07.26.2011 03:20 PM

Hillbillies R Us

Let’s see:

…and all of it on the same day! Not bad, eh? Yep, we’re Toronto, and we’re world class!

“World-class,” indeed.  But not in the way we’d hoped, I suspect.

Tim Hudak supporter Rob Ford scans the horizon, looking for a small child he can swear at.


  1. Michael S says:

    Ottawa feels your pain and feels relief for coming to its senses with the blandly polite and effective Jim Watson.

    Ford Nation: The best ever ad for “Bland works.”

  2. WDM says:

    Ah incompetent Mayors. My favourite Mayor Larry moment was when he apologized it for the first two years of his mandate.

    First ten comments on the online story? “When do we get our apology for the last two years?”

  3. Dave M says:

    Oh, sweet jesus.

    If Margaret Atwood is the greatest Canadian living writer, then maybe we should just close the libraries.

    • smelter rat says:

      Careful Gord, your mask is slipping….

    • allegra fortissima says:

      Excerpt from Cat’s Eye – by Margaret Atwood

      “I get off the duvet, feeling as I haven’t slept. I riffle through the herbal tea bags in the kitchenette, Lemon Mist, Morning Thunder, and bypass them in favor of some thick, jolting, poisonous coffee. I find myself standing in the middle of the main room, not knowing exactly how I got here from the kitchenette. A little time jump, a little static on the screen, probably jet lag: up too late at night, dragged in the morning. Early Alzheimer’s.

      I sit at the window, drinking my coffee, biting my fingers, looking down the five stories. From this angle the pedestrians appear squashed from above, like deformed children. All around are flat-roofed, boxy warehouse buildings, and beyond them the flat railroad lands where the trains used to shunt back and forth, once the only entertainment available here on Sundays. Beyond that is flat Lake Ontario, a zero at the beginning and a zero at the end, slate-gray and brimming with venoms. Even the rain from it is carcinogenic.”


      • allegra fortissima says:

        Excerpt from The Underpainter – byJane Urquhart

        “”I knew nothing of passion then. Two decades would have to pass before I would be able to recognize it when I was in its company, and, even now, I am not certain that I ever let it slip beneath my own skin. Still, after I had looked at George’s face that August afternoon, something briefly altered in me and I was able to turn and see the summer landscape as I never had before. It was almost evening, the fields that lay before us were richly lit, as if the sun that had poured itself into the earth all day, all season long, were now being released through bark and foliage. Fields of grain, elm trees, sumac bushes, pine groves became sources rather than reflectors of light, the soft shapes of hardwood lots seemed as full of sky as the banks of cumulus clouds that floated above them.”

        THIS is literature. Excellent literature.

        • Dave M says:

          And Canadian! And…

          *runs off to check wikipedia*


          Seriously, it took someone one try to find a better living Canadian writer than Margaret Atwood.

        • Philip says:

          I actually liked both quoted passages. Both were well written, just different styles. Literary taste is a pretty subjective thing.

    • Jan says:

      I would never expect you to read her – are you kidding? That’s the thing about books and libraries, Gord, there is something for everyone.

    • WildGuesser says:

      Truly. I’m glad I only had to slog through one of her books in uni. I really hope the world does not see her as indicative of the quality of the upper echelon of canlit.

  4. john says:

    Seriously…we have how many more years of this idiot?

  5. smelter rat says:

    Gord, please identify for us which basic human right is being violated by seatbelt laws. Take your time, think about it before putting it in writing.

    • Patrick says:

      A seatbelt only protects the driver. Kids aside, no-one is a greater judge of their own level of personal safety than themselves. Not you, not the government.

      • smelter rat says:

        Uh huh. That may be the stupidest post I’ve read today. congrats.

        • Patrick says:


          “Take your time, think about it before putting it in writing.”

          I kindly ask you to take your own advice. Noone expects you to agree.

          I happen to think that any discussion of personal liberty is far too important to be casually dismissed as “stupid”. That’s just me though. I feel that when we fail to confornt government on the seemingly mundaine examples of the exercise of our personal liberties, we are eventually faced with having to defend against the bigger ones. And it may be a lot harder then.

          I think it’s ironic that WK followed this thread with the “woman’s right to chose” discussion. I’ll bet you’re in complete compliance with that, yet – at the same time – are willing to surrender your freedom to chose to the government over a matter that concerns absolutely no-one but yourself.

  6. Iris Mclean says:

    That picture almost begs for a Photoshop contest.

  7. Steve V says:

    Who knew Jabba The Hut could drive?

  8. Wannabeapiper says:

    The Ford’s may read more fast food/drive through menus, than books. That was a bit mean of me, but the real mayor (Doug Ford) she at least recognize Atwood’s name and should be less ignorant.
    Anyway, the voters are always correct-right?
    Therefore they are and will be getting everything they voted for and everything they deserve and from what I saw-I don’t know if any of the other mayoral candidates at the time, were any better-maybe just different.

    Calling them ‘hillbillies’, in my view, is a great injustice. Hillbillies are smarter and I bet know who wrote the Declaration of Independence. I’ll bet the Fords don’t know the year of Canadian Confederation or the first Prime Minister of Canada. You don’t need to know this information when you run a Label making Company.

    God man, Dougy dissed a Canadian Literary Icon-maybe not the best one, but one just the same. Depressing ……………..

  9. The Doctor says:

    Most of us would recognize M Atwood if we saw her on the street — she’s pretty distinctive looking. So if Doug Ford really can’t, well, I guess that means he’s not much of a follower of Canadiana. Whatever.

    Atwood has every right as a citizen to pipe up about issues she cares about, and to slag Doug Ford. And Doug Ford has every right to slag her back. That’s democracy, ain’t it?

    I have mixed feelings about his statement re: Atwood running for office. On the one hand, I can see how celebrity activists like Atwood would sometimes understandably bug politicians, because celebrity activists are a bit like backseat drivers with a huge bully pulpit from which to preach (witness the size of Atwood’s twitter base). They get to criticize all they want, without really having the responsibility of actually participating in government or party politics. On the other hand, free speech is free speech and you have to put up with the flak if you’re going to be a politician.

    • JenS says:

      And beyond that, politicians are elected to represent the electorate – which means listening respectfully to views without taking potshots at the individuals who bring those views forward.

      No one was ever going to accuse Rob or Doug of reading a book anyway, so really, I hope Ms. At wood took no umbrage.

    • Matt says:

      I got into this yesterday with some folks at work.

      I highly doubt that “Most of Us” (majority of torontonians) know who Margaret Atwood is.

      “Most of us” wouldn’t not recognize her walking down the street.

      “Most of us” don’t know who she is or what she does.

      “Most of us” would not be able to name a single book she’s written – forget having read one. (I’ve read Alias Grace and was not a fan of it. And to shut down the expected attack I read a book a week – everything from Hawking to Dawkins to Kafka to King)

      “Most of us” could care less what her political opinions are. The problems of the literati are not our problems nor are our problems theirs.

      So Doug ford couldn’t pick atwood out of a lineup. Who cares? Only the elitists that couldn’t defeat him in an election.

      • Philip says:

        Only “elitists”? What about “multicultural Marxists”? It seems like I have been hearing that a lot these days.

        • Matt says:

          No. Just elitists.

          • Philip says:

            I’m not all that certain that some one who reads Kafka and Hawkings gets to throw around labels such as: “elitist” without getting some of that on their own shoes. You can be smart and still enjoy a double double. “Elitist” is such a made up label, it can mean anything to anyone. I would have thought anyone who has read and understands Kafka would grasp the point.

          • Matt says:

            It’s not the reading of Kafka, Hawkings or Atwood that makes someone elitist. It is the belief that not knowing who they are or being familiar with their works makes you somehow less fit for public office.

          • Matt says:

            Nice straw man setup by the way. Good work.

          • allegra fortissima says:

            Naming Kafka, Hawkings and Atwood – Atwood! – in one sentence, now that really hurts.

            I guess I am just an elitist, “spoiled” by Marcel Reich-Ranicki for a lifetime…

          • Philip says:

            Well I guess that could be your personal definition of elitist. It’s not mine. But that is the danger with labels, the word “elitist” is so broad, filled with so much personal opinion, it becomes meaningless.

            I don’t think it is “elitist” to expect a minimum of intelligence or manners from those who hold public office. Exactly how does being ignorant of the world around you make a person more authentic or effective at being a mayor or council-person.

          • Matt says:

            Philip. It’s elitiest to think that the ability to pick Margaret Atwood out of a group of people on the street is the threshold of “minimum intelligence” you deem worthy of public office.

            Exactly how does knowing who Margaret Atwood “make a person more authentic or effective at being a mayor or council-person”? That’s the question.

          • Philip says:

            Well A for effort on that one Matt, but you don’t get to set up your own pet definition of “elitist” as the frame to your accusation. Recognizing Margret Atwood on the street, as some sort of CanLit Where’s Waldo, is not the entry requirement for public office in Toronto.
            Well I do know that throwing temper tantrums at City Council meetings when a vote doesn’t make for an effective office holder. I can also guess that after being busted talking on a cell phone while driving by one of your constituents, the proper reaction wouldn’t be to scream obscenities and then flip off her and her 6 year old daughter. Lord knows it may be authentic but it certainly ain’t effective.

  10. The Doctor says:

    Re the article about Rob Ford, cellphone, middle digit etc.: I find it interesting how, ever since cell phone & driving bans have come into force, people tend to be quite vocal about enforcing that ban. It’s unlike just about any other law: e.g., I don’t see people very often driving up beside people and going out of their way to upbraid them for speeding, not using their indicator lights, etc. But for some reason, it’s like all kinds of people out there feel a personal duty to help enforce the cellphone ban. I wonder why that one in particular turns so many people into quasi-cops.

  11. Jan says:

    Do explain the difference between beige and taupe, as you understand it, Gord?

    • Attack! says:

      Yeah, the con’s default, auto-reflex, shoot the messenger by branding them as a hypocrite or incompetent kicks in.

      As it happens,

      not only is “taupe” itself “a vague, unscientific color term which may be used to refer to almost any grayish-brown, brownish-gray, or warm gray color” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taupe

      but it also wasn’t even the witness herself who described it that way, but the Star’s headline or caption writers, and/or their photographer, whom the photo is credited to.

      You would think a pious media commenter would be able to distinguish between the interviewee’s statements and the paper’s own contributions before using an unattributed description to malign someone’s professional abilities.

  12. MetaKaizen says:

    Ghandi was civil resistance, Gord. A Mayor giving the finger to a six year-old? Not so much.

    Credit where it is due, though. Your uncovering of the van’s true colour really gets to the heart of the argument.

    • Attack! says:

      “meritorious civil resistance” my eye.

      regardless of what occasioned it (and — you’re in insurance; you really think it’s a trivial matter that’s no one’s business but one’s own when a driver’s focus is split and one of his hands is occupied by a phone while driving?!)

      you’re such a pill.

      Anybody who knows you knows you’d be going ballistic if this had been a pol. you’re not keen on, like possibly Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who’d given YOUR wife and 6-year old daughter the “Trudeau Salute.”

      You’d be calling for them to be ridden out of town — or at least office — on a rail.

      but cognitive dissonance to the rescue. Ford’s a hero, rah rah. For, um, bullying a six year old.

    • Jan says:

      Don’t tell me you’re one of those that deal under the table to avoid paying tax?

    • Philip says:

      Gord, do you let your insurance clients not pay taxes on the policies you sell them? If a customer offered to pay in cash only, would you let them slide on the GST? A man of deeply held convictions, a man such as yourself, would insist that his clients not pay the applicable taxes on their policies, as, a matter of principle.
      I’m just curious, as to my way of thinking, a man who avoids pay tax when it concerns his own purchases yet charges that tax to others, is less about civil disobedience and more about saving a fee bucks.

  13. Jon Powers says:

    Ha! Ford’s popularity just doubled!

  14. Tim says:

    The voters are pissed off and ready to vote Tory. The Fords are an outrage but people are outraged and this sort of thing just feeds the fire. This didn’t work in the mayoral campaign. It won’t work here. Try something else. If you pull this one off you can lead the federal Liberal renaissance.

    • McGuinty Conservative says:

      Of course, I also want McGuilty to win, but for my own reasons that are different than yours.

      Dalton is only about 5 points behind Hudak. Negative attacks will appear shrill and backfire.

      He’d have a better chance to win if he ran a straight campaign.

  15. CQ says:

    Using the 2011 One Toronto Core West alphabetical phonebook listings, I counted the Tim Horton’s for the area of Spadina Ave. and Eglinton Ave. West, across to the Humber river and south to Lake Ontario. The total… 21, plus two Timothy’s World Coffees.
    Using the Public Library’s own 2011 Hours & Locations map, same 7.8 x6.8 km Toronto Central West area I counted… 21, plus two bookmobiles.

    note: The Lilian H. Smith branch is excluded (slightly east of Spadina). Tim shops were guessed using two maps, bike and closeup of downtown, with occasional street numbers.

  16. McGuinty Conservative says:

    Libraries are facing cuts because the entire history of the world and every piece of classic literature is readily available on the internet. I have uploaded complete works of Poe, Lovecraft, Nietzsche, etc, to my portable reading devicie — all public domain stuff.

    Unions representing librarians even put out ad campaigns to “Save Our Libraries”, but the handwriting is on the wall.

    I was clearing out my bookshelves of books whose versions I now have digitized, and when I went to donate them to the library, they said they were only taking those that were two years old or less. I couldn’t even give them away.

    Even chain bookstores are feeling the pinch. Borders recently declared bankruptcy in the US. The rest of the chains are also on life support.

    That libraries and book stores are on life support doesn’t mean that people are reading less. In fact, thanks to the internet, people are reading a lot more than ever before. It might not be in a linear fashion where someone takes the time to read an entire book from front to end, but by following hyperlinks, having fun debates on internet forums. Sometimes I get lost for several hours on Wikipedia.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      There’s something about a book, though, that can’t be duplicated on the Internet. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but I can attest that, when my Mom’s appendix blew up (didn’t know she still had it!) and she ended up in hospital for nearly a month, everybody bought her flowers…

      …but I bought her a book.

      A big, bejesus book about Michelangelo and his artworks, complete with some really stunning photography.

      She asked me not to say anything to anyone else, but she told me that, out of all the symbolic items of get-well wishes, that big bejesus book was the best thing anybody could have brought her.

      My brother and I tried to teach her how to use a computer, but she couldn’t seem to catch on, and lost interest. So, in this case at least, the physical book served an important function.

      • JenS says:

        Also, you can’t sit and read a digitized version of a book in the bathtub. Well, you can, but I’d sooner drop a $14.99 book in the tub than a Kobo. Just sayin’ . . .

      • McGuinty Conservative says:

        I don’t celebrate the slow death of print media, but I was just stating reality. I do still have a beautiful collection of books and magazines. But I made the decision to de-clutter my book shelf of those text-only books that are easily available in digital form. I’ve read them, and with my propensity to read new material, I find it far more convenient to have a collection of PDF files for reference.

        I understand the concept of the library as a safety net where literacy programs can be held, etc. But I think we will surely not need as many of them like we used to.

        Digital book readers are just as good for reading text as a book, however. But I concur that a book on Michelangelo with several photographs looks better in book form rather than reading it on a computer screen.

  17. MLukas says:

    The title of this blog post says it all….love it.

  18. DB Smith says:

    Who would have thought, backroom Liberals working with Conservatives, backroom Conservatives working with Liberals, and as for the “scandal” – what scandal all you have is the CBC doing what they do best, which is try and create a story.

    “As noted by the Globe, the company in question was deeply involved in George Abbott’s unsuccessful campaign to win the BC Liberal leadership.”

    “An official with the BC finance department — which managed the contracting process — told the Globe that the firm provided the “best value” out of the three bids that were privately solicited by the government. “

  19. Michael says:

    I think Rob Ford was just trying to tell everyone he was number one. 😉

  20. The Other Jim says:

    I don’t care for the Ford brothers at all – they strike me as boors, loudmouths, and hypocrites. Mayor Ford’s alleged behaviour in the van sadly does not seem to be at all out of character for him. Sadder still, many of his supporters will view this as some noble “way to stick it to those pinkos, Rob!” type of moment, rather than actions that demean the office and fly in the face of his claims to be a “Mayor for the People”.

    That said, this annoying, self-righteous Helen Lovejoy wannabe should have minded her own f’n business.

    From the article – “So they did what they always do when they dislike something. They gave him a thumbs-down, and Mason rolled down her window and said: ‘Get off your cellphone.’


  21. Ian says:

    Would someone please ask the man in the photo to close his mouth when he’s breathing.

  22. ok says:

    The question is whether or not Mayor Ford like Toronto or hate majority of Torontonian?


    he just come to add defamation to city of Toronto

    or make it more ridiculus

    Mayor need class care and understand and feel people and link with them

    or they may choose him by purposal to fight majority of Torontonian

    by the way WHY prince william did not come to Toronto?

    I think right wing has bad plan for Toronto and plan to mess with us here!

    where this Ford guy come from he look like pig to me! he does not have energy to work hard

  23. JP says:

    The photograph of Toronto’s dear leader has an uncanny resemblence to the character Private Pile in the movie Full Metal Jacket.
    I think the meltdown of the Grim Brothers of old Toronto town is now starting…hopefully not with the same outcome as Pile.

  24. Darren K says:

    The Fords are badness, but I do take issue with Atwood being the greatest living Canadian author. How about Farley Mowat? How about Canadian Sci-Fi writers Robert J. Sawyer and Tanya Huff – both of whom I went to university with.

    How about our kind host, Warren Kinsella?

    All better choices. Sorry Ms. Atwood

    • Matt says:

      hear hear. Heck. I’d even chose that windbag with the booklist Yaan Martel. At least his books are entertaining. The only people that consider Atwood the greatest are the Adrian Clarkson, silver spoon types.

      • Philip says:

        Literary taste is a pretty subjective standard, what you may find good, another may not. Labelling another person’s taste in books as “elitist” or “silver spoon” is a little silly. Personally I find only some of Atwood’s material good but then I would argue William Gibson is our greatest living Canadian author. Perhaps some may not share that opinion.

        • Matt says:

          OHH I agree that it is pretty subjective. That’s why I don’t think we should slag a guy for not knowing who Ms Atwood is nor do I see it as a sign of intelligence to be able to recognize her on the street. I don’t know who william gibson is. Does that make me unfit for public office?

          • Philip says:

            No, but then again you could have plenty of other perfectly valid reasons why you should never hold public office. Anger issues, the admitted inability to follow the Ontario Highway Act and an aversion to take responsibility for one’s actions. Those are a few reasons why a person would be unfit to hold public office.

            Out of curiosity, you clearly agree that literary taste is subjective yet you seem to feel you are entitled to label other’s taste in books as “elitist” or “silver spoon”. Why?

          • Matt says:

            Those may (or may not) be valid reasons but they weren’t the valid reasons you (or the original poster) cited in the original argument. They cited the fact that ford couldn’t recognize Atwood on the street as a valid reason and that’s what is elitist whereas i don’t believe that the recognition of Margaret Atwood or her works enters into the equation at all.

            Perhaps I misspoke above, and unlike many people am willing to apologize for it. So I’m sorry that I said only elitists like Atwood. It’s not liking Atwood that makes one elitist, it’s the belief that not knowing who she is makes you less intelligent, less able to hold office or makes you a less civilized human being.

  25. Domenico says:

    Who thought we would be fondly remembering the quiet dignity Mel Lastman brought to the Mayor’s office…..

    • The Doctor says:

      Yeah, that interview on CNN during the SARS crisis, in which Mel wondered who the hell the World Health Organization was — that was the high point for me 🙂

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