Happy Valentine’s Day. The Toronto mayor John Tory resigned the other day for schtupping a staff member and the Universal Bullshit Translator is here for it. (I will announce poetry winners later today. So much snark, so little time.)
An alert chump sent me Rosie DeMano’s hand-wringing op-ed in the Toronto Star on why John Tory’s wandering dick should still be in office.
We’ll just get straight to the Lebkuchen.
Pride and prejudice and punishment: The fall and folly of John Tory.
This isn’t a political scandal. It’s a Jane Austen plot. Willoughby!
He led the city through a ravaging pandemic. He pleaded with us to keep a distance, to be cautious, to take care.
But somewhere along the line, he threw prudence to the wind.
He fucked a staffer. Her name might be Prudence.
The heart wants what it wants, I guess.
Chaos. Impending lawsuits. A long marriage imploded.
He drew close, intimately close, to a woman who was not his wife.
He flew too close to the sun. Our Canadian Icarus.
I have no prejudice against Tory for that, won’t even call him foolish. Glass houses and all that.
As you probably guessed, I’m a cheater too.
But while his pride has been stripped to the bone, the punishment for his indiscretion – even if the sanction was self-imposed – is inordinately high.
Tory should not have resigned as mayor of Toronto.
He should stay and get handsy with the interns.
I can’t think of a good reason why Tory is less fit to occupy the mayor’s office today than he was a week ago, or less than four months ago, when voters overwhelmingly elected him to a historic third term.
A man who can lie to his wife’s face would never lie to the electorate. We’re special!
I can’t think of a public interest reason to have exposed Tory’s extramarital affair with a member of his staff either.
I can’t think of a reason, which means there are no reasons. Not that my head is empty.
Behold the wreckage: A city in administrative chaos, a marriage in turmoil, a reputation in tatters, and a return to Crazy Town down at the hall.
It’s almost like… he did something… and these are consequences.
Let’s blame the consequences and not his actions.
People who fuck around on those nearest and dearest to them always have everyone’s best interests in mind.
Toronto will emerge from the ashes of Tory’s imploded mayoralty sturdily enough, confronting the same social and economic dilemmas that had beset it before Friday. Just as it survived the ball-and-chain of office that once hung around the neck of Rob Ford. Though the two predicaments couldn’t be more dissimilar. Ford was a crack-smoking lout with casually racist tendencies who befouled everything he touched. Tory is a casualty of hackneyed morality.
Hey Toronto, let’s all get phoenix tattoos like Ben Affleck! #riseup
Sex scandals don’t have much of a shelf-life and little of significant bearing on the commonwealth beyond the thrill of breathless scuttlebutt. John Profumo’s notorious affair with 19-year-old Christine Keeler back in the ’60s may have brought down a British prime minister over an alleged security risk — Profumo, Minister of War, leg-overing a teenager who may have been simultaneously sleeping with a possible Russian spy, amidst Cold War tensions. But U.S. President Bill Clinton is still viewed as a great statesman despite his lyin’ bit on the side with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Republicans impeached Clinton and the media impeached Lewinsky — who’s subsequently reinvented herself as a sympathetic figure in the #MeToo era and anti-bullying champion.
Monica Lewinsky has made one hell of a shell-life out of a sex scandal. But look, great statesmen fuck around on their wives. Expect it. Admire it! Honeytrap it and blackmail it for its secrets!
Leg-over the hackneyed morality, I say, and fuck it with the Daily Mail. I like my prime ministers compromised.
Tory’s straycation has none of that, well, puerility, apart from the dramatic age difference. Golly, a woman less than half Tory’s age still finds him shag-worthy? Touchdown and dancing in the end zone.
Have you seen John Tory’s pandemic hair? Or his 68-year-old white Canadian man dance moves? I’d tap that.
As sex scandals go, however, this is fundamentally about a decent man who betrayed his wife of some 44 years.
What’s her name?
Not the man we thought we knew or the man as he’s habitually presented himself — upstanding, devoted husband, a model of rectitude. But who is, really, what they project? In the shadows, especially, of an alluring tryst.
Call me, John. 1-800-HACKNEY. Wear your devoted husband mask. We’ll do it in the shadows behind the Aspidistras.
He deceived his spouse, not the electorate.
Who cares about his spouse? Not me.
That was no cause to resign, though quit he did on Friday evening, with a confessional if cursory statement delivered at a press conference, an hour or so after the Star broke the exclusive story online.
At the end of the day, I’m thinking: So what? If that’s the worst of Tory’s sins, so bloody what? And I’m not a Tory cheerleader.
I’m just okay with creepy power imbalances in the workplace and domestic abuse. It’s not like I break out pompoms.
News judgment, when and what to publish, is subjective, often heatedly debated in the top editors’ offices, and fortunately way above my paygrade. But I know, from more than four decades at the Star, that this paper, for all its progressive values – which I generally share – has, historically, a weird puritanical streak.
I blame the lawyers. And those harassment settlements.
I don’t question the reporting, I question why it was published. Where is the public service in outing an intensely private matter that appeared to have no political relevance, no legal shakiness, no employment inequity? And I ask that while honestly wondering why Tory stepped down so hastily, which might suggest there are further layers to the story, to which I’m not privy.
I wouldn’t have run it, which is maybe why nobody has ever invited me to join management. The view is better down here anyway.
There’s no employment inequity of a mayor schtupping a much younger staffer. Human resources loves this shit.
Sitting in a downtown diner Saturday morning, listening to the conversations around me — Tory the subject du jour — the prevailing sentiment was lament more than anything else for a man who through hubris or selfishness or poor judgment has been brought to embarrassing ruin. Nobody among this chattering class at least reached for a political spin — leave that to the sententious rabble at city hall, some of whom have been suckling at the political teat for far too long.
I Rosie am a woman of the diner. I suck at op-eds, not political teats.
Tory described his months-long dalliance with a 31-year-old member of his staff — since departed, the affair ended — as a “serious error in judgment,” a relationship that did “not meet the standards to which I hold myself as mayor and as a family man.”
I guess the heart wanted a serious error in judgment.
I don’t know about that because the details are skimpy. Maybe it was a great relationship while it lasted. Maybe it fulfilled something that was lacking in Tory’s life. Maybe he loved her and was loved back. Maybe it was a bluntly sexual compulsion. And maybe marriage and fidelity aren’t the bedrock of a civilized society. Many of us no longer take the traditional view of marriage as a lifelong sentence of exclusivity, forsaking all others. Intimacy grows stale, passion replaced by companionable ease.
Maybe Tory’s dick was the most important thing. More important than his wife, or family, or Toronto, or city budgets, or municipal works projects. Maybe Tory’s dick is the bedrock of civilized society. Tory’s dick never grows stale, or lacks companionship. Tory’s dick 2024!
Is it so wrong to snatch at the enticement of something more, at desire gratified? Certainly social media — for what that’s worth — had been pulsing with pious outrage. Though an equally robust segment — reading the comments — are astonished by all the fuss and the crashing consequence.
Is it so wrong to snatch some workplace snatch? To gratify one’s desires at the expense of, oh, everyone else but especially your devoted wife who’s going to some stultifying ribbon cutting on your behalf and isn’t fucking the help?
I am astonished by the fuss.
There’s no law in Ontario, as the Star reportage pointed out, that prohibits workplace romances between consenting adults, including bosses and employees. Toronto city council’s Code of Conduct doesn’t specifically address affairs of the heart, or loins, between councillors and their staff. The city’s Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy ensures every employee equal treatment free from sexual harassment, which includes (under Ontario law), protection against unwelcome sexual advances from someone in a position to confer a benefit or promotion.
Porcupines cavort recklessly among Methodists. Aloysius! This is a hot calzone! Blow-dry my pantaloons and call me a turnip.
I’m sorry, the UBT appears to be malfunctioning. I don’t know how much more it can take.
It’s possible there’s more beneath the surface of this particular workplace liaison. But thus far there’s no evidence of coercion or preferential treatment for the unidentified woman – raises, bonuses, favouritism. And spare me the patronizing mantra of an inherent imbalance of power between the participants. That implies an adult professional female is incapable of making her own decisions. It infantilizes women, in my opinion, even as I acknowledge that cultural standards have changed. But surely that shift shouldn’t demonize either the man or the woman in a consensual affair. We don’t stone adulterers. We don’t assume the man is a seducer or the woman a succubus.
Do not patronize professional females, except Monica Lewinsky who was a total innocent. It’s totally empowering to fuck your boss.
Intimate relationships are complex. Anyone who insists de facto otherwise — lots of that going around at city hall and the clucking disapprovers enjoying Tory’s political demise — has a poor grasp of the tangled dynamics between women and men, nuances that can’t be codified in legislation and regulations.
Cheating on one’s wife is so complicated. I’m not sure chumpy lady brains can understand it. Let’s call in some mathematicians to explain the tangles. Ipso facto Texas wacko. Nuances that can’t be canoodled in aspic.
I’m sorry. We’re losing the UBT.
Ethics can be hard to quantify, integrity resistant to facile calibration, character a reductive construct. A person can be two things at once or different things in separate situations. A man can love his wife and still philander, to use another judgment-heavy term. Personally, I was far more disappointed in Tory supporting a motion last week that struck down a health board recommendation to keep warming centres for the homeless open around the clock until mid-April, opting for further staff study. That was the Tory his critics deride to the T: overly cautious and prudent to a fault, where a city in severe decline is crying out for urgent action.
Ethics are like Chinese spy balloons, hard to quantify, integrity resistant… are there 4, 20? Are they wayward party favors lost over Montana? Who will shoot them down with heavy judgment. BE FREE BALOON.
Personally, I was far more disappointed by my genital warts. They need a warming compress. Or a health recommendation. I cry out for urgent action. John! Call me!
I may be a morals outlier or ethically deficient. But better that than scandal-mongering and sanctimonious.
I may be intellectually deficient nor aware of a moral if it bit my left nipple. But better that than bilious cattle herding and gin rummy. Good day to you!