Rob Ford: making Canadians proud

by Toby Manhire / 26 November, 2013
Canada’s debt to its elephantine, crack-smoking Toronto mayor.

Oh, Canada. Such a hard-earned reputation for common sense, decorum and sobriety, blown into tragicomic smithereens by a wild-eyed, hard-drinking, crack-smoking, prat-falling mayor.

This guy:


As we watch, aghast and entertained, from afar, just imagine how embarrassed those buttoned-up Canadians must be.

How embarrassed? Dahlia Lithwick, was asked that very question on Facebook. She thought about it: “Plumbing the arctic depths of my Canadian soul, I discovered the truth: I have never been prouder to be a Canadian in my whole entire life.”

Such relief, writes Lithwick at, to see a different kind of Canadian before the world.

Until Rob Ford made his crazy-bird appearance on the international media scene, Canada tended to produce and reproduce variations upon a single type. Let’s just shorthand it the ‘Dorky Observer’. Leonard Cohen is a Dorky Observer; so is Malcolm Gladwell. William Shatner, Diana Krall, David Cronenberg, Samantha Bee, John Kenneth Galbraith, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Donald Sutherland, Alanis Morissette, Marshall McLuhan? All Dorky Observers.

After a “lifetime of being typecast as the tall guy in the corner in the ribbed turtleneck and ugly Kodiak boots”, reckons Lithwick, “Canadians may be secretly loving this chance to suggest to the world that deep inside each and every one of us lurks a 300-pound loon perfectly capable of flattening a city council member in his attempt to jump a heckler in the middle of a council meeting ... For the first time since the War of 1812, Canada is looking just a teensy bit id-dy, and let me tell you brother – we kind of love it.”

Relatedly, here’s The Daily Show on the subject of Ford and Canada’s reputation:

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