I was sitting in the office, staring at the computer monitor, the live stream muted. It seemed to be stuck in some kind of loop. The same news reports delivered over and over.
And who should that be walking through the door, without a knock, I might add. Our old friend and one time All Fired Up in the Big Smoke contributor, Urban Sophisticat. I seemed to have caught him by surprise, like he wasn’t expecting to find me there.
“What? Did you come to steal the electronics?
“No. No, I just thought… it’d be more of a party atmosphere in here.”
If you’re reading this now, I don’t really have to explain what he was referring to, do I? Dagos, the gays, fucking jamming, fucking knocking teeth out. More crack in his sister’s basement. Drunken, coked up confrontation with Justin Bieber. Yes, you read that correctly.
As Urban Sophisticat sat down in front of me, I slid the bottle across the desk to him. He picked it up, checked out the label. I believe he turned up his nose just a little. It might not even been consciously.
“You got anything lighter,” he asked. “Not so good with the sulphites these days.”
Sending a glass his way, I did my best to summon up a look of disdain before turning back to see if anything changed on the news need. It hadn’t. Evidently Urban Sophisticat was going to risk a sulphite encounter as he poured himself a glass.
“I’m fucking sick of politics, dude.”
Urban Sophisticat raised his glass in agreement to my sentiment. What he thought was my sentiment.
“Welcome to the club,” he said. “Chin, chin.” He took a sip, and a little bit of time deciding if he approved of my choice of wines. “I was struck down by that very same illness October 27th, 2010. A day that will go down in infamy.”
My friend hadn’t lost his grasp of hyperbole, I saw.
“I wasn’t talking about me, dude,” I informed him. “That’s what the mayor said in his drunken stupor on Monday night. ‘I’m fucking sick of politics.’”
“He’s sick of politics? P-lease! He’s sickened politics, that’s what he’s done. Sickened politics.”
Urban Sophisticat seemed quite delighted with his little witty self and had another slug of wine he obviously still hadn’t come to terms with. He wasn’t wrong but that wasn’t the point I had tried to make.
“No. He’s sick of politics and then goes on to say, ‘Look at my record.’ Look at his record. The fucking guy actually believes everything he says. $1.1 billion saved? He believes it. Doesn’t matter what anybody tells him, what numbers or facts and figures they throw around, he’s saved taxpayers $1.1 billion. He’s cut our taxes. Reduced spending. He’s looking out for the little guy. That’s not a catchphrase for him. The mayor really and truly believes he is. That’s why he’s fucking sick of politics. He’s trying and trying and trying, respecting the taxpayers, and for what? Nobody gives him credit for looking out for the little guy.”
Urban Sophisticat seemed surprised by my surprise. He shrugged. Tell him something he doesn’t already know. And pop the cork on another bottle of wine while I’m at it. Maybe a Merlot. Or a Pinot Noir if I had it.
But I wasn’t done playing amateur psychologist just yet.
“Look at his attack on Karen Stintz. Violent, predatory. I’d like to fucking jam her. Nothing sexual about that. Why? Because she represents everything he hates. Ivy League, north Toronto, la-di-da, white, white teeth. The establishment. Yeah. Fucking jam that, right?”
“On the other hand,” I continued, taking the bottle from Urban Sophisticat and pouring out some more dark, peppery, sulphite-ridden wine, “if the mayor was going to lose this election who did he want to lose it to? This self-proclaimed conservative, left wing hating, loather of government. Who’d he want to succeed him as mayor? Olivia Chow. What’s up with that, right?”
I paused to let all this sink in. The two of us drank our wine. One of us enjoying it more than the other.
“It could be as simple as him thinking that she’ll cock it all up like David Miller did,” Urban Sophisticat suggested. “The city will rise up in righteous anger in 4 years hence and call, no plead, for the return of Rob Ford once more to rid the city of the leftist, unionist pestilence.”
That certainly could be a possibility, although I’m always loathe to give Rob Ford credit for such long term strategizing. But I could see the idea popping up in a conversation with his brother or drug buddies when his electoral future wasn’t looking particularly bright. Elect another dipper. Go ahead. See what happens. Then they’ll be begging me to come back.
“Or how about this,” I countered, not yet prepared to let go of my line of reasoning. “Rob Ford sees a lot of himself in Olivia Chow?” I immediately caught the look on Urban Sophisticat’s face and nipped it right in the bud. “No. No. Just no.”
“He might detest her politics, her way with going about things—“
“All that tax and spending,” Urban Sophisticat said.
“All that tax and spending, yes. But her politics are about the exact same thing as his. Looking out for the little guy. Just like Jack. We know Rob liked Jack. He felt a kindred spirit with him. disagreed with his methods, sure. But they wanted the same thing in Rob Ford’s mind. Olivia’s like Jack. She’s like Rob Ford.”
Urban Sophisticat was having none of it. Either that or he just couldn’t handle any more of the wine.
“That’s nuts. Crazy. Always go for the easier explanation first.”
“But that’s what we’re talking about, isn’t it? Delusion. The man’s clearly deluded.”
Turns out Urban Sophisticat wasn’t done with the wine. He poured another drink. Sulphites be damned!
“Fine. But it doesn’t matter anymore, does it. The man’s done. Finished. He’s not coming back from this avalanche of shit.”
I wasn’t so sure. With this guy, all bets were off. Normal rules don’t apply. Never forget that.
“Oh, come on!” Urban Sophisticat yelled, sensing my scepticism and doubt. “Just… Just… Come on.” He was not going to dignify my uncertainty with any further discussion.
The problem now, as I saw it, was for many, they took the mayor’s ardent if deluded belief in the rightness of his cause as factually as the mayor did. He didn’t sell them a lie. He convinced them it was the truth. Absolutely, he saved taxpayers $1.1 billion. Absolutely, the city’s fiscal foundations were crumbling before he took office. Absolutely, he was looking out for the little guy.
Rob Ford came across as authentic because he believed in what he was saying. People believed he believed in what he was saying. People believed in what he was saying.
“Look,” I said to Urban Sophisticat. “I’m not saying there’s enough support out there to re-elect him.”
“I should hope not.”
“I’m not saying there isn’t either. What I am worried about, though, is that his core belief remains strong with a surprising number of voters. The message was right. The messenger, unfortunately, had issues. That’s essentially John Tory and Karen Stintz’s campaigns. I’m pretty sure that weasel Minnan-Wong has said those exact words.”
Urban Sophisticat seemed less concerned about that then with the idea there could possibly be a comeback in Rob Ford’s future.
“Nothing could be as bad as the past 3 years.”
I wasn’t so sure. The Rob Ford message needed to be confronted. As deplorable as all his personal problems are, his political views are equally so. If they aren’t chased down and clubbed to death, Rob Ford will still be with us, in spirit if not body.
We sat in silence, Urban Sophisticat and I, he thinking the job was nearly done and me thinking it had only started. I looked at my monitor to see if there was any new news. There wasn’t. I had another slug of my wine.
— tippily submitted by Cityslikr