Were you the tiniest bit surprised at the outpouring of media affection which accompanied the news that, as the Los Angeles Times headline put it, “Rob Ford, scandal-prone former Toronto mayor, dies of cancer at 46”? It wasn’t just the crack-smoking that, caught on video, first brought him to international attention in 2013, nor the public confession in light of this damning evidence that, yes, he guessed he must have “tried” crack, “probably in one of my drunken stupors.” Nor was it the brawling, drunkenness, and sexual misbehavior that characterized so much of his public life and made him, in the words of his political opponent and successor as mayor, John Tory, “a profoundly human guy whose presence in our city will be missed.” Nor was it just that Canadians are more polite and, therefore, less likely to...

 

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