I also know this post will probably land me in some trouble.
I wanted to lay that out first as I talk about my time at Toronto's City Hall yesterday.
A couple of days earlier, Councillor James Pasternak sent out a media invitation I received for a reception at City Hall for the mayor of Haifa. These things are pleasant and all, but not worth going out of your way to attend just to get the scripted platitudes, free coffee and stale tuna sandwiches that they provide.
But since I happened to be in the downtown core yesterday taping an interview for Byline with Brian Lilley, and as City Hall was on my way home, I thought I'd roll in. The situation at City Hall has been moderately interesting lately, so I figured it was worth wasting an hour or so there in case some new amusement ensued.
|The mayor of Haifa with|
However there was a slightly unusual buzz in the room and I overheard the name Olivia Gondek a couple of times. I vaguely recognized that name, having seen it earlier in the day while perusing The Toronto Sun, waiting to be made up to look extra pretty for my interview.
Ms. Gondek was the City Hall staffer to whom it was alleged that Rob Ford had said ,“I'm going to eat you out” and “I banged your pussy.”
It had already been reported the Ms Gondek has denied that Ford had ever said those things to her.
At the lunch time reception, an acquaintance of mine, who is a familiar lobbyist at City Hall, told me, along with Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc and other Councillors that he is a friend of Ms Gondek's and that she told him to tell as many people as possible that the claims about what Ford had told her "are complete bullshit."
Ms Gondek no longer works at City Hall, so she has no reason to lie to protect the mayor.
The reason the subject was such a hot topic is that a couple of hours earlier, Ford denied the allegations, by saying with his wife at his side, "It says that I want to eat her pussy, to Olivia Gondak. I never said that in my life to her, I would never do that. I'm happily married, I've got more than enough to eat at home."
What happened next was incredible.
Even prior to yesterday,for days, the "objective" media had been shouting abuse at Ford, clamoring around him like a pack of rabid hyenas, barking things like "get out!" and "go away!" and "how can you embarrass your family like you do!?"
But yesterday, Toronto's liberal, cosmopolitan elites, who pride themselves on their daring worldliness, were instantly transformed into hysterical Massachusetts Puritans with a blood lust to see the burning of an accused witch by Ford's uttering of the magical word "pussy."
The media and City Councillors went into a complete frenzy, practically falling over themselves to condemn Ford for his 'vulgarity.' You know, the same media and Councillors who are so outraged when Rob Ford declines to attend Toronto's annual Gay Pride parade where nude people wave around sex toys and bottomless sado-masochists publicly perform their rituals of sexual torture.
Something else happened yesterday that the media and Ford's angry opponents don't yet realize but a lot of other people saw coming for a long time. That the tipping point has been reached.
Outside of Council Chambers and the rarefied air pumped into the newsrooms of the consensus media, regular folk get it. What's happening is a combination of a gang of schoolyard bullies and a witch hunt against Ford.
So Ford is vulgar. Which idiot hasn't known about that for at least three years now? The people who like him not only don't care, but like him more for that outspoken forthrightness that distinguishes him so clearly from other professional politicians.
I recounted yesterdays events to a number of people I know, some of whom are the least likely sort of people to support Ford, and to a person, they all said they were disgusted, not be Ford, but by the histrionic hypocrisy of the media and Toronto's opportunistic City Councillors.
Ford explained later on in the day that, "when you attack my integrity as a father and as a husband, I see red." Now to which are people more likely to relate: To a man slipping up while having the core of his being mercilessly attacked, or to the obviously fraudulent new-found piety and puritanism of the self-absorbed media and political classes?
And beyond that, what Ford said was actually pretty funny, so the over-reaction by his detractors revealed them as being something the public find even more unforgivable than anything they've seen from Rob Ford.
They have committed the irredeemable sin of being totally humorless.
When talking about what Ford said yesterday with many people on different occasions, in not one instance was it not accompanied by boisterous laughter.
One person remarked, "That does it! I don't care if he commits an ax murder now, I'm voting for him next election!"
Making matters even more weird was the seething anger conveyed by City Councillors Karen Stintz and Mary-Margaret McMahon about Ford's remarks. How could anyone get so seemingly, totally furious about something so insignificant and silly?
The whole episode reminded me of the plot line in The Sopranos, where Junior Soprano is infuriated when his nephew Tony mocks him by implying he performs cunnilingus, which evidently is considered very unseemly in Mafia circles, and orders a hit on his wise-cracking nephew.
The reactions from Stintz and McMahon were so over-the-top, it leads me to wonder if they weren't motivated by jealousy, resentment and longing for something they haven't had in a long while.
Whatever their reasons may be, people are indeed getting what's happening. The day before yesterday, City Council, the one so outraged by Rob Ford's conduct on his personal time, wasted an entire day to gang up on him and debate an asinine motion by Denzil Minnan-Wong to demand an apology from Ford that he had repeatedly, publicly already delivered on a number of occasions.
As one of the few really outstanding, bright journalists at City Hall, Sun News' dapper Brian Dunstan derisively observed, "our tax dollars hard at work."
|a small part of the media throng at City Hall yesterday waiting to|
pounce on Rob Ford
UPDATE: Showing their complete contempt for Toronto's voters and the democratic process, City Council has voted to strip Ford, who won overwhelmingly in the last election, of most of his mayoral powers.