Rob Ford: making Canadians proudby Toby Manhire
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.
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 Slate.com, 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:
Follow the Listener on Twitter or Facebook.
I predicted Bill English would lose the election and the winner would be Winston Peters. But no forecaster, including the PM, predicted her pregnancy.Read more
New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.Read more
For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.Read more
More than one million images from Rykenberg Photography, taken around Auckland, are now in the Auckland Libraries Collection. But who are the people?Read more
A Golden Bay man spending his first night in his new house says he woke to find his bed, walls and floor covered in hundreds of creepy crawlies.Read more
There's a growing movement to stop the amount of wasteful plastic that goes into our oceans, but what about the tiny bits we can hardly see?Read more
The inconvenience to chlorine refuseniks is tiny compared with the risk of more suffering and tragedy from another Havelock North-style contamination.Read more