I have come from the Southlands to warn y’all.
All of this has happened before, and it will happen again. I saw Bush Jr. get elected, twice. Mostly because of homophobia. The Fords are the Tea Party north, and they could win. MOBILIZE, beloveds. Do not become relaxed. Pick a candidate and fight like hell. Many things can happen before October, and they will.
And definitely the epitome of bad manners, toxic masculine rage and twisted vanity. For me, the most sinister thing isn’t the laser-beam eyeballs, or the furrowed brow, or the flush of rage on the unsmiling cheeks of Doug Ford. For me, it’s the glint of the gold chain peeking out from the collar. It’s the vanity of that.
“I’m a regular guy.” the twoheadedfordmansharkcyborgmonster likes to say, a lot.
“just like you.”
But, the chain betrays this. Last I knew such a thing (because I just googled it) Gold is priced at about 1300 an ounce. The chain says a couple of things. First off, Doug is rich. Fuck you money rich. Second off, Doug cares a great deal about his appearance, and he thinks he looks good. Better than you, you poor. Getafuckingjob.
I have been in the presence of both Ford brothers now, within spitting distance. Within glitterbomb distance. Within shouting distance. Rob evokes a weird kind of sympathy, I admit it. Rob Ford, when I am witnessing him in Toronto council chambers or doing the scrum walk from his office to his elevator seems to be confused and unhappy. Maybe he once enjoyed being mayor, but I’m pretty sure that now he does not. I think Rob is tired. I think Rob would like to go assistant coach football or hockey somewhere. He could jump up and down like this when they scored.
Look at him. So happy, so human. If he wasn’t mayor anymore, Rob Ford– I really think– could actually be serious about recovery. I think, in my deepest heart, that maybe he could get in touch with his humanity again, find his soul and maybe that he could be happy.
I could be happy, too. Like this:
Doug Ford, on the other hand– is toxic masculinity on two legs. He has the stink of an abuser, of a bully, of a man who doesn’t give a shit about the people. He talks down to nearly everyone I see him speak to, especially his brother. When he fixes his eyes on someone, he does so with pure hate. I have experienced this look at the Rob Ford Must Go sit in. I am very good at staring down evil. When Doug Ford approached, I hexed as hard as I could, but I truly felt I was looking into pure evil, for the first time on this earth. It was chilling. I know I am giving this one man a lot of power here, but trust your professor, beloveds. Doug Ford is the very epitome of what nice is not. I can feel the hair on the back of my neck lifting up right now, just thinking about that presence. Bad juju, beloveds. The worst.
But here’s what I know to be true. Goodness is stronger than evil. Light is stronger than darkness. Love is stronger than hate. Toronto is still Toronto the good.
I know this because of a #TOpoli story that isn’t making the news or the headlines. It’s a kind of story that isn’t sexy for the cameras, it isn’t street theatre, it isn’t a perfectly snapped photo tableau, a throttling caught by well-timed cameras. It crosses the chasm between FordNation and AntiFord. I wasn’t there for any of it, but I’ve been weeping at the goodness of it, and I don’t think that the man would mind if I told his story.
There’s a Toronto Politics and City Hall regular who is known to some as Singing Jimmy. He even has his own Wikipedia page. You may have encountered him on the Spadina Line streetcar, which he frequents, if you haven’t been to City Hall.
He’s sort of an eccentric, to use a term. Your professor has a deep soft spot in her heart for eccentric, which is what you get called if you’re rich and a bit crazypants. If you’re a poor, you get called a kook, or a crackpot, or any other number of ableist slurs. Singing Jimmy, is a bit, well, he’s a bit addled. And, he’s sort of gotten fixated on Rob Ford. Why? Who can really say– since Jimmy also says he loves clean air to breath and adores public transit.
Cut to FORDFESTSTRAVAGANZAPACOLYPSE which your professor did not attend because she did her dissertation research at far-right-wing-tea-party-Christian-conservative-white-people-gospel-music-conventions. So, in short:
A. she was afraid to go to Ford Fest.
B. she felt that she had already BEEN to Ford Fest.
C. see above fore “brain storm, spazzy body (appendix C see also migrainebarfstravaganzafest, held in her house)
At said FORDFESTRAVAGANZPACOLYPTICORAMALAMADINGDONG, there was a teeny-tiny riot, at which some NASHIONITES were apparently enraged that some Queeruption protestors existed in a public park. I have seen the footage, and it made my blood curdle, as my grandma would say. The venom with which one protestor ripped a sign from the hands of a protestor and ripped it up, then flipped an angry middle finger at a protestor–I won’t forget that video. I also won’t forget the glee with which other people stomped on it. The thing that broke my heart the most was the face of a young boy caught in the fray, who seemed puzzled by the anger, but learning. Learning all the time–something.
Then, out of the crowd in the video, before the police (who were already at FORDFESTORAMANOHOMOSCREWYOUIGOTMINEJESUSTHELINESAREREALLYLONGAPALOOZA)intervened, before anybody on Ford’s staff (one of which is clearly visible chanting in the crowd) who appears to make sure the Queeruption protestors were safe? Singing Jimmy, people. Veteran. Hero. Knower of what is right. What isn’t right? Yelling. Destroying people’s signs. Meanness. Ugly. God don’t like ugly, beloveds–and neither did Jimmy that night.
Jimmy intervened, put his body (which is tiny) in between the screamers and the protestors. That, beloveds, is god’s work. That is what a hero does. I don’t agree with nearly anything that comes out of Singing Jimmy’s mouth (although I share his love for the fine Unionized TTC drivers, who he has been known to sing songs of), but that is what I like to think I would have done in that situation. Falstaff may have joked that “discretion is the better part of valour” but I contend that the best part of valour is foolishness, beloveds. Rushing in to protect the innocent when you are hopelessly outnumbered and outweighed.
But that’s not where the story ends, beloveds. After the fray, Jimmy returned to the scene of the crime, and picked up those signs, which were torn into a million pieces. He picked them up, and he took them home, and he taped them back together. Then he delivered them back to city hall.
Victory is ours, beloveds.
if we remember to love with foolishness as the better part of our valour.
Until next time,
Burn hate to the motherfucking ground,