I’m sure you’ve run into people who can’t take a joke, but Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis has taken this concept to heretofore unseen heights.
Apparently, some enterprising central Illinois denizen decided to assuage their ennui by creating a twitter account depicting hizzoner as some sort of Rob Ford wannabe complete with allusions of drug use, a love of strippers, and, of course, a fondness for the crack pipe.
It may not have been in good taste, but unless you’ve been to Peoria, then you have no idea what that level boredom can do to people – and the lengths to which they’ll go to relieve it.
But instead of simply shaking it off, and despite the fact the Twitter account had already been suspended for two weeks, Mayor Ardis managed to get a judge to sign a search warrant and brought the full weight of the Peoria PD down on the suspected miscreants.
You can read about it right here in the Peoria Journal Star.
And while everyone’s going berserk over the blisteringly obvious First Amendment ramifications, they’re completely missing the real point.
Which is this!
At its height, of Peoria’s 115,000 residents, this faux Twitter account managed to attract a mere 48 adherents, or slightly less than the number of people who watched “Keeping up With the Kardashians.” Sure Capitol Fax picked up on it, but even their vast might couldn’t drive the account into triple digits.
But now, due to an ill-advised police raid that would’ve made a Navy seal team proud, to say this story has gone viral is like saying there’s been a bit of speculation on the disposition of flight 370. So instead of the audience being about the size a soccer team, this story has become fodder for our friends all the way in the UK.
And it’s far from over! Because the inevitable lawsuits will keep it in the news for years to come.
So while some folks might subscribe to the notion that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” I believe Mayor Ardis, who wasn’t all that popular to begin with, is about to find out that sentiment only applies to folks like the real Rob Ford.
Oh, the irony!