I read Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle's Crazy Town (2014) over the weekend. It certainly caught my attention when it was released, as investigative books about sitting municipal officials are completely unprecedented, but I panned it as part of the collective effort within the city proper (and perhaps the entire country) to avert my senses from anything and everything related to Mayor "Laughable Bumblefuck" and his ongoing one-man race to the bottom.
Dear Mayor, recuse thyself. Attend to help. Go away.
I relented after Doolittle's interview on The Daily Show — a most reprehensible Canadian cliché, forgive me — where she sold the story as a much more comprehensive effort than timing and such attention might otherwise imply. And it is. Here is a book that immediately appealed to the baser sensationalist appetites of the American media behemoth that does not follow their predictable template. Crazy Town is not a cheap shot. It observes a generous, professional respect toward both subject and his family — which is quite a feat, all things considered.
I am not sure how Doolittle managed to put this together in just three months without sacrificing writing quality or organizational clarity but she did. Nor am I sure how Toronto recovers from this unfortunate episode but the book makes taking stock of the situation less onerous than scandal fatigue might suggest.
I would have preferred that the book address two specific issues which have been overlooked but, to be fair, these might be better suited for the inevitable sequel. The first and much more pervasive of the two issues is the deep-rooted social conflation between the alleged substance and class. In other words, the mayor is being popularly admonished the world over not so much for allegedly abusing a substance as he is for allegedly abusing a low class substance. While the book is critical of all substance abuse, it could have made a better use of the platform to correct such social perceptions — especially as it pertains to specific communities.
The second and less pertinent, though no less fascinating, of the two issues is the fact that Toronto has continued to function without a functioning mayor — and then, functioned all the same as the same non-functioning mayor was finally stripped of all meaningful powers. In other words, Toronto may not need a mayor after all. It would certainly be an unspeakably ironic fulfillment of this particular mayor's campaign catchphrase if he inadvertently exposed the redundancy of his own office.