August 2, 2014
August 1, 2014
Standard Interviews: Matt Gregoris of Brock Sandwich
Meet Kind Exchange, Toronto’s trendy big sister
July 31, 2014
Provincial government shows off proposed $100-million Ontario Place transformation
Do Make Say Think, August 1-3
Standard Interviews: Robin Molloy of Descendants Beer and Beverage Co
Rob Ford and the Banality of Excess
Michael Kolberg: "Watching Rob Ford in office is like unlimited access to free Internet porn"

Image: flickr

Watching politics is fun. Just ask Jon Stewart or Rick Mercer. There are winners and losers. Watching politics is almost like watching sports but the real life consequences make it even more exciting.

Rob “The Polarizer” Ford has turned city council into a spectator sport in Toronto. Rogers TV’s online feed of city council meetings has been drawing more eyeballs. The mayor’s hi-jinx has provided city hall watchers with an endless stream of drama, comedy, and tragedy — in a word — entertainment. But the same old song and dance isn’t doing it for me anymore.

In one week Mayor Rob Ford has threatened to beat up a pesky reporter, celebrated World Press Freedom Day by refusing to take questions from reporters and again snubbed the LGBQT community by declining to attend a flag raising ceremony. Plus, the supposed agenda setter can barely rally five votes in council for something as un-sexy as zoning and planning policy reform. Under different circumstances, any one of these events might be worthy of hysterical headlines, resignation demands or lame-duck prognoses. But under Ford at this point it’s all just par for the course. The gaffes are starting to blur together.

Watching Rob Ford in office is like watching the hit Indonesian action flick The Raid: Redemption. Each sequence is an unbelievable, jaw-dropping display; you didn’t realize a person could do that. But the hits come so hard and so often that by the time you’re half-way through, you’re yawning, glancing at the exit asking, “Are we done yet?” Call it the banality of excess. Rob Ford is 500 channels with nothing on. Rob Ford is late night YouTube surfing. Rob Ford is unlimited access to free Internet porn.

Mayor Ford’s stubborn refusal to compromise with his city council opponents — whether principled or pig-headed – means debating the facts is futile. The mayor cannot be persuaded. The result is that the focal point of any political debate becomes, “Do you like Rob Ford?”  This makes for a lousy debate because everybody knows their answer by now.

Some feel Ford’s tendency to land himself in hot water gives him an everyman charm. Others think he’s straight up embarrassing. Either way, at first glance, these opinions make for a good story. But a story needs an arc and Rob Ford’s administration is a flat line. He refuses to admit defeat or adapt his style. More of the same behavior yields more of the same result. By the force of his gaffe-prone personality, he’s highjacked the Tale of Toronto and turned it into the Rob Ford Story.

If you hate Rob Ford it’s easy to believe he threatened to beat up Daniel Dale. If you love Rob Ford it’s easy to believe The Star is harassing him. If you hate him it’s easy say he’s a homophobe, if you love him it’s easy give him the benefit of the doubt. If you hate Rob Ford he’s trying dismantle the very fabric of our society. If you love him, he’s standing up for the little guy. If you hate Rob Ford, LRT good. If no, bad.

Politics are fun to watch because it gives you an excuse to talk about ideas, values and philosophy. Politics are fun because it lets you dream and make a case of what you think your city should be. These days in Toronto it seems the only question we’re actually debating is whether or not we like Rob Ford. And I’m bored.

____

Michael Kolberg is a writer/comedian who writes for Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeykolberg

For more, follow us on Twitter at @torontostandard and subscribe to our Newsletter.

  • TOP STORIES
  • MOST COMMENTED
  • RECENT
By Igor Bonifacic
July 17th, 2014
Editors Pick How a Toronto company is helping the world's creatives showcase their work
Read More
By Igor Bonifacic
July 29th, 2014
Editors Pick Free outdoor movie festival coming to Fort York this August
Read More
By Brian Tavares
August 1st, 2014
Editors Pick Standard Interviews: Matt Gregoris of Brock Sandwich
Read More
By Claudia McNeilly
July 15th, 2014
Editors Pick Five Toronto Designers You Should Know by Now
Read More
  • No article found.
  • By Brian Tavares
    August 1st, 2014
    Editors Pick Standard Interviews: Matt Gregoris of Brock Sandwich
    Read More
    By Claudia McNeilly
    August 1st, 2014
    Editors Pick Meet Kind Exchange, Toronto’s trendy big sister
    Read More
    By Igor Bonifacic
    July 31st, 2014
    Editors Pick Provincial government shows off proposed $100-million Ontario Place transformation
    Read More
    By Lauren Pincente
    July 31st, 2014
    Editors Pick Do Make Say Think, August 1-3
    Read More

    SOCIETY SNAPS

    Society Snaps: Eric S. Margolis Foundation Launch

    Kristin Davis moved Toronto's philanthroists to tears ... then sent them all home with a baby elephant - Read More