Blog Archives - THE CATASTROPHIZER
 
Picture
I've used it once before, but this photo, taken about a year ago by Alex Panther, continues to be good.
1. Rob Ford announces he will run for mayor of Toronto.

Mostly Unbothered-ness
I am unbothered, because there's no way he will be elected. He will likely be aggressively objectionable, but then he will not be elected, and I will go back to not thinking about him until he says something else about "Orientals." 

2. Rob Ford wins the election and becomes mayor of Toronto.

  IDONOTUNDERSTANDATALLIAMSOCONFUSED

3. Rob Ford is mayor; Rob Ford faces legal challenges; Rob Ford remains mayor.

Hope and also Unease and then Ambivalence
I am filled with hope, because maybe Ford will have to stop being mayor; I am filled with unease, because if it's the courts that bring about his ousting, maybe that will just make some people like him more and then he'll just be elected again. So when he ends up not having to stop being mayor, I'm kind of relieved, but also deflated—because after all, he is still mayor.

4. Crack video. Mayor in crack video. Mayor a racist and a homophobe in a video OF CRACK.

Mild shock and also Relief
Crack is a bit of a surprise, but the suggestion that Rob Ford had issues with substance abuse, making judgments about things, and being a racist and a homophobe does not shock me. I am relieved that my profound misgivings about him have been entirely validated and wait for the inevitable scandal to consume and de-mayor him.

5. Inevitable scandal weirdly does not seem to catch on so much. Rob Ford remains mayor.

Confusion and then Sense of Unreality
I don't understand why this doesn't seem to have traction. As the weeks go by, a weird sort of mayor-not-at-all-linked-to-crack-video normalcy sets it, and I have to regularly remind myself that I did not invent the whole thing in a state of electoral despair.

6. I thought about figuring out how to embed gifs, and then embedding a gif of either (1) the Scanners head explosion, or (2) the Raiders head melting. Then I worried they were both overused, if ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE, and I considered going with this still from WarGames:
But then I worried that that was both too serious (thermonuclear war) and too flippant ('80s movie reference to deal with genuinely disturbing state of affairs that has already harmed a lot of people). But I decided to include it anyway, so you could have a point of reference for my discussion of deciding against doing so.

7. Scandal DOES register this time, with every person and place that exists. 
Rob Ford remains mayor. Council strips him of various powers. He remains mayor. New poll finds his support at 42 per cent. Even next year, he might still be mayor.

IDONOTUNDERSTANDATALLIAMSOCONFUSED
 
Picture
"Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth! Slime! Muck! Boo! Boo! Boo!"
Watching the news has, for a while now, felt kind of like swimming in a vat of raw sewage filled with empty liquor bottles and rubber chickens. The reason I don't feel even more as if I want to remove my brain and put it in some bleach, and then some vinegar, and then something else associated with a vigorous cleaning action, is that I have not been swimming in this sewage vat alone.

I would like to take a moment to consider CP24—and, more specifically, Katie Simpson. The Star has received a lot of attention and credit for its coverage of Rob Ford, and I have no issues with that whatsoever. But I do think that Katie Simpson should also be commended, and appreciated, and generally celebrated. It could well be that she's a nasty, vindictive, underhanded type of individual. Perhaps Doug Ford said she was "vicious" and that "foam comes out of her mouth" because he is right and not because he is a nasty, vindictive, underhanded type of individual. 

But I don't care. I have decided she is even-handed, resourceful, quick-thinking, and incredibly patient. And I would like to continue believing she is all of those things because doing so calms and reassures me. 

And I like Stephanie Smyth, too (although sometimes I worry she seems sad). And Ann Rohmer, obviously (show me someone who does not like Ann Rohmer, and I WILL SHOW YOU A MONSTER). And I'm ambivalent about Stephen LeDrew, whose affable bow-tie-edness is not quite enough to make me overlook the fact that one time he wore loafers with no socks, and a whole lot of other times he's been an apologist for people I don't think should be apologized for.

So if you know that Katie Simpson is a deeply selfish and unprincipled monster, please don't tell me—liking her helps offset (a bit) how much I don't like almost everyone else.
 
I would now like to do what I often seem to do when confronted by important events that affect a lot of people: think and talk about myself.

By now, pretty much everyone knows that Toronto's mayor is belligerent, deluded, crack-using, defiant, in serious danger of doing harm to himself or others, and surrounded by crazy people who love him in a way that encourages him to be all those things I just mentioned.

And watching the minute-by-minute updates about the public breakdown of this person has made me feel pretty conflicted and disgusted with myself.

The first reason this experience has made me disgusted with myself is by no means a surprising or unusual one: I find myself occasionally exhilarated by the sense that NEWS IS HAPPENING, and IT IS CONSISTENTLY CRAZY NEWS, and then I consider the fact that the news that is happening relates to a real person and a real city and involves other real people—and feel crappy for all my prurient interest and anticipation.

The second reason is that this experience has given me an intense and sustained sense of Toronto community. I know that pretty much everyone is thinking about the same thing at the same time. And I know that—with the exception of some people who want to vote for the regular guy (you know, the one you'd feel comfortable doing some crack with while threatening to murder people) and some people who happen to be related to this regular guy and are maybe the worst people ever—pretty much everyone is thinking the same things about that thing. I don't know that I've ever been so powerfully aware of Toronto as a single consciousness, consciously focused on one single subject.

And I feel gross and uncomfortable that it is this subject that has made me feel this way. People don't tend to, though, en masse and by the millions, spontaneously think about the benefits of light rail transit; people rarely, all together and at one and the same time, consider the benefits of affordable housing. 

But I suspect that actively enjoying—rather than simply finding solace in--the sense of community that has sprung out of such a profoundly distressing situation is probably neither honourable nor healthy. Getting enjoyment out of something that causes general distress isn't usually awesome.

Whenever I find myself too inclined to feel gratified by the knowledge that I am right now agreeing with millions and millions of my fellow Torontonians about something, I remind myself again that actual people are involved in this, that an actual city is involved in this, and that one of the reasons it's so difficult to find the right tone to take with this is that it is both completely outlandish and increasingly disturbing—and then I become overwhelmed by all that and want to remind myself that I'm not alone and that a lot of other people feel the same way...and the whole thing starts all over again.