The ‘crack mayor’

Today I’ve been a bit preoccupied with the amount of coverage on Rob Ford, the incumbent Mayor of Toronto. For much of the day I’ve been sent a few of the ‘comedic’ treatments of the subject which I thought was notable from the US. For context (i.e. anyone reading this when this topic is long forgotten; Ford had an growing number of incriminating allegations about his behaviour which has recently exploded in his public embarrassments. It’s a comedian’s field day to have a story where a member of public office is found with street drugs, not least a conservative one on a grassroots ticket.

Examples of comedic treatment of the subject come from the following:

There’s a very obvious source of comedy from the revelations. I wonder if history will judge us differently about the kind of preoccupation on this story: are we being insensitive? Not specifically to Ford himself (although that is a consideration too), but to those who are troubled by crack-cocaine. It could be said that a member of public office who had made such a public denial prior to a retraction of such a denial of using crack-cocaine is an open house invitation to alleging some form of flawed character. But I wonder if in coming decades this will be seen as a questionable source of humour.

I find it particularly of interest how a few years ago, Craig Fergusson made a point not to make jokes about problems going on with celebrity Britney Spears with the suggestion that there may be some form of substance abuse, and Fergusson candidly opened up about his own experience with addiction and overcoming similar demons. However, it seems that this time, perhaps because it is a politician, or someone who made such a public denial, there’s little sympathy for Rob Ford. But what about the casual ridiculing of those other people affected by crack cocaine implicated by these jokes at Fords expense?

What do I think? well I watched those videos with a little bit of laughter, but I was a little bit self conscious about how potentially problematic it could be. I was then reminded of a Chris Rock stand up routine from ‘Born Suspect’ about a similar subject nearly 20 years ago.


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