ford brothers are. 

The verbal gaffes, the inarticulate buffoonery, the frat boy antics, the uncultured stupidity, the cringe inducing oafishness - those were a mere pre-amble to the train wreck to come. 

I get that if a city is ¾ of a billion in the hole, and public service unions keep blithely demanding more in the midst of a recession, many taxpayers will be very resentful that they are regarded as a bottomless money pit. But weren’t there any better options for a fiscally conservative candidate? I was crestfallen that John Tory didn’t run. Not that I necessarily agree with his every stance, but he is at least an articulate statesman. He inspires some confidence. 

In all this, the largest source of contention for many was the block headed brother of the mayor. Speaking for him, showing up at functions in his place, and then enabling his actions.

“Robbie just likes to have a couple of pops in the basement.” Uhhh...no Dougie. Robbie takes an Oxycontin, then proceeds to get completely blottoed drunk, snorts rails of coke, drives in that state, goes and hangs out at a place where gang members involved in public gun battles hang out, and then smokes crack with them. And/or goes out in public in that state. No, you entitled enabler, Robbie doesn’t have a “couple of ‘pops’.” Robbie is the mayor of the sixth largest government in the country, and acts in a way that would get you fired from every job if you behaved that way. He knew he was lying when he said that.

And to then malign the police and their chief, calling into question their integrity - when the chief revealed they had the video - just beggars belief.

They seem to be the perfect storm of hubris, arrogance and entitlement.

I think the Ford brothers already have, or are very near to that realm of the unforgiveable, on par with Lance Armstrong. People make mistakes. With contrition for an honest mistake, atonement is possible. The addiction could be forgiven. But to lie about it at length, endlessly deny, and then worst of all impugn the character of your critics and attack them legally - that enters into territory one shouldn’t come back from.

A good book about a bad mayor. I found it an engrossing read, despite knowing a lot of the details already. I got a lot out of the glimpse at modern newspaper publishing and the spirited defence the author gives of the profession and the efforts to tell this important story.

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