Rob Ford: simply unforgettable

Emma Teitel on the loss of her muse


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford watches from the sidelines near the Argos bench during a CFL football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders in Calgary on Aug. 18, 2012.(Larry MacDougal/CP)

The Toronto Sun said it best:

“Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been punted from office, just days short of celebrating his second anniversary of being sworn in.”

Punted from office. What a way to go.

And what a tragedy.

I don’t really like Rob Ford. In fact I don’t like him at all. But I can’t deny that these are sad days for civic engagement. Not only is it becoming increasingly hard to identify any trace of integrity in our politicians, but–as Scott Feschuk points out— it’s nearly impossible to identity them at all. Say what you like about the guy, Rob Ford is easy to identify. And unlike this guy, everyone in Toronto, yes–even the most apathetic teenager, and the immigrant who arrived an hour ago–could pick him out of a lineup or catch him reading behind the wheel (doesn’t he get points for reading at all??)

Rob Ford is simply unforgettable.

Sure, he is mildly corrupt and mega boorish, but he made a statement. He gave us something to talk about, something to laugh about and deride together ( it’s also a sad day for civic unity). And boy could he move. Would it be better if Toronto had a mayor who wasn’t “punted” out of office? A mayor we could be proud of, someone with honour and respect and transparency and all those great things–someone who loves gays and bikes and gays on bikes, and gives heartfelt riveting speeches at City Hall? Of course.

But in the absence of charisma, I’ll take the fool.

And I doubt I’m alone. If you’re from Toronto, can you honestly say that you didn’t watch Ford’s eternal blunders and utter lack of remorse with a kind of private glee, especially when he was being challenged by the likes of Peggy Atwood and the allegedly famous “Marge,” or hipster bureaucrats who went on and on about Toronto’s failed standing as a “world class city.” (I’m sorry but what isn’t world class about a monorail?)

The Toronto Star is also probably reeling right now from the loss of Ford, an editorial gift that keeps on giving. I know I am. He’s the reason, after all, that I have a job. This is the first column I ever wrote. It made me, much like Ford, a pariah among gay activists. But it got me noticed, and from that day forward if ever I ran out of ideas, I would fall back–as every Toronto- based columnist has for the past two years–on Rob Ford. That’s why I’m being so generous right now. You see, to you Rob Ford may be nothing more than an intellectually challenged brute with high cholesterol, but to me he is a never-ending wealth of material.

Rob Ford is my muse.

And unless he runs for mayor again, I’ll have to find another one.

Please join me in one last tribute to the “punted” Toronto mayor. May we remember him at his very best:

Raw Gatorade Shower



Rob Ford: simply unforgettable

  1. Don’t worry, you won’t get the chance to forget about him. He’ll either never go, or he’ll be back due to popular demand.

    So enjoy your pre-mature “last” tribute. It may be the last chance you get to. Everyone just loves to laugh and make fun of the guy. Toronto is lucky to have someone so self-less and good natured as Rob Ford. It’s sad to see so many “tongue-in-cheek” articles attempting to mock him.

    The guy doesn’t deserve all this absolutely harsh and down-right mean hatred thrown his way, but thankfully his good nature allows him to shine through all this and despite all the protestations and mockeries thrown at him, this great man will continue to govern this great city, thanks to it’s great people.

    In other words: think for yourself, don’t “pile on” because you perceive it as the “cool” thing to do, to get one more cheap laugh for yourself and your hate-filled allies. These are the exact type of articles one would expect from high school students who have yet to grow up and learn better.

    But you have no excuse. Don’t “pile on” to get that one more laugh. It’s just bad character and I hope you pause to reflect that your actions are merely the same as the uncool kid joining the bullies to get that one cheap shot at “bully power”.

    • Personally, I believe 100% that Ford is a good guy one-on-one. I just think he’s a terrible mayor, and his single-minded obsession with following his own rules instead of the actual rules has morbidly hilarious results. His term as mayor has been one long “man hit in groin with football”. I’m sympathetic to his pain, but I’m laughing despite myself.

      And really the only reason I allow myself that laugh is that he’s invited every single thing onto himself. Every last one of his gaffes and blunders has been easily avoidable.

  2. “He gave us something to talk about, something to laugh about and deride together”

    I just wanted to add. Ford hasn’t done anything that I’ve laughed or derided him about. I think he’s doing a fantastic job despite the council and bureaucracy doing everything in their power to stop him. So when you use the word “us” it does you no favours. I am not part of your “us.” I am part of Ford Nation, and a proud member at that. Your hatred and vile attempts at mockery and insulting him do nothing but show your contempt.

    That doesn’t need to be your true nature. You don’t need to be someone who finds value in mockery and deriding others. You don’t need to join in the chorus of boos, of false smiles, of false laughter, of true fear of what you haven’t taken the time to understand.

    So that all being said I won’t presume to know your response, but I will say you have two options: 1) read my comments, understand them, and truly consider them. Ask yourself “why do so many people hate Ford?” Ask yourself are your “enemies” truly evil? Ask yourself if you may indeed be wrong. or 2) continue on as you are.

    The choice is yours.

    • I’m a part of her “us”, and we’re only laughing because he keeps making himself a target.

  3. Canada seems to have a lack of great mayors these days, and certainly Rob Ford has pulled enough ridiculous stunts to be excluded from that group if there were one. Whomever they are, they certainly have one thing in common – they just don’t do the stupid shit that Rob Ford has so consistently allowed himself to be in the centre of. No matter how the cheese is cut here, he brought himself down. Although I voted for him because I fully agree that the “stubborn sense of entitlement” has to be eradicated, I cannot stand with him in this debacle. His arrogance, disdain and mis-placed personal priorities have embarrassed the citizens of Toronto for the last time, and we are better off to be rid of him. At the same time – if a conflict of interest based on the solicitation of a $3,000 donation to help kids can cost him his job, how can McGuinty avoid legal censure after what he and his cronies did with hundreds of millions of our money?

  4. Rob Ford’s mayoral campaign attracted a lot of first time voters who mistook Rob’s unpolished speeches and frequent blunders as a sign that he was an honest regular Joe who would stick up for the little guy. The more perceptive of these voters has figured out that those campaign promising tax cuts and no service cuts paid for by billions in ‘gravy’ cutting was as much a hoax as claims of subways that won’t cost a public cent and transparent government.

    Rather than being suspicious of candidates whose promises don’t pass the smell test, I suspect many will take the easy way out by calling all politicians liars and giving up on politics. As for the electorate that still buys Ford’s excuse that it’s all a vast conspiracy stop the guy that wants to kill the gravy train – the eventual awakening will be painful.

  5. if it is true that mayors exist merely as a lightning rod for urban malaise, and to be trolled by the public at large, than isn’t Rob Ford he greatest mayor of all time?

  6. Yes its very sad that rob ford won’t be around to amuse you anymore. After all, its much more important that he give you something to chuckle about than that he serve his constituents.
    What’s really sad is that this circus will continue over the course of this appeal. Its time for Toronto to move on. We made a mistake as voters but the courts have let us off the hook thank god.

  7. Emma isn’t a mean girl with a contemptuous nature. “Ryan”, just who do you think you are? Her dark humour and inventive way of presenting current affairs keep me engaged. Her well informed opinions never fail to provoke lively discussion.

    I can’t name very many 23 year olds who get paid for their writing. If you were a columnist with an opinion piece due each week, you would recognize Rob Ford as a driving force behind job creation. She’s lucky that Rob Ford rolled into her life. We should all take advantage of opportunities that come our way.

    One more thing … if you think this whole “muse” thing is a joke, it’s not. I can vouch for her on this one: she has a beautiful painting of Rob Ford hanging in her apartment. It lights up the room.