You gotta love the comedy that comes from scandal. We humans really love to laugh at those who succumb to moral woes or plain, old stupidity, especially if their names are Anthony Weiner, (you can’t make that one up), Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and, yes, Rob Ford.
Before you start groaning of yet another opinion about Ford, this former Torontonian isn’t going to stoop to that low. Rather, I’d like to comment on all the hilariousness that has ensued, well except for that crack dealer who is sitting in jail, I don’t think he finds the situation all that funny. Nor do I think my former neighbours are too amused about their city being the laughing stock of the world. But, hey, get over it. There will soon be another scandal that will be spoofed on SNL.
Laughter is how we deal with the misfortune of others, except when those embarrassing moments are happening in your own backyard.
I have to admit I laughed my pants off at Anchorman Ron Burgundy singing Ford’s campaign song to the tune of Loverboy’s Working for the Weekend on the Conan show the other day, but what if it was my town, my mayor they were laughing at.
Oh, wait. I am having a deja vu moment, no crack involved.
Before the train wreck that was Ford Nation or the selfie-loving Weiner, or those secondary dwelling loving senators, we had our own scandal in beautiful Vernon, B.C.
I know many of you (me included) would like to forget, but all this Ford business has reminded me of what happened here in 2005.
For newcomers to this city, the scandal arose when a certain mayor decided to wine n’ dine some fellow movers and shakers, including then Premier Gordon Campbell, with the city credit card. Problem is those movers and shakers didn’t seem to recall getting a free meal.
(It’s all spelled out on Wikipedia for goodness sakes.)
While said mayor blubbered out an apology, and did the right thing and resigned his post (are you reading this, Ford?), we in town weren’t laughing. Gathering from the letters to the editor we received, some people out there actually felt sorry for the guy. They thought he was being attacked mercilessly. And really, when you think about it, he was — mainly from all the jokers on the outside who didn’t elect him.
I am not making excuses for these politicians’ bad behaviour, but to err is to be human. And we humans make a lot of mistakes.
The brilliant late writer Kurt Vonnegut once wrote in his book Galapagos that, thanks to our decreased brainpower, “people aren’t diverted from the main business of life by the hobgoblins of opinion anymore.”
Yes, we easily slough off what can be serious issues — lying, cheating, crack smoking — through laughter, poking fun at other’s misfortunes, especially if they are in a position of power.
We spread out hilarious venom through Tweets and statuses. And we turn red in embarrassment when it hits a little close to the bone (paging Anthony Weiner.)
So Toronto, I feel for you and hope you too will one day laugh at this sorry state of affairs.
If experience tells us, this too shall pass. People will carry on with their lives. Politicians will be dethroned and re-elected. And you can bet there will be another scandal, more jokes, more ridiculousness, more fodder for late night TV hosts…. especially if Ford plans to stick around in office.
Oh, the horror.