Featured Post

How To Deal With Gaza After Hamas

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Death threats received over my support for Rob Ford

On two separate occasions in the last week, women have threatened to kill me because of my support for Toronto's persecuted mayor, Rob Ford.

They aren't the usual types you'd expect to menace someone over political expression. One of them is a middle-aged suburban housewife, the mother of two daughters, who hasn't done a day of real (i.e. paid) work in fifteen years. The other, younger, is an extremely, almost exaggeratedly, feminine single High School Art teacher. Making it even more surprising was that, in both cases, the discussion about Rob Ford was initiated by them. I learned long ago not to raise the subject of Ford with people whose outlook may differ from mine, since his name evokes seething hysteria from some people.

But still, I thought threatening to kill me was a bit much.

In all fairness, the threats, made by the two women with whom I have been friends for many years, but to my knowledge have never met each other, were not meant literally. At least, so I hope.

How could anyone not like this guy?
The irrational, hyper-emotionalism that Rob Ford sometimes inspires is a remarkable phenomenon.  But there are, as far as I've observed, consistent patterns to it. The people subject to it tend to be moderately intelligent but not exceptionally so, and tend to be highly susceptible to the opinions of others. Such people also only read certain, select media and accept it uncritically.

Intriguingly, not only the death threats, but responses to questions I posed to these very different women were almost identical.

When I asked the women how they could be so certain of what they considered Ford's malfeasance, and how 'terrible' a mayor he was, the response from both was that it was because of things they read in The Toronto Star. As it was, their opinion about Ford was shaped by Star editorials as much as by that newspaper's slanted reporting.

My response that The Star wasn't really a credible source about Ford and that it had printed demonstrable lies about him just agitated them further.

A big part of their anger was that Ford was a so-called "embarrassment" and "Toronto has become a laughing stock." Unfortunately, I've encountered that reaction from a number of people before and it's borne of a particular type of bizarre insecurity. Sure, Ford's alleged "crack" scandal has made the news in North America and beyond. But does anyone who isn't prey to this weird pathology really think people in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo are dwelling on anything going on in Toronto, let alone what's its  mayor may or may not be doing?

Pointing out to them that their lives haven't been genuinely altered by that perception not only didn't seem to alleviate their anger, but made it worse.

But let's look at another example. Yesterday, news broke that Montreal's mayor was arrested on charges related to fraud and civic corruption. Contrast that with the unproven allegations about Rob Ford made by unnamed sources related entirely to his personal behavior outside of his work as mayor.

Are Montrealers, other than a few sad, chronic whiners, going about saying how "ashamed" they are to be from that city? Of course not. If anything, it's the opposite.

Whether there's something about Quebec culture that's superior to Ontario's and gives them enough security to not continually obsess over what others think of them, I couldn't say. But it does highlight a pathetic trait of far too many Torontonians who do.

When railing against what a terrible mayor Ford was, I asked a simple question to the two women, both of whom are financially comfortable. The question infuriated them.

"Name one thing that Ford has done or is responsible for, something that you've seen with your own eyes or has involved you personally, that has in any tangible way affected you negatively?"

That really got them flustered. They both have "heard of things" that they couldn't actually verify and "knew" how Ford was "destroying Toronto" without being able to factually identify how.

So stymied, both of them, these two lovely, normally kind women, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday, said I can't say anything more about Rob Ford or they would kill me.

Maybe it's a woman thing. After the second instance on Monday, I spoke about it to my most recent ex-girlfriend, who lives just outside Toronto and with whom I am still on very friendly terms.

"Hey, L*** just threatened to kill me!"  I complained on the phone.

In a blatant display of victim-blaming, my ex responded, "What did you do to her?"

"I didn't do anything! I was just saying nice things about Rob Ford and she threatened to kill me!"

"It was probably your fault."

"What do you mean it was my fault!?  I don't go around being violent or threatening anyone. I just explained how Rob Ford is a good mayor who is being unfairly maligned and she threatened to kill me! So did another woman I know on Saturday for the same reason!"

"It was still probably your fault."

That's what things are like these days. You can be innocently walking around the city and some nut case will pelt an orange slushie at you, or sitting on a restaurant patio discussing urban affairs and the next thing you know, your companion is threatening to murder you. And only because you support a municipal politician committed to a small government that is responsible to taxpayers

It's a good thing I don't believe in stereotypes or conspiracies. Because if I did, I'd think this is all down to a bunch of women who like spending money and are out to eliminate people who believe in fiscal accountability.


Anonymous said...

"Maybe it's a woman thing"?

"...this is all down to a bung of women who like spening money..."

If this is how you talk to the women in your social circle, it's no wonder they felt insulted and became upset with you.

Anonymous said...

I don't imagine your friends who want to kill you will be swayed by this article but it's in Toronto Life, which is hardly Rob-Ford-friendly:

A Sober Assessment of Rob Ford's Shining Achievements:


I do find women go berserk when you mention Rob Ford, though I'm a woman and I don't go berserk. I should say, however, that it's mostly women who are financially comfortable who have a hissy fit when you mention Rob Ford: They write their own narrative.

Because they're not negatively affected by the sleaze balls who slurp at the public trough, they don't care that Rob Ford's saving Toronto taxpayers money because, basically, they don't care about people who are less well off than they are -- and I mean the struggling middle/lower-middle class Torontonians.

batb (been around the block)

Richard K said...

Thanks for that batb. That's a good article at TL (the print issue that's in has a picture of mine they published of Conrad Black and Mark Steyn).

And as to the previous comment, I didn't say to them they're just a bunch of women who want to spend money. That was my post hoc (and those a bit more insightful might have understood joking) assessment. I'd never say something like that to the women I know, 'cause, they'd, um.. probably kill me.

Anonymous said...

Hey BATB - you used to contribute to my blog - Canadian Blue Lemons - great to hear from you!

Unknown said...

If your support of Etobicoke Slim is the only thing a woman has offered to ice you over, you have a LOT to learn about interpersonal relationships. I hear that I'm three words from being murdered about three dozen times a day.

All things being equal, it's kinda hawt. It makes me feel like Rihanna!

And when exactly did social interactions with anyone other than fellow travellers cause conservatives o retreat into the rape showers of their minds, anyhow? That wasn't true as recently as five years ago.

But when everything is a "death threat," nothing is.

Richard K said...

Oh, it's been suggested to me that my removal from the living is imminent before, Skippy, but never before just because of my extolling the virtues of a Canadian mayor.

And "rape showers of their minds"?!... WTF, Skippy!?

But anyway, there's something about Ford that seems to drive some people batshit crazy ("I'm going to kill you!") in a way that other politicians don't.

Of course the guilty secret is that some of us like Ford just because he makes the soppy left go apoplectic. (Not as if that`s the only reason I like him, but it`s a fabulous fringe benefit.)

And as for you, try not to get yourself killed by a stiletto-heeled assassin, some of us would miss you.

Anonymous said...

You should always show respect for women's opinions. Bitches love that.

Richard K said...

You were smart enough to post that anonymously. If I ever said something like that I`d be dead. Like dead for real dead.

Anonymous said...

Its all bollocks. The whiners wanted George Smitherman in so they could have they own reigning queen (literally).

Ford isn't perfect, but apart from the alleged video of him smoking crack that only two questionable Toronto Star reporters claim to have seen, the man has not put a foot wrong in his role as mayor.

But then again, the left are known for their mysterious form of mindless hysteria when anybody or anything remotely conservative threatens to cramp their style.