A Rob Ford mystery for the truest detectives - Macleans.ca

A Rob Ford mystery for the truest detectives

In which Rust and Marty contemplate the paradox of Toronto’s mayor

Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Rust and Marty, the cops played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson on the hit TV show True Detective, drive along the lakeshore in Toronto. Marty breaks a long silence.

Marty: You watch the game last night?

Rust (lost in thought): What?

Marty: The hockey game. The Leafs. They’re playing pretty well—this could be their year, you know? Vindication after last season’s meltdown.

Rust stares off into the near distance.

Rust: Someone once told me that time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re going to do over and over. The Leafs collapsed last year—they will collapse again and again. Forever. Their futility is eternal.

Marty: I’m starting to see why they don’t let you call in to sports radio anymore. What’s your problem, anyway?

Rust flips through his oversized notebook.

Rust: I just don’t get it, Marty. How can it be? How can it be that Rob Ford still has such high approval ratings?

Marty: This again? Dammit, Rust, I’m telling you: If you were drowning, I’d throw you a barbell. Tied to an anvil. Which itself was tied to a piano. Get it through your head, OK? Ford appeals to people. He’s a good mayor.

Rust: In our known universe, Marty, there are 11 theorized dimensions of space-time. And in none of them is Rob Ford a good mayor.

Marty turns on the radio. Rust turns it off. He stares off into the middle distance.

Rust: Someone once told me that politics—(he crushes a Tim Hortons cup between his palms)—is a flat circle.

Marty: Again with the circles. Do me a favour and find a friend who compares things to cylinders or maybe a parallelogram. Just for variety’s sake.

Rust: Everyone we’ve ever voted for, we’re going to vote for over and over. Rob Ford is the mayor, and he always will be the mayor, again and again. We’re trapped in a nightmare we keep waking up into. And every single time we open our eyes, the mayor is finding a new way to lie, a new way to offend, a new way to tweet photos of himself constantly exercising yet never seeming to lose a pound.

There is a pause.

Marty: Sorry, I stopped listening. I was thinking about the YouTube video of Ford walking nuts-first into that fire hydrant. Pow! Love that guy.

Rust (ignoring him): It’s like, in this city, we process our municipal government as merely dysfunctional. But from an outside vantage, could we attain it, we’d see that we are punchlines to the universe. Furthermore, we’d be able to perceive that Rob Ford is on an unsustainable, self-destructive course—and that, whether we support him or ridicule him, we are in equal measure his enablers. Doug Ford and Jimmy Kimmel are one and the same. We are the monsters at the end of our own dream.

Marty (scanning the dashboard): They have them in the movies, but there’s never an eject button when you need one.

Rust stares off into the distant distance.

Rust: Rob Ford’s continued popularity is the greatest of all mysteries. Given all we know, all we’ve seen, given all he’s done, why would anyone still support him?

Marty pulls over and turns off the ignition. He turns and looks directly at his partner.

Marty: The people who support Ford, the ones who’ll vote for him again—most don’t think he’s smart. They don’t think he’s a good mayor or even a good man. They wouldn’t trust Ford to make them an Orange Julius at the mall.

But regular people—they don’t like the higher-ups of the world telling them what to do. They get that all day in their jobs. You intellectuals on your high horses: You say he’s bad for us, a buffoon and whatnot. We don’t like being told what to think of folks. Didn’t like it when we were children. Don’t like it now. It’s the rebel impulse. And it’s pretty much the only kind of rebellion we can still get away with.

Rust: So you’re saying the only way to solve the mystery of Ford…is to ignore Ford? That’s a paradox, Marty.

Marty: I don’t understand your $10 words, Rust, but how about Mexican for lunch? Someone told me a tortilla is a flat circle…

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