Monday, June 3, 2013

Era Vulgaris

What was life like before the Rob Ford circus came to town? I can hardly remember. It seems like some long-ago, dimly remembered past Age of Man.

Nothing, nothing but Rob Ford stories as far as the eye can see and as far as the ear can hear. Until we're all past sick of it. But they don't care. The pack of jackals continue to rip and tear at this story, to breathlessly report every single detail, to leave us time and time again with blue balls, agonizing over what's going to happen next. Inserting themselves into the story, naturally. Making themselves the story, the story of Rob Ford vs. The Media. Of course.

What must it be like for them to have completely lost any sense of proportion and regressed back to some primitive state where there was absolutely no room for anything else but Rob Ford? Where eating, going to the bathroom, and showering takes second place to Rob Ford?  It must be like some sort of Burning Man ceremony, like some drugged-out ancient religious ritual.

And what do they have to show for it? Did these hunters bag their prey? Did they get Ford? Well, he's still Mayor. Instead, a guy is dead, and a bunch of staffers resigned. One life lost, a bunch of others forever altered. Not what the future Pulitzer winners at the Star and Globe probably wanted, but they're not going to let a few bystanders get in the way of their paper chase.

And no, Premier Wynne. You will not have the opportunity to live out your fantasy of removing Ford from office. Oh, we know you would so love to show that big brute Ford who wears the pants around here just like you did to Paul Godfrey when he got all saucy a few weeks ago, but that would just ruin this entertaining train wreck for everyone. It can't always be about the short-term thrill, darling. Like the great Buddy Cole once said, "I may have been born yesterday, but I still went shopping." (.....actually....that doesn't make sense, even in the original context. Oh well.)

Gotta love the suddenly cautious tone of that Globe editorial saying that Wynne ordering Ford off the field would be an unwanted intrusion, given that the city services are actually running "as smoothly as they ever do." This, after saying the previous day that Ford needed to resign no matter what.  Ford's personal life is a disaster, sure, but it doesn't seem to be affecting the way the city is actually run all that much. The city certainly isn't considering a unilateral HST hike to pay for transit.....which makes even less sense when you consider that the point of the HARMONIZED sales tax is that it's supposed to be HARMONIZED. That means it's supposed to be the same across Canada, except Queen Kathleen is once again all about unilateralism.

Is the Star going to call for Wynne to wave her magic wand and make this Ford issue disappear? No? Martin Regg Cohn is suddenly all about respecting the division of powers? How bizarre- when Wynne does her Marie Antoinette impression with respect to Paul Godfrey or jacking up the HST, the Star and Globe are nowhere near as quick to put the brakes on. One of these things is clearly not like the others.

For actual critical news reporting, we have to go not to one of the Big Four newspapers, but to Huffington Post Canada. They think the Rob Ford story is distracting everyone from the Wynne government getting into trouble over deleting emails related to That Power Plant. How is it that an online news website can find time to actually do a non-Rob Ford political story, and a bunch of rapidly-declining broadsheets have nothing else on their minds?

Shall we say that the media are putting "profits before people", and engaging in "a race to the bottom", as they are perfectly content to let hardworking staffers get caught in the crossfire? Or perhaps we need to go a little further and say that this story has become a daily fix, and although they know it's bad for them, they don't want to let go. They could let Wynne stage an intervention here, but no.....everything's fine.

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