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