I have no idea why no one has put it together.
Let me be the first, then, to advance the theory: Justin Bieber – kin to Rob Ford?
Crazy, I know. But do not discount it out of hand. Based purely on strikingly similar bad behavior, it is not impossible that the two Toronto-area bad boys (Bieber was raised in Stratford) share genetic makeup. It would, if nothing else, help to explain how our profoundly civil, order-obsessed, cross-border neighbor could produce two such wild spawn.
Both men are notorious for public drunkenness and illegal drug use (Ford: crack; Bieber: pot, steroids). Both make ungodly sounds in public (Ford: last week’s rasta-inflected rant at a fast food place; Bieber: performing before huge arena crowds). Both gyrate as if gripping a live wire, are in dire need of intervention and grow more obnoxious with time. Bieber was just charged with assaulting a Toronto limo driver. Toronto’s mayor was sued last week for allegedly plotting a jailhouse attack two years ago on his sister’s ex-boyfriend.
I rest my case.
Granted, the genetic-connection theory is pure speculation. The two have markedly dissimilar body types; The portly Ford, indeed, looks like he has engorged three or four Biebers. Ford is a rich kid, Bieber was working-class. Interestingly for genetic-conspiracy theorists, Ford recently defended Bieber’s behavior – an endorsement that, considering the source, did the teen idol more harm than good.
Although the prospect of shared DNA is unlikely, the two indisputably belong to the same brotherhood of bad behavior. Their chronic antics seem contrary to the sane civic sensibility of a country whose national policies contribute to excellent health care, minimal gun violence and ghetto-free cities. Which raises the question: How does a country that prides itself on civility, order and shared purpose breed two lunatics whose substance abuse, boundary-crossing and self-control challenges seem more characteristic of made-in-America egomaniacs?
“Most Canadians, I think, blame America for Bieber – he’s lived there a long time,” said Cathal Kelly. “Ford, I have no explanation for.”
Kelly is the Toronto Star columnist who recently chronicled Buffalo’s assets for readers. He told me that Ford’s lunacy may appeal to the inner rebel of – stereotype alert – a buttoned-down citizenry.
“I think there’s a perverse side of Torontonians that is enjoying this, as much as people publicly say they’re offended,” theorized Kelly. “It’s like we’re rubber-necking at an accident scene. There’s a grim side of people that enjoys watching someone self-destruct in public – which ties into the Bieber thing ... People want to see just how bad it can get.”
For Torontonians, the “entertainment” is never-ending. With a mayor who – unlike his American counterparts – is largely a figurehead, people can afford to sit back and watch the relatively harmless (except, sadly, to himself) resident civic clown.
In a perverse way, Ford Unchained may even provide reassurance to the masses.
“As bad as you may think your life is,” said Kelly, “when you look at Ford’s, you see that you’re not that messed up.”
The same sentiment applies to Ford’s brother in bad behavior, Bieber.
Shared DNA? Given the country’s civic sanity, never say never.