Is Crazytown worth the read?
Just finished reading Robyn Doolittle`s Crazytown, the story of the Ford family and of how Doolittle and Kevin Donovan reported on the infamous crack video. It`s a quick read and if you have been following the story from day one there`s almost nothing new in it. But it is a handy reminder of a couple of important things.
Firstly, although she gets a bit didactic about it, Doolittle emphasizes the importance of investigative reporting and freedom of the press. I spent months listening to pundits (many of whom knew better) and callers tearing into the Star. At one point where it seemed the video might have vanished forever they become even bolder, attacking every person associated with the paper and calling them liars and partisans. Well the Star may have an inflated sense of its civic importance but never let it be forgotten: they were right about the Garrison Ball, they were right about the crack video and they were right about the mayor being a serial lair.
Secondly, Doolittle`s book creates a time line and an inventory for Ford`s offences and after a while his sense of entitlement and denial become breathtaking. It really is astounding what this guy has gotten away with (so far) and that we have become so complacent about it that weekly reports of him being staggering drunk have become banal.
The writing is workmanlike which is too bad; there is no lack of drama here. And because Doolittle has to continue to work in this town there is a certain colourlessness about the whole thing. It would be a lot more fun if she expressed an opinion or two on the supporting players who are a venal, arrogant, self righteous and childish bunch.
On balance it`s a book written for a foreign audience on a topic most of us already know enough about. And then you have to remind yourself that Rob Ford is running for re-election.