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If Rob Ford Can’t Take a Stupid Joke, How Can He Take Being Mayor?

Rob Ford at May’s interfaith debate. Photo by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.

So is no more, blown away by a cease-and-desist letter. Nobody is going to miss it, first because most didn’t know about it until it was gone, but also because it sucked and wasn’t funny; if it were a stand-up comic it would have been a less funny version of Dane Cook. “Hey lookit me I’m Rob Ford! I’m fat and I like to eat lots of food! EAT! LOTS! OF FOOD! Oh god please laugh. Please.” Just one more barely heard cry for attention in the internet wilderness; you could get better gags by going to a “Yo’ Mama So Fat” list and just inserting Rob Ford’s name when you cut and paste. “Rob Ford so fat he whistles bass.” “Rob Ford so fat when he jog he sweat chicken grease.” “Rob Ford so fat Kyle Rae didn’t retire; Rob Ford ate him.” “Rob Ford so fat when he hold a press conference the media use Google Earth to take his picture.” That sort of thing. (You can read the complete archives of the site here.) by itself isn’t a story. But Rob Ford getting peeved and issuing a C&D to kill the site? That’s worth talking about, because it’s an insight into the inner workings of Rob Ford. “Politician throws a hissy fit” is always interesting, of course, but in this case the added bonus of hands-a-fluttering makes it even more so.

“Some of the hits were pretty personal, and it was getting out of hand.” That’s what Ford’s spokesperson said. To which the only appropriate response is: “…so what?” It was a bunch of lame fat jokes. Most people would just ignore this; after all, pretty much everybody else was. (It’s not like was the talk of the town.) But Rob Ford can’t shrug it off and act like a grown-up who’s realized that being in public office means that the public will sometimes mock you. Apparently, that’s not who Rob Ford is.
This comes as a surprise to nobody. Ford’s entire public career can be condensed down to thirty seconds of him shouting at people angrily, whether it’s screaming at somebody at a hockey game, yelling at Sarah Thomson during a debate, or bellowing out his latest tantrum in city council. Ford’s history of ethnic slurs and bigoted behaviour is just the icing on a loud, arrogant cake: his public persona is the classic bully, and like most bullies, it seems he can’t take it as well as he can dish it out.
Does Ford understand that if he actually gets elected as mayor, this sort of thing will only get worse? There are at least two Facebook groups devoted specifically to hating David Miller. Mel Lastman is quite possibly going to be a punchline for the rest of his life specifically because of things he did as mayor. Rob Ford has spent his entire public career bashing whoever was in charge; if he thinks he can just turn around once he’s in the big seat, blame city council for everything that goes wrong, and avoid mockery and ridicule, he’s going to be unpleasantly surprised.
You can’t fall back on a good record of constituent service (which has always been Ford’s primary—some would say only—strength as a public servant) once you’re mayor, because being mayor is a harder job; every single person in the city is your constituent. (Fun game: calculate the odds that Mayor Rob Ford would make the now-traditional mayoral appearance in the Pride Parade. Be sure to show your work.) Even the Toronto Sun will, at some point, demand results, and Ford has spent his entire career not getting results on the basis of ideological purity; he’s famously bad at achieving anything productive in city council.
And honestly, “unpleasantly surprised” will probably be the sort of descriptive phrase that a Rob Ford mayoralty would frequently require. Peter Worthington, in his Sun column last week, explained that he was planning to vote for Ford because “you don’t need a rocket scientist for mayor.” When your own supporters are admitting you’re kind of stupid, you have an image problem that shutting down a thousand satirical websites won’t fix.


  • http://undefined Colin

    To qualify as satire something needs to be a) funny, and b) based in truth. This was neither. Instead it was moronic and vicious.
    What would Torontoist’s reaction be if someone put up a site calling Rocco Rossi a “retard” or Joe Panteleone a “homo”. You probably wouldn’t be so quick to sluff it off as a joke then, but the act would have been exactly the same.

  • http://undefined Mark

    Holy crap, look at that picture. It’s like his neck is swallowing his face.

  • http://undefined spacejack

    I take it that Torontoist has decided to support Rob Ford as mayor? He’s the only candidate that seems to get any press from you… even if it’s mostly tough love.

  • http://undefined Vincent Clement

    Of course Torontoist supports Rob Ford for mayor. Without him on Council, Torontoist will have one less subject to write about – making this place, well, boring.
    I love the “Ford for Mayor” ad that Google serves up. Oh, the irony.

  • http://undefined Jason

    a slight correction:
    to qualify as satire, something needs to be a) funny and b) based in truth.
    funny – see, the thing about ‘funny’ is that YOU don’t explicitly define it. i personally find it hilarious, so i, in effect, negate you.
    truth – well, the guy’s not exactly skinny.
    as for the “ifs” – if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, Ford would probably eat them. (hypotheticals are worthless when discussing matters of opinion)

  • http://undefined Colin

    Hypotheticals are quite valid when pointing out hypocrisy.
    …and if you find the smear-site’s content funny then you must either be 15 years old or you don’t get out much.

  • http://undefined Nick

    Hmmm, Rob Ford has called people who don’t know the names of Toronto’s rivers and creeks “retards”, see this article from last year in the National Post.

  • http://undefined ES

    It was pulled because someone at the Toronto Star took it upon themselves to post it as Rob’s official blog on his wikipedia… Check the July 16th IP.

  • http://undefined theFace

    It was pulled because ES is a misguided fool.

  • http://undefined David Toronto

    Rob Ford has been endorsed by CFRB and that same
    station has disparaged George Smitherman.
    This goes on relentlessly all day, every day
    on that station. CFRB is still 12th in the
    ratings of 21 Toronto-area stations.
    If I were Ford and were endorsed by a 12th
    rate station, I’d worry about my campaign
    and platform.

  • http://undefined rek

    Rob Ford ate my reply.

  • http://undefined joeclark

    Is this 2010’s best article on any topic related to Toronto? I vote yes. +1

  • http://undefined ES

    following me around now?

  • http://undefined theFace

    Following your Choke Chubby buddy around?

  • http://undefined ES

    You seem to be pretty concerned about me anyways, I can almost feel the rage spittle coming off my screen from your posts.. anyways I’ve asked you some questions, no reply, so if you can’t bring any mature comments to the discussion, i’m not gonna waste anymore time with you,
    You’ve displayed nothing but immaturity, closemindedness and quick to lash out at anyone who doesn’t follow your line. Not to mention hypocritical by calling someone a homophobe and then making a gay or “queer” sex joke in the same post.. You contribute nothing.

  • http://undefined theFace

    I’ve responed to all your questions actually, with the exception of what my connection to the site is, and given the current temp of anti-free speech abotu these days, I decline to answer, lest I be sent some bs, childish cease and desist, or something mroe unreasonable. You’ve already been outed as a Rob Ford loving rat.
    I dislike what you did and i don’t think you thought your actions through very well at all. You’ve issued many contradictory statements and rather than continue in an argument with you i prefer to ridicule you. I’m far from angry, but I dislike your actions and your poorly thought out reasons for taking them, so i’ll treat you lik the rat you ahve presented yourself to be.

  • http://undefined ES

    oliver, is that you?

  • http://undefined theFace

    Lol, nah. Just a fan of the site.

  • http://undefined Jason

    “if Colin and Rob Ford are engaged in a fully satisfying homosexual relationship, Colin’s biased opinions of Ford are, at face value, suspect.”
    hmm… you’re right, hypotheticals are very handy for propping up one’s opinions. also, i didn’t realize that baseless, ridiculous assumptions about complete strangers were constructive either. thanks for making me aware of that- so if you find the need to tell other people what is and isn’t funny, you must be some kind of deviant who engages in unprotected sodomy with farm animals.
    wow, that was fun! i never realized that civilized discussion could be this entertaining!

  • http://undefined thelemur

    If you’re going to make fun of Rob Ford, surely everything but his physique is already comedy gold.
    I don’t care if our next mayor is obese. I just don’t want our next mayor to be obtuse.

  • Sarahharris16

    this is a mayor who gives bussiness owners welfare when other people can,t even pay their rent