Musings —12.02.2013 09:44 PM—
Rob Ford went to see a football game on Sunday night. The rest of us got to see what people really, truly feel about him.
They flocked to him. They swarmed him. They surrounded him as they tried to get a photograph of themselves with Toronto’s mayor, as he took in an NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
Photographers who had been sent to take pictures of the game turned to take pictures of Ford and the football fans in the stands.
A Toronto man who had purchased the seat on which Ford was sprawled, eating a bucket of chicken wings, wondered on Twitter how he would get what he paid for (don’t we all).
My pal Steve Ladurantaye, who works for the Globe and Mail, was also there. His report was both dry and insightful, and he called the scene in Section 133 “bizarre.” Dozens of football fans appeared determined to try to get their picture taken alongside Toronto’s mayor, he observed.
I was also at the game, with Son Two, in a less-pricey section. I kept one eye on the field, where the Bills would go on to lose to the Falcons in overtime. And I kept one eye on social media, where the circus surrounding Ford was unfolding.
“Why are people trying to get their picture taken with Rob Ford, Dad?” my boy asked me.
“That’s a really good question, buddy,” I said.
Ford’s supporters would say that it is evidence the downtown socialist elites are all wrong, and the common folk — the ones at the NFL game — still love him. After all, they would say, why would anybody scramble to get their picture taken with Rob Ford were it not so?
Ford’s detractors, meanwhile, would be upset and bewildered by it all. Why, they’d ask themselves, would anyone in their right mind want to get their picture taken with Toronto’s crack-smoking, drinking-and-driving, gang-associating, eating-at-home, disgraced and disgraceful mayor? Have they no shame?
Or do the picture-seekers — and this is what the so-called elites fear most — truly support Ford and approve of him?
To answer that question, I refer you to an NFL Super Bowl I attended some years ago in Houston. I went with my university buddy James Villeneuve. Before game day, James and I were at a party and Paris Hilton walked by.
You know, Paris Hilton: Sex tape, reality TV star, drunk driving, cocaine, celebutante.
James hailed her: “Hey, Paris! We’re from Canada! Can me and my friend get a picture with you?”
“Sure,” she drawled. We took the picture. In it, she looks bored and we look amused. Afterwards, James and I would laugh uproariously about that picture.
“What an airhead,” I’d say. “What a ridiculous person. Famous for doing nothing.”
You know where this is going, don’t you, Ford Nation? Sure you do. People flock to get their picture taken with famous people and infamous people. Even (in)famous people who do drugs, drink and drive, and are trailer park trash.
Afterwards, they show the pictures to their friends, like we did with poor old Paris Hilton, and they laugh.
And, Rob? We’re not laughing with you.
We’re laughing at you.