All of a sudden Toronto is in rewind mode, talking about our mayor missing Pride and his war on graffiti (part deux) again. Oh yeah, and that finger lickin' good wing-out over Ford's visit to KFC while he's supposed to be on that Cut The Waist weight loss challenge.
The Star posted a cell phone video on its website. The verdict: most commentators, even a few of the mayor's harshest political critics, were of the opinion it was a low blow, below the belt, so to speak.
Was the Star's intent to have a good laugh at the mayor's expense over his battle with the bulge? I'm not going to second guess the Star. All I will say on that subject is that the mayor is a public figure and therefore fair game. Blame TMZ.
The Sun, chastising their crosstown newspaper rivals as "idiots" and "hypocrites" in an editorial Friday, were quick to put their peculiar political spin on the matter.
The Sun's conclusion: that the "mocking of fat people is the last prejudice still considered politically correct." A huge stretch, if you'll pardon me for saying.
But stirring up a little "war on Ford" hysteria is always good for the mayor's approval ratings and wouldn't you know it, right on cue there was an online poll in Friday's papers, too, taken the day the chicken shit broke, claiming things are looking up for Ford.
Funny that, given the mayor's newfound irrelevance. Why even the Sun's comment editor Adrienne Batra, the mayor's former press sec, was opining on that subject just the other day, saying the mayor has abdicated his leadership responsibilities and too often been "disengaged" from the day-to-day at City Hall.
So how's the mayor's KFC flap changed that reality?
Did anyone really believe Cut The Waist was anything but a PR stunt when it was launched in January just before the big budget debate (Cut The Waist, get it?) that triggered his mayoralty's slide into oblivion?
Early on, there were a few compelling photos of the mayor in the Post putting in a few laps at the track early on. And those walks/meet-and-greets by Ford at the mall in Scarborough to push his Sheppard subway.
But the mayor hasn't been setting a good example since, missing Monday morning weigh-ins with more frequency and, through his uninspired effort, doing little to encourage Torontonians to participate in a worthwhile cause. As brother Doug was quoted saying in one report, Rob hasn't exactly been putting his back into it. Total pounds lost by those who've pledged their support at cutthewaist.ca: 539.
The City Hall press corp have been more than fair with Ford on this weight loss thing and other of the mayor's personal and political troubles. If anything, they've been too willing sometimes to give him the benefit of the doubt, forgive his transgressions. The aura of power of the mayor's office can blind to the truth. And criticizing the mayor with too much ferocity can lead to news outlets losing precious access to the mayor's office. That reality can sometimes create a climate for self-censorship among journos.
But from where I'm sitting out here in left field, the mayor's given no quarter, and shown nothing but contempt for his political opponents. Seems it's OK for Rob Ford to throw his weight around when he's threatening people. Why should he deserve any sympathetic consideration?
This week the mayor made official he would not be attending Pride yet again. We should be outraged, of course. But most reports were quick to point out that the mayor has left the door open to attending some other Pride-related event - even though, experience tells us the chances of any change in his position are zero. Go ahead, Mr. Mayor. Prove us all wrong. I'll eat your jock strap.
There have been other questions about the mayor's behaviour, both personal and political, in the year and a half he's been in office.
Among them: the fudging of his campaign expenses; the calls from his Etobicoke home to 911 after allegations he'd been drinking; his conflict of interest over donations solicited for his football foundation; his shredding of documents contrary to council rules; and his unexplained absences from City Hall, to name a few.
Along the way he's taken a few liberties with the truth. Most of the misdeeds, however, have been either explained away as personal matters or some variation on the theme, "Rob just being Rob." Maybe, just maybe, Ford is not a very nice guy. He wouldn't be the first scoundrel elected to the highest office in the city.
What is it about Ford that makes us want to overlook his screw ups? Do we feel sorry for him because when we look at him we see the kid that was picked on in school? From what I hear from former schoolmates, it was Rob doing the bullying.
Yes, the mayor's weight issue is a sensitive matter. But arguably, he's the one who made it a political issue, and not just with his recent weight loss challenge. He also pledged to lose weight before he embarked on his quest for the mayoralty back in 2010.
This Kentucky fried controversy is not about poking fun. It's emblematic of a bigger issue - the fact Ford has been effing around pretty much from the day he took over the mayor's chair, and getting away with it. Which is why the mayor just keeps breaking all the rules.