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THE DAY THE ROB FORD STORY STOPPED BEING FUNNY
Of the four men in the most famous image of Ford hanging out in the drug house, one is dead, two are out on bail and the other remains the Mayor of Toronto
By Stephen Marche on December 4, 2013
t's been fun, I'm not going to lie. During the past three weeks in Toronto, you've never had to wonder what you're going to talk about at a party. Restaurants have had fun coming up with crack burgers and Ford desserts and other Ford-themed comestibles of all kinds. (To turn any food item "Ford-themed" simply dust it with powdered sugar.) I've already bought myself a "Probably in One of my Drunken Stupors" t-shirts; they were sold out of "I've got more than enough to eat at home." Tomorrow, the front page story of the Star will have the following lede:
Mayor Rob Ford’s habit of doing drugs with gang members led to him being targeted in an apparent extortion plot related to the crack cocaine video and possibly a series of photographs of him in compromising situations, newly released police documents say.
I mean, how much better can the morning paper get? The whole of the Ford story has been pretty damn fascinating. The comedians' take on his story has been extensive and often hilarious. But today, all the comedy came to a sudden end. It's too bad. But I just can't laugh about Rob Ford anymore.
The latest revelations about Rob Ford aren't as overtly scandalous as the ones that came before. They would, of course, have sunk any other elected official in the world, but when a man has admitted to smoking crack and then spoken in public about eating his wife's pussy, he doesn't have a whole lot of shameful surprises left to offer. The new police reports claim that he was doing heroin. So what? At least heroin just makes you nod off. Which is better than this.
Then there was the news that the mayor of the city stayed in a well-known crack house from one in the morning to six, and then went out to a city event to clean up a park where he declared, in a deeply exhausted voice, "A clean city is very important." That would be funny, if he weren't still going around giving speeches like that. Just yesterday he announced the city's annual Christmas toy drive.
The latest revelations from the police are more disturbing than these, by now, pretty established antics on Ford's part. They offer a portrait of the community Ford was hanging out with. The only word to describe this community is "the criminal underworld." I mean, they're young men hanging out, selling crack. They extort. They threaten. Yet I find them infinitely more sympathetic than Ford himself. These are young men from literally the worst place on Earth. When the mayor shows up while they're selling drugs, they do what anyone would do. They take videos and pictures of him. When his minion threatens to "bring the heat," they tell him calmly that they have safety in images. When they see a chance to start a new life out West, they try to take it.
Of the four men in the most famous image of Ford hanging out in the drug house, one is dead, two are out on bail and the other remains the Mayor of Toronto. The time has come to ask: What are the differences between these men? One thing the transcripts make very clear is that Ford was, by far, the least intelligent person in the room at the crack house. He was also one of the least honest and most easily frightened. He was also white and rich.
These last two facts are starting to press in on the Rob Ford story. Why the Police have not arrested the mayor at this point is a matter of some speculation. Is their evidence less than perfect? Are they worried they can't make a charge stick? Or are they waiting to press a more serious crime? I assume that the police chief was as surprised as anybody that the mayor chose not to resign after having the existence of a crack-smoking tape confirmed by the police. But that doesn't alter the truth that we now have a genuine gangster in office. And it also doesn't alter the fact that the police had no problem arresting 44 people, mostly Somali, in Operation Traveller in June.
The reason I can't laugh about Rob Ford anymore is that he has become a threat to the basic assumptions that allow politics to function. If this guy isn't in jail, why bother having police at all? Why not just round up poor people whenever powerful people get the urge? The least we can do, it seem to me, is let everyone currently serving a sentence for drug use out of prison. Otherwise, the whole system is pure hypocrisy. Rob Ford is a threat to the still scared idea of equality under the law. Not even Will Ferrell could make that funny.
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I too am surprised he's still in office. It makes one wonder if he doesn't have something on some higher ups in the police department or in the prosecutor's office that is allowing him to continue in office in addition to not being arrested.
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I liked your comment about berlu
- George Clooney fan forever!
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