Rob Ford is ready for his close-up (again)

Trouble the water in Toronto

Trouble the water in Toronto

Now that Rob Ford is more popular than U.S. President Barack Obama and singing sensation Lady Gaga combined (at least according to Google searches), does Hollywood figure in the future of the world’s most famous mayor?

CTV reports, “In the wake of reported allegations he was seen on a drug video, Rob Ford searches on Google have surpassed some of the most popular figures in the world. In fact, on May 17, the day after Gawker and the Toronto Star reported on the alleged video featuring the mayor of Canada’s biggest city, Ford got more Google searches than (both Mr. Obama and Ms. Gaga) – that’s worldwide. Our Google Trends graph, which plots Google search terms based on search performance, shows the search term fluctuating in popularity from Jennifer Lawrence to Jay-Z levels ever since. Before the scandal, the mayor was about as popular on Google as Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”

And why not? The saga in Hog Town, where Mr. Ford reigns like King Lear – isolatedly and erratically – is made for the movies. Hell, this stuff even writes itself.

We may imagine the opening scene, in which the rotund, office-bound monarch ruminates on his life and the events that have brought him to this sorry state of affairs. He has just narrowly avoided a group of women who had arrived at City Hall with a birthday cake (he turned 44 on May 28), before entreating him to resign.

Then follows the flashbacks.

A happy and contented childhood attending Scarlett Heights Collegiate, playing football, horsing around with chums in the quasi-affluent Toronto borough of Etobicoke.

Vain attempts to keep up with his older brothers, Randy and Doug, whose extra-curricular activities may, or may not, have involved ritual dalliances with certain controlled substances late into the night and wee hours of the morning.

Ambitious dreams of becoming a professional football player; sitting out a season of university play on the bench; leaving Carleton after his freshman year; returning home to Toronto to join his Dad’s label- and tag-making business; hating it.

Then, in classic cinematic fashion, comes local politics to his rescue.

Three terms as a city councillor, during which he distinguished himself as an outspoken, if not always sensitive or even astute, observer of social values. And the gaffes. . .oh, the famous gaffes.

“If we wiped out the perks for council members, we’d save $100 million easy. . .all this office budget stuff is self-promotion to benefit yourself. Why should the taxpayers have to pay for it? It boggles my mind?”

His constituents loved him, the way Louisianians loved their populist firebrand Huey Long early in the last century. Mr. Ford’s big mouth could do no wrong, even when it uttered nonsense.

“We just need to get rid of these life-long politicians that just give out money to special interest groups and don’t serve the community. I’m really teed off. We need to get a new council or this city is going to go down the drain.”

And this: “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line. Those are the facts.”

And this: “What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”

And, of course, this: “Those Oriental people work like dogs. They work their hearts out. They are workers non-stop. They sleep beside their machines. That’s why they’re successful in life.”

Then, in one dreadful moment, comes the Toronto Star and its allegations of a video that shows the mayor smoking what appears to be a crack pipe. And the great unravelling begins.

The accusations. The recriminations. The firings. The quittings. A city in turmoil. Reputations in tatters.

Still, at the end, there is that quieting denouement of all great, filmic melodramas – the silver lining, if you will.

We see a smile develop on Mr. Ford’s face. There is that birthday cake in the downstairs lobby, after all. It would be a shame to let it go to waste.

Fin. Fade to black.

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