12.02.2013 09:44 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: Paris Ford

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.

18 Comments

  1. Colin says:

    When I was nine years-old in nineteen sixty four, I would have loved to have had my picture taken with Schlitzy the Monkey Man at the CNE’s Freakshow.

  2. Sean says:

    Bang on Warren.

  3. patrick says:

    And people are too decent to say what they really think, “I have to get my picture taken with you because you’re such a freak and people won’t believe it.”

  4. Paul says:

    hmmm…maybe …I think we need to be careful about assuming the general public is happy with whsat they consider the elites managaing the political scene….Ford didnt get in because his talent – he got in because folks were fed up with Millar and taxes…

    • Kelly says:

      …And because of vote splitting and a lack of credible candidates on the other side and because his campaign team engaged in misinformation and a tiny proportion of voters bothered to vote. He won’t win next time. People realize their votes matter and they will come out in droves next time and kick both Fords asses. There is always about 20% of the population that will vote for lunkheads like Ford and left over elements of the Reform Party — the party of bigots and nobodies, the party for no-nothings. They can only EVER get in because of progressive vote splitting, by cheating, or both.

  5. thomas gallezot says:

    We?

  6. Jeff says:

    As an aside, I’m not so sure the people who attend NFL games in Toronto are as heavily skewed to ‘the common folk’ as they might be at a Bills game in Buffalo, say. Lots of ‘latte swilling elites’ there in Rogers Centre, I know for a fact.

  7. WestGuy says:

    Put it this way – if you had to choose between voting for Mike Duffy and voting for Charlie Sheen, who would you vote for.
    I get a sense that Ford’s election was less about how popular he was and more about how unpopular the others were. Clearly his “gravy train” mantra struck a chord.
    And whether they’re laughing with Ford or at him, it’s sort of irrelevant if the voters dislike or distrust the others more than they dislike/distrust Ford. Ford is living proof of the old addage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
    Add to that the fact that the Toronto council just voted themselves a raise (right after stripping him of his authority) it seems they just don’t get it. What they’ve done, essentially, is handed Ford an ideal “gravy-train” example for him to use during next year’s election campaign. When he had authority, he saved money, when he had no authority, the politicians lined up at the trough.

  8. Well I hope you are right, but I would not count on it. Chow is going to be attacked with plenty of venom and vitriol, and as most people only know that she is a prominent Dipper, lots of stuff will stick to her. Polling numbers putting her way out in front cannot factor in the charicaturisation of her as a hard left socialist that will surely be coming soon to a TV near you. I think all those people who voted for the first time in their lives for their ‘drinkin buddy’ Ford will be heading out to vote for the second time in their lives next October. If I were camapigning for Ford Nation, I would be doing pretty well what they are doing now. Canvassing, signing up volunteers, squeezing cash and electoral assets out of deep pockets. The Ford ground game could still be the most potent political force Toronto has ever seen. And there is little oversight at the municipal level to curb their campaign. They could (and will) spend $millions before the legal campaign period begins on Jan 1. And they have found the magic buttons that get totally disinterested people excited about politics, and willing to go and vote. For all of my disgust for them, this basic fact is noteworthy. They engage with and motivate an electorate that has passively-resisted all past attempts to engage them in politics.

  9. Mark Kalzer says:

    “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?”

    Ah yes and here we come to one of my favourite political failings. The false assumption that the people who choose to share a room with you represent the majority and that those who are absent can be classified as the elite minority and inconsequential. I’ve seen it happen at every level of my (limited) political involvement. While one candidate or person in power is bragging about all the wonderful people in the room here to show support, I’ve been that lone wolf begging to ask about the people who are not here. Aren’t THEY the majority? This room can’t possibly be that big can it? I remember quite vivedly being shot down openly questioning this logic.

  10. davidray says:

    In the movie Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence says of his
    Arab cohorts “You are a little people” when they revert to murder and base tribalism. Despite our thin veneer of supposed sophistication Rob Ford has shown we too have a long way to go before we ever grow.. even a little.

  11. Robin says:

    Rob Ford is so delusional that he mistakes mockery to be adulation; or, he is so sadly desperate for attention, he doesn’t care. It’s pathetic.

  12. Bart Slamengo says:

    Logical outgrowth of a bread and circus society.

    A place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes…as political landscapes dissolve – (Bukowski)

    Lifestyle marketing at its finest; i.e. binge drinking, cocaine, night clubs, SUVs, etc are all normative

    A cautionary tale:

    http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/49721712.html

  13. Warren, sorry, but I am not with you on this one. The fact that you, me and most of the people on this blog think Ford is a loser and should not run again, let alone get elected, is irrelevant. Lots of people who don’t usually vote will vote for Ford again, simply because he is not an elite with Upper Canada College /U of T status. Sadly, supporting Ford is the perfect way to flip the bird to the establishment. Call it “the Fuck Rosedale Vote”. “Vote for Rob Ford”. Hope I am wrong…

  14. Eric says:

    interesting that both are only notorious because of the family’s accomplishments, not their own

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