King Robbie and his royal pipe.
In case you’ve been dropping in and out of following the ongoing disaster that is Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, here’s a quick review of everything that’s happened over the past nine days:
On November 5, Rob Ford admitted that, oops, he did actually smoke crack cocaine in one of his drunken stupors, an admission that has already become something of Toronto legend. His revelation was, perplexingly, offered for no good reason – considering he had been successfully avoiding copping to the fact he enjoys putting a butane torch to a glass pipe full of crack for almost six months.
A day after the crack and hacker revelations, a video of Rob Ford – in an “extremely inebriated” state – threatening to murder an unknown enemy was published almost simultaneously by the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star. Whether Rob’s joking about committing “first-degree murder” (as he says in the video) or not, it’s a disturbing clip.
On November 7, the Sun ran a story connecting Rob Ford to the beating of his sister’s then-imprisoned ex-boyfriend – who escaped the attack alive with “shattered teeth and a broken leg.” That same day, his mother and sister went on live TV to discuss Rob’s many personal issues, such as his weight problem and his crack problem.
As if having your mum call you fat on live TV in the middle of your public drug/alcohol/hacking/violent crime/who knows what else scandal isn’t shitty enough, Rob took a beating in the press for spending over four hours signing bobbleheads of himself (that only bear a passing resemblance to the overweight crack lover) as a charitable PR stunt on Monday. Just as the bobblehead bonanza blew over, yesterday Rob Ford experienced the wrath of the City Council, who took turns yelling at him about his involvement with drugs and his mysterious association with some of the city’s scariest street gangs. Highlights from the scream-o-rama include Rob Ford confidently admitting that he’s bought illegal drugs in the past two years and Doug Ford yelling about how everyone smokes marijuana. The Globe & Mail has a solid roundup of the council hearing just in case you missed the thrilling livestream.
Later that day, some of the redacted info from the Toronto police’s investigation into Rob Ford came out in public. The new sections include testimonies from ex-staffers who told stories about Rob to the police that paint him as a coked-out, racist lover of prostitutes who refers to cab drivers as “Pakis” and openly talks about “banging” the “pussy” of a particular female employee. In his defense, Rob Ford said on live TV that he has enough pussy to eat at home—Rob Ford loves eating his wife's pussy whenever he is not to drunk or cracked out to pleasure her, your argument is invalid. Rob also claims he is going to sue these staffers who talked shit about him, even if such a lawsuit does not make sound legal sense.
An ordinary person might think that making such a lewd comment about one’s spouse on live TV would be a shitty thing to do – but as his own brother says, “Rob is like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh… You just never know what he is going to say.” Oh, and as if this wasn’t enough, in the past few days Rob has managed to piss off both the Toronto Argonauts and the Santa Claus Parade. Seemingly everyone hates him, but on the other hand Doug and Rob have just accepted a TV deal with Sun News Network (the same media giant that owns the Toronto Sun, a paper that, all of a sudden, hates Rob Ford) to make some kind of Ford Brothers show. While I hope it includes a game show segment where people can arm-wrestle Rob Ford for his job, I presume it will just be a cheap, televised version of their ill-fated radio show.
Let me remind you again that all of the above happened within the past nine days, in real life, to the mayor of Canada’s largest city. Outside of this horrifying nine-day stretch remains the very real question of whether or not Rob Ford had anything to do with the murder of Anthony Smith – Mark Towhey, Rob’s former chief of staff, seems to think that Smith’s murder and the crack tape are related. For whatever reason, this side of the story seems to be getting very little attention in the wake of Rob’s oral sex comments and his no-big-deal-I-smoked-a-lil-crack approach to the scandal. While Rob almost instantly apologized for talking about going down on his wife in front of live TV cameras (he claims to now be seeking the help of medical professionals) each little misstep that piles onto the heap of crap that is Rob Ford’s term as mayor is clearly distracting the public from the real issues at hand.
For example, yesterday Rob Ford bragged that “the top criminal lawyer in Canada” represents him. Why, may I ask, does the mayor of Toronto need a criminal lawyer who has represented him for years now? It seems incredibly inappropriate and yet, this is where the city of Toronto is in 2013. If this were Gotham, Batman would be having a fucking conniption. And yet we just keep rolling along, waiting for the next video, praying for the day the crack tape shows up in our Facebook news feed.
Rob Ford has a remarkable ability to escape the consequences of actions that would have landed anyone else in jail or in a halfway house far away from the halls of power. There's so much noise from the media, and people are so exhausted from the mayor's repeated, half-comical failings, that the public doesn't seem quite outraged enough about this mess. With so many political, personal, and social disasters stacked on top of each other it seems like a surreal joke: “Oh, he made a joke about eating out his wife on live TV? Oh, he admitted to smoking crack cocaine? Oh, he’s connected to a jailhouse beating? Oh, now he’s signing bobbleheads? What?”
How are people expected to process all of this without tuning out completely? If you feel overloaded with the failings of Rob Ford, you are not alone, and I would like to take the liberty of diagnosing you—through your computer and/or smartphone screen – as being a victim of Ford fatigue. Rob Ford is such an obviously awful guy who spends his days grabbing butts and bragging about tongue-fucking his wife and doing drugs and ordering all kinds of shady activities (allegedly, whatever), that it is wearing everyone out. Meanwhile, the province and the City Council both seem completely impotent when it comes to ousting this godawful mayor – so it seems as if Toronto is going to be stuck inside of Ford’s freaky crack carnival for at least 11 more months.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @patrickmcguire