Dr. Dawg

Ubu Maire

| Disqus Comments

Ubu Maire1.jpg

As with the proverbial street accident, it is impossible to take your eyes off Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Like Alfred Jarry’s immortal Ubu Roi, Ford is a walking Id. Without unduly pressing the comparison, here is Wikipedia’s description of Ubu: “fat, ugly, vulgar, gluttonous, grandiose, dishonest, stupid, jejune, voracious, cruel, cowardly and evil.” Perhaps not all of the adjectives apply, but the overlap here is frankly striking.

The Ubu topos has near-universal application. In 2007, South African writer Jane Taylor published a play called Ubu and the Truth Commission. Here is how she describes her main character:

The central character is notorious for his infantile engagement with his world. Ubu inhabits a domain of greedy self-gratification….

Part of the [audience] satisfaction arises from the fact that in the burlesque mode which Jarry invents, there is no place for consequence. While Ubu may be relentless in his political aspirations, and brutal in his personal relations, he apparently has no measurable effect upon those who inhabit the farcical world which he creates around himself. He thus acts out our most childish rages and desires, in which we seek to gratify ourselves at all cost.

That is a piercing insight, and once again immediately applicable. Ford has no control of his council, either through fear or persuasion: he simply bawls from the Mayor’s chair, without effect. While egregiously awful behaviour at City Hall may yet lead to his undoing—everything from conflict of interest voting to meddling in the city appointments process to using city staff to help out his football team and the family business—it’s his off-work antics that have tended to draw the most attention. There was public drunkenness back in his councillor days, and more recently endless bizarre 911 calls, repeated instances of dangerous driving, flipping the bird at a mother and her daughter, and publicly losing his own challenge to lose excess weight, which some would argue was all 330 pounds of it.

Now comes the Gravy Buses incident.

Briefly, Ford skipped out on a council meeting to coach a high school football team during a game that ended in confusion. Two TTC buses were then commandeered to take his team home, while regular fare-paying passengers were discharged into the cold and wet mid-way on their journey.

After the string of incidents that have marked his life in politics, there is nothing really very new here. But that alone should draw comment.

At this point, however, I think it’s time to speak plainly and avoid the usual journalistic cliches. Mayor Ford is not “flamboyant” or “colourful.” Mel Lastman, who is now looking like some sort of municipal elder statesman by comparison, was flamboyant and colourful.

Mayor Ford is just a pig.

And the oft-repeated question below more than answers itself.

Return to the home page

blog comments powered by Disqus

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 4, 2012 9:07 AM.

Of masks, protests and apartheid law was the previous entry in this blog.

Liberal Media Bias - Not is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 6.3.6