[Snippets from a weekend conservation that ultimately amounted to what was a full-fledged political intervention.]
* * *
Urban Sophisticat (from here on known as US): … but this isn’t really what you imagined you’d be doing when you started this thing, is it?
Cityslikr (CS): This thing?
US: All Fired Up. This wasn’t what you thought you’d end up doing?
US: Sitting here, sipping Riesling, snacking on duck paté and ruminating on gossip-y, theatrical stunts masking as municipal politics.
CS: [pause as he sips some Riesling] I write about our mayor. The only thing different from when I started out is I didn’t in my wildest dreams imagine it’d be Rob Ford.
US: Well, he is. And now you’re being punked.
CS: [pause as he eats some duck paté] Punked?
US: Yeah, punked. Trolled. That’s all that’s happening here. You and everyone with you on this path is simply being sidetracked by the circus, caught up in shit that doesn’t matter a whit to the running of this city. Mayor Distraction and his brother, Councillor Look Over There.
Cityslikr laughs, taps away on his tablet.
US [continued]: See?
CS: What? It’s great. Mayor Distraction and Councillor Look Over There. My kids’ book on municipal politics.
US: [pause as he eats some duck paté, sips some Riesling] Name one thing you’ve written about the mayor recently that’s in any way related to policy, issues or was in the least bit agenda oriented.
Cityslikr finishes his wine, pours himself another glass, takes a sip. He cuts a slice of baguette, spreads some paté on it, eats it. He has another sip of Riesling. In the long pause, Urban Sophisticat finishes his wine and pour himself another glass.
US [continued]: Exactly my point.
CS: No, no, no. Wait. Wait a sec. [Another pull on his wine] The mayor’s lack of agenda is the issue right now.
US: An absence of agenda doesn’t mean an agenda of absence?
CS: … Was that supposed to make any sense?
US: Was your answer supposed to?
As Urban Sophisticat reaches for a cracker, Cityslikr slaps his hand away from the plate.
CS: Don’t be coming over here, eating my paté, drinking my wine and just taking non-constructive shots.
US: I brought the wine and paté.
CS: Using my glasses and my crackers.
US: The crackers are stale, by the way.
CS: And the glasses were dirty. Sue me.
US: And just like that you’ve been rerouted from the topic at hand.
CS: Look, it’s not like I don’t try and write about something other than mayoral antics. They just consume the entire narrative.
US: Which is entirely the point. If he can’t get anything done at council, he’ll make damn sure nobody else can either.
CS: So wait. You’re saying these shenanigans are nothing more than highly orchestrated tactics to divert everyone’s attention from the matters at hand? That the mayor, his brother and whoever else has any say in any non-football matters in the office, sit around and conjure up ways to distract the entire machinery of municipal operations at City Hall? You’re arguing pure evil genius? Hey, I got a great idea, guys. Why doesn’t Mayor Ford put his job in jeopardy with some serious questions about conflict of interest so nothing will get done this fall at City Hall.
US: Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m saying. You finished ripping that straw man to shreds? [Finishes off the wine in his glass and refills it with the rest of the bottle] What I’m saying is that, at this point, any publicity for the mayor is good publicity. It keeps him in the headlines when, in fact, he’s done nothing to merit such attention. The only sound we should be hearing about Mayor Ford is a resounding fucking silence.
CS: And how practical is that?
US: I’m sorry. [Looking around the room] Did you get yourself an assignment editor recently? Is there somebody around here telling you you have to write about the mayor? Or is it just easy, truth being stranger than fiction and all that? Until he does something to warrant attention, ignore the mayor and focus on what are real issues the city needs to deal with.
CS: And some, I don’t know, what would you call it, questionable behaviour on the mayor’s part is entirely beside the point?
US: Again, no. It has its place, sure. But it’s become everything. Anything else going on at City Hall is simply filler. Here’s the last thing you should write about Mayor Ford until he starts actually contributing to the real governance of this city. And you can quote me.
Mayor Rob Ford is corrupt. Not in the sense we normally associate with the word these days, as in financially corrupt, trading money for political favours. He is ethically corrupt. Dishonest. Lacking in integrity. There is no notion of right and wrong that does not align with his own. To help disadvantaged youth is right. Therefore, using city resources to do so cannot be wrong. Because he is only looking out for the taxpayers, his use of his office resources on a local sports team is beyond reproach while other councillors similarly spending office budgets on a local sports team is nothing more than campaigning and cheap politics.
Mayor Ford is devoid of any wider ethical implications beyond his own personal code. If you are always right, everyone else is wrong. Always. This inability to see anything past your own values is the very definition of, if not corruption, than a corrupted view of the world.
And then get on with the business of writing about the real business of the city.
I mean, that’s why you started this thing in the first place, isn’t it?
— transcribedly submitted by Cityslikr