Rob Ford responds to Globe and Mail mud slinging

Rob Ford responds to Globe and Mail article by sending an email to his supporters

As you may have already heard, an article was printed in today’s Globe and Mail that I feel is one of the most vile attacks I’ve ever seen in my ten years in politics.  I’ve had a fair bit of mud thrown at me in this campaign, but I never thought I’d see a reputable paper like the Globe and Mail attack me for my appearance and my weight.

I am absolutely appalled, but not entirely surprised.  These personal attacks are coming because of the success of my campaign.  I expected attacks like this for the simple reason that there are still many people out there who are resistant to the change I want to bring to City Hall.

The entrenched establishment of lobbyists, consultants, and insiders who make their living from the Gravy Train will clearly stop at nothing to prevent me from being Mayor precisely because they know that I’m going to clean up City Hall, put an end to this nonsense, and stop the Gravy Train once and for all.

But I can’t do it without your help.

The election is only nine days away, and I need you, your family, friends, and colleagues all to get out to the polls and vote for the change we need and that only I can deliver.

Advanced polls are open tomorrow from 10 AM to 6 PM all across the city.  I encourage you to get out and vote tomorrow so that you can help get out the vote on Election Day.

On Monday October 25th, I am very confident that the people of Toronto will elect me as their next Mayor because they know I am the only candidate who can go down to City Hall, straighten things out, and stop the Gravy Train.

Thank you for your ongoing support.  Please remember to vote and have your voice heard.

Sincerely,
Rob Ford

Globe and Mail Article (below)

Rob Ford’s not popular despite being fat. He’s popular because of it
Stephen Marche

The mounds of fat that encircle Rob Ford’s body like great deflated tires of defeat are truly unprecedented in Canadian politics.

We have had chunky political candidates before, but the front-runner in Toronto’s current contest to be mayor is so fat that his belly is invariably the first thing you notice about him.

Yet far from harming his political image, his bulk is the key to his appeal. Neither intelligent nor sympathetic, Mr. Ford offers voters fat. And we want fat. In fat, we see ourselves.

Let no one confuse Rob Ford’s obesity with jollity. Every extra pound on Mr. Ford’s frame is an extra pound of rage. His angry fat is perfectly of our time.

Fat is the physical manifestation of postindustrial life. It is no coincidence that the obesity crisis in North America has occurred simultaneously with the decline of manufacturing in our cities. The foods that we love to eat originated in a time when the lives of men and women were devoted to manual labour.

In the late 19th century, a typical steel-factory worker in the Northeastern United States poured molten steel for 12 hours a day, six days a week. In such conditions, the major problem wasn’t hypertension but consuming enough calories quickly enough to last through an entire shift without wasting break time.

Therefore doughnuts, hamburgers and steak-and-cheese sandwiches. Which we continue to eat sitting behind desks while we process paperwork.

For men trapping fur or working in a lumber camp, poutine makes sense. Not for kids heading to a bar after a hard day’s telemarketing.

Whether through the migration to white-collar jobs or through rust-belt unemployment, we have lost the physical labour but we have kept the diet that once sustained it.

Fat is the bodily equivalent of the boarded-up factories in once-industrial powerhouses like Windsor and St. Catharines and Buffalo and Cleveland. Fat in North America is work that is not being done.

Before the advent of television, fat politicians such as Mr. Ford were not such an anomaly. In the early 20th century, the enormous body of U.S. president William Taft could be taken as evidence of a humanizing self-indulgence. Gluttony, after all, is the least vicious of the seven deadly sins. A big gut signified that the president was in the end, despite his status, one of the boys.

For kings, fatness symbolized luxury, particularly the luxury of not doing any manual labour. Henry VIII weighed so much that he was constantly having new suits of armour designed to accommodate his ever-expanding gut, and his coffin broke through the supports at his funeral.

Julius Caesar, in Shakespeare’s play of the same name, dislikes Cassius because he is too thin. For Caesar, fat men in power are happy, satisfied, forgiving. Thin men are conniving. He says:

Let me have men about me that are fat/ Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o’ nights:/ Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;/ He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

Television rendered Caesar’s advice moot. Once TV had entered our homes and we became preoccupied with how everyone looked, we needed our political leaders trim; it signified efficiency and self-control, which is why jogging remains one of the most widespread clichés of political advertising, for conservatives and liberals alike.

In America, Mike Huckabee, an otherwise unexceptional Republican governor from Arkansas, became a national contender only after he published his polemic against junk food and personal memoir of lifestyle modification called Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork.

Now all of that is changing, at least in Southern Ontario. Mr. Ford doesn’t run from his fat or hide it – and why should he? His gut embodies the parts of the city and the country hardest-hit by the changing nature of our economy and the evisceration of manual labour from our society.

His fat is all he has going for him; it makes him look working-class even though he’s a drunk-driving, second-generation political dilettante, a man who has never been faced with the financial difficulties of ordinary people. Mr. Ford’s body reflects the decline around us better than any story he could tell.

Toronto’s current mayor is David Miller, as calm, generous and smart a man as you would want to meet; he achieved nothing in office. The biggest story of his six years was that he managed to lose weight. Newspapers reported on his regimen; the mayor was proud of his accomplishment.

And yet with every pound that he lost, it seemed that he became more and more separated from the reality of the city around him, separated from the lives of people who have to get to their jobs and cook meals. Who can blame voters now for wanting a fat man?

Stephen Marche is a novelist and the culture columnist for Esquire magazine. He lives in Toronto.

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10 Comments

  1. This is quite a pathetic political ploy. Without mentioning anything of substance – what the Globe might have lied about and proof that it was a lie – Ford paints a petty picture of himself as a victim of the media. Plainly, to garner sympathy and pity votes from Torontonians. I cringe just listening to Ford – all you get are catchy platitudes: you’re tax money is being wasted! The fact that implications aren’t discussed offers insight as to the long term effects of his policies: save a buck, roll back the city’s progress.

  2. I fully agree with Rob Ford. Irrespective of whom the candcomment_IDate is Newspapers should not publish articles about personal appearance and weight. I was shocked to read these articles attacking some one because of his weight. Let’s have a clean contest and may the best person for the job win the Mayor’s job.

  3. Both Ford’s camp and the comenter Sam miss the point. Ford’s weight is not being mocked. The reality is being mentioned. Ford is wildly unqualified and wildly inappropriate to be the Mayor of our great city.
    The thing he does have is the loser factor. He’s a big fat kind of dumb guy. We don’t have to live up to his example. We can be dull and fat and lazy too. Or Like myself we can expect, work for and demand something better of ourselves and our leadership.
    While the globe dcomment_ID not in context mock him for being fat but rather printed an interesting social piece on the mans appeal. The fact of the matter is is fat and racist and homophobic and no where near the type of person we should ever conccomment_IDer honoring with the position of Mayor of our great city.

  4. This is so sad that a national Canadian newspaper would stoop so low as to personally attack a mayoral candcomment_IDate based on his looks alone. Shame on the writer and extra shame on the editor that allows this garbage to be printed; Globe and Mail, grow up.

  5. I’m shocked that so many readers were unable to see the metaphor being illustrated here. Rob Ford is grossly obese…and he’s so because he’s born of privilege and never had to accomplish anything for himself. Perhaps if he is so ashamed of people pointing that out, he shouldn’t be in politics and could spend some time focusing on his health. Good god…it’s a clear illustration that he can’t keep his own house in order and so many want him to lead our city. The mystery of mentality.

  6. Okay. Are Ford’s feelings hurt due to the Globe’s lack of political correctness? It’s okay to say that only gay people and druggies get AIDS, but it’s not okay to make the observation that Ford is, indeed, fat?

  7. Let’s be content based when we are discussing Rob Ford. Let’s use his own quotes about shelters, AIDS, bicyclers, etc. Let’s refer to his comment_content_IDeas. This Globe article is trite and rediculous in terms of it being comment_approved one week before the election. Of course people are going to respond to this article saying we shouldnt be body focused. Women have sacomment_ID this for years.
    Be content focused. Use his words. Hopefully his bcomment_ID will as a result fail.

  8. Why limit discussion of “fat” mayoral candcomment_IDates to just Rob Ford?

    Take a good look at George Smitherman. He keeps his jacket closed, but he’s packing just as many pounds a Rob Ford is! Funny how Marche’s article dcomment_IDn’t mention Smitherman at all …

  9. I think the Globe article is spot on. Ford’s appeal isn’t logical–it’s emotional. Far from being ‘mud-slinging’, the author is quite insightful as to why an angry, racist, fat man with a drinking problem is so appealing to hundreds of thousands of misgucomment_IDed Torontonians.

    If Ford’s appealed logically rather than emotionally, then naturally his weight would be irrelevant. But he doesn’t, and it’s not.

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