Thank you for your patience. A blogger will be with you shortly.
It’s been quiet here at The Wig, but only because I have devoted all my time to uncovering the Canadian media story of the year.
And here it is. After a full year of examining mounting evidence to support my suspicion, I can now conclusively report the following:
Rob Ford does not exist.
In retrospect, all the signs were there from the start. An otherwise-intelligent community such as Toronto would never entrust its civic concerns to such a cartoonish villain. Nor would any mayor of a major Canadian city (well, possibly Montreal) cavort with drug-dealers and be prone to public drunken stuporage. Shunning the nation’s largest gay pride parade? Making lewd public comments about councillors and adversaries? Calling the cops on Marg Delahunty? These are not the sort of things any actual person of influence would ever do. Especially in Toronto. And those siblings? Straight out of central casting.
I’d wager no one reading this has ever actually met the man. Or even seen him in person. The virtual world is a frightening place, people. And only in such a world could a Rob Ford become Mayor of Toronto.
I found this card on the bar at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern during a visit that preceded that city’s most recent municipal election. That’s right, the man was not yet mayor, but someone — possibly while making a hurried backdoor exit in the midst of discussing a diabolical plan — had unknowingly left a calling card on the bar. Again, Rob Ford was not yet mayor at the time.
Or maybe he was. Come to think of it, he probably was mayor, and had been for months. Still, it makes you think.
It’s not difficult to explain the motivation behind such a grand conspiracy. After all, as the nation’s press have been increasingly consolidated in a single city, the result has been a growing frustration with having to occasionally pay lip-service to events happening elsewhere in Canada. If only, they must have thought, we could create a story so incredible that all eyes would remain permanently fixed on Toronto — not just nationally but even internationally. It must have seemed just crazy enough to work.
And it did. For a while. But even journalists (CNN reporters excepted) tire of covering the same story for months on end. Hence, the virtual mayor must go — conveniently despatched to “rehab” in an entirely uncharacteristic and slightly implausible development. But off he went. Perhaps never to be heard from again.
And that too could have worked, had it not been for a handful of rogue reporters unwilling or unable to quietly put their cash-cow to pasture. Hence, last week it all began to unravel, with sensational accounts of Mayor Ford sightings throughout the Toronto area. He was hanging out at fast-food joints. He was drinking in dive bars. He was pumping gas in Etobicoke. He’d tried to flee the country, but had been turned back at the U.S. border. Suddenly, Rob Ford was everywhere. The new Elvis — only fatter.
So what’s next? Difficult to predict. A return to the public eye seems unlikely, now that the story has overrun its course. But the lure of those U.S. talk shows may prove impossible to resist. For now, the rehab angle will at least buy a weary national press a bit of time. Time, perhaps, even to find a new “Rob Ford” to replace the one whose mug, frankly, most of us are tired of seeing. Maybe he can return in a few months having shed a few pounds and turned all remorseful. People love that kind of thing. And it shouldn’t be too hard to find an out-of-work actor in Toronto willing to take on the task. After all, in Rob Ford’s Toronto the working actor is an endangered species.
Yet more proof, as if any were needed, that there is no Rob Ford.
Toronto, you are welcome. I’ve always had your back.