Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rob Ford: The Buffoon and the Opera

I suppose it was inevitable. He was born to be a comedian. First it was Rob Ford the Mayor, then it was Rob Ford the Cannon Doll, now it's Rob Ford:The Opera.

Described as a “surrealist fantasy based loosely upon the personality of Toronto’s current and much discussed mayor,” Rob Ford: The Opera is a tragicomic tale about a man who is by turns bumbling, petulant, obtuse, delusional, lonely and ultimately doomed by those he has wronged.

I must say the synopsis sounds excellent. And I'm sure I would have loved the ending.

And then, seizing Atwood’s wings, Ford vanishes, never to be seen again. The only explanation given is that, like Icarus, he has flown too close to the sun. And a Brechtian moral is provided by Ford’s sadder-but-wiser parents: “A thief is a thief until he’s caught.”

But I don't know if I would have been able to laugh as loudly as the audience apparently did. Not when a buffoon is a buffoon, but he's still the Mayor of Toronto.

And I'm not sure that opera can capture the crassness of this vulgar millionaire. Who is threatening to lockout thousands of city workers. 

Not because he has to do that to slay the deficit. But just because he wants to kill government.

Ford’s actions and words, to the public and those around him, are not those of a bean counter trying to solve a financial puzzle. While real, the hefty “structural deficit” is his ammunition, not his target.

The colourful gut-led ideologue is on a mission to radically reduce the size and cost of city government — amputating services, grants and agencies. In doing so, he wants to erase most or all the 5,000 mostly unionized jobs added under his predecessor, David Miller.

And to get us in the mood for that massacre, is making a big deal out of trimming some fat off himself.

You know... cut the waste, and I'll cut MY waist.

Yup. I'm afraid opera is too classy to capture that. I give those responsible full marks for resisting the buffoon.

But next time hold the Puccini.

And give me some dueling  banjos...


  1. I think Toronto is the only city in North America which is so obsessed with its mayor!

  2. hi Cathie...I must admit that when I arrived in TO I was supremely indifferent to what was happening at City Hall. Or ignorant if you want to put it bluntly. ;) But the problem with Ford is that he has his brother and a a whole sinister gang behind him pulling his strings, and turning him from a populist buffoon into a half baked ideologue. So he does need to be watched closely. But you're right it is a tragicomedy...