Rob Ford's Weight

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Mr.Tea wrote:

Unionist wrote:
When do we get to out alcoholics in elected office and use that to critique their politics? We may need to open whole new forums.

When alcoholics support policies that promote alcoholism, I suppose. If former BC Premier Campbell, who was convicted of drunk driving, were to introduce legislation reducing penalties for drunk driving, I think his own status as a drunk driver would be relevant.

Driving while impaired is a crime. Alcoholism is a disease. We punish and deter the former. We treat and accommodate the latter. Your analogy betrays a failure to grasp that distinction.


This thread has become profoundly offensive and degrading. I urge that it be closed, if not deleted.


Mr.Tea wrote:

But lots of people who don't have their resources don't have the same options. When someone like Romney tells college kids worried about escalating education costs to "just borrow the money from your parents", that shows a high degree of being out of touch and seems reflective of his own worldview, having gone to Harvard and Stanford and never worried about it because his family had money.

So, look at Rob Ford's policies and see if they don't display the same sort of bias based on lifestyle or worldview. A guy who is morbidly obese cutting community exercise and sports programs for kids. Cutting nutritional programs that poor kids use. Waging war on cyclists. Is a fat guy cutting nutrition programs for poor kids any less objectionable or any better optics than a rich guy giving tax breaks to other rich guys?

I don't think the parallel with Romney works.  Romney is wealthy, thus he was able to pursue education without the government assisting him with tuition.  If Ford had personal trainers and a super buff physique, then the parallel might work (IE, he can afford such things, but is cutting access to those who cannot).  However Ford is all for eating at fast food restaurants, and opposes government intervention (IE, taxing fast food to bring revenue in for school nutrition programs is something he would oppose).  I'm guessing Ford feels people should be free to be whom they are without interference.  Shop at Wal-Mart, eat at KFC, drive gas-guzzling cars, solicit donations on city letterhead, etc.  He is the living embodiment of his beliefs. 


Yes, alcoholism is a disease and that's why we encourage people to treat it, to seek out help or to hopefully avoid succumbing to it in the first place. If an alcoholic politician embraced their alcoholism and opposed programs that would treat others suffering from alcoholism, I would find that objectionable. Smoking is an addiction and terrible for your health. Again, we encourage people to quit and/or to avoid taking it up in the first place. If a chain-smoking politcian were to support policies cutting anti-smoking programs or otherwise encouraging smoking, I'd find that objectionable. I equally object to an obese politician opposing programs that could help others avoid obesity. As Ford has done by opposing nutrition programs, recreation programs, cycling, etc.


Mr.Tea wrote:
But when a politician like Idaho senator Larry Craig goes around denouncing gay people, opposing equal rights for gay couples, etc. while at the same time cruising for blowjobs in airport men's rooms, I think it's appropriate to point out that hypocrisy.

Isn't it time to close this utterly offensive thread? Or do we need to get it all out first?


Yes, I'm not surprised it got nasty. An old friend of mine is morbidly obese, and as she is under 5 feet tall, not able to "bully" people physically as the Ford brothers do. Her life is utter hell because of people's idiotic comments, and has also lost at least one job after a weight gain. (She was always on the plump side, as I am). 

I was prepared to say bravo to the author of the Ford, fatness and disablism post, but then he wrote this shit:

quote: "I have been incredibly frustrated for a while about the trite, lazy attacks on Rob Ford because he is fat. There are so many good reasons to attack Rob Ford: his austerity measures, his fucked up neo-liberal ideology, his attacks on marginalized communities (p.s. this does not include cyclists)"

Yes, as we know there are very wealthy and entitled people (most of them male) on bicycles that cost thousands of dollars, and who act like lycra louts. But if that person has so little understanding of AUTOcracy and the social, physical and environmental harm it does, and how much people, in particular women, get harassed by drivers, my only response can be a hearty F.U. 

I got at least three of those this afternoon. They are in a bad mood because it is starting to snow. 


I agree with Michelle that this is an important discussion that needs to be had. I'm not sure what purpose deleting this thread would serve.


I don't think it has to be deleted. We do all have to remember the impact this shit has on people we DO love, or just ordinary people who have as much right to respect as slimmer people. 

I hate Rob Ford so much there is nothing I wouldn't stoop to in order to harm him, mock him or punish him. After all, he wants me dead - many of you must have seen than infamous video. 

And ironically, someone I care about very much (no more details) has been so involved in the fight against Ford's cuts that it has had a serious impact on her own health. 

But we have to keep in mind that the people most hurt by fat-bashing are poor working (or out-of-work) people who have little defence about losing jobs or other needs due to this crap. 


Junkyard Dog wrote:
It never ceases to amaze me when well-meaning and otherwise intelligent people on our side of the aisle insist on adhering to some non-existant Marquess of Queensbury rules while our very real enemies gleefully engage in the most vicious kind of political hardball...

See, here's the thing, it's about our values and living up to them.

It's something I've been mulling. When the right does things that are Very Wrong people from both sides of the aisle often just shrug. Like Harper's doublespeak on transparency and accountability and lower spending and so and so forth. Keeps talking about it, keeps doing the exact opposite. It's as though we all have very low expectations of the right's living up to their values, so while we may be indignant or even disgusted when they don't, nobody (on either side) is at all surprised.

When the left does something Very Wrong people from both sides of the aisle get upset, often vehemently so. Witness criticism of the NDP from the left when the party or one of the leaders says or does something that doesn't align with our values. It's because the expectation that we'll live up to our values is high ... including from the right. Odd, isn't it?

But the high road is a pretty fine route to take.

This approach tells me which side I want to be on. That's the side that lives up to our values. And that includes feeling free to be critical about people's actions, but to try not to descend to personal attacks, particularly about things that cause people to be marginalized. For personal things. Especially because as we can see on this thread, those attacks have an externalized effect on others who are marginalized.

Mocking Ford's weight says to the other people around you that you are someone who isn't taking into account the effect that mockery has on those who have been bullied, who have been discriminated against, who are continually judged, who have faced far too many cruel comments ... and who are very understandably not going to see you as an ally, or as progressive, when you do so.

There's more than enough to criticize about Rob Ford's actions, attitudes, double standards and hypocrisy. We don't have to negate our values in order to do so.

[Gawd, I can get preachy sometimes, eh?]

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Preach on sisters Tehanu and Michelle. It sure beats most of the mansplainin sermons we get here.


Wow, did expect this vitrol honestly. I expected some understanding as I thought the insults were simple an emotional language, and people would own up to it. Guess I was niave.

Look I'm not perfect and I can understand stuff slipping out in the heat of the moment, but this reminds me of how Noami Klien talked about how hatred of Bush caused a dumbing down of the left.

Hey I'm not perfect, goodness knows I've called Justin Trudeau more then a few names and this mirror has been a mirror for me.

I still believe he's undiscplined, opportunistic, incompetent, and uninspired and spoiled, but I've decided to lay off the personal insults like calling him the Canadian Kardasian, Himbo, Teenage Jesus, ect...

One does not think clearly when enraged or frustrated and it can be good to reflect.

I do understand that we can be just some moralizing saints, the goody to shoes, and that some times you got to twist the knife, but we most do so from a place of calm strategy, not hateful rage, I see that clearly now so thank you.

As Bill Cosby says hurt people hurt people. The paradise we on the left seek can only be achieved when we can look past our own hurt and forgive each other and our opponents.

That doesn't mean we don't fight back or competulate, we do, but it means we fight back from a place of love, rational thinking, and a keen, but forgiving understanding of human nature warts and all.

Look I understand the urge to call Rob a Fat Slob, he's actions and idealogy have or could hurt you, people you care about, and the wonderful city of Toronto, and when in your pain you lash out trying hurt him back, going after his vulnerable point.

Its understandable, but bad strategy because you've alienated and offered a large demographic of voters and hurt many people like Michelle. Do you think Michelle is alone? How many others feel the same way, how many voters?

You want to attack Ford for his lack of ethics, his abuse of his position, his incompetence, the flaws in his policies and platform, his his arrogance, his lack of compassion, his idealogy, and I mean there is lots of targets.

I'm not saying that mockery can't be tool, but it has to be used as a scapel to encourage people to open up thier eyes, but it can't be allowed to ver into pointless cruelty. Its not an easy task.

And Yes I expect more from the left, not prefection, but I do expect more. Just as those who expected more of me when I was going to vote in the Liberal Leadership race, were right.

Rage is the tool of the right, hope and dreams the primary tools of the left. That doesn't no negate advertizing against Harper, but within curtain limits.

Our path is harder, but the rewards richer.

I wish I saw things this clearly normally :D


alan smithee wrote:

I don't know if I'd use Henry Ford as an example of 'evil'...Afterall,if there was a hell,the first person you'd meet at the gates is Harry Truman.

As for Ford's weight,it has nothing to do with anything...Except for the fact that he probably is not in good health.

Actually I thought originally this had to do with his bet on the Grey Cup outcome with Nenshi, who is now having to donate his own weight in food to a food bank. Nenshi is not particularly thin either, and that has nothing else to do with anything.


I want to add to the Michelle love. Yay, Michelle! 

My entire personal experience with fat comes from the staggering amount of weight I gained during my 1st pregnancy. I started at 125 lbs, and through stress and overwork, I about doubled my weight. It took about a year to get skinny again, and one evening I was out with a couple of girlfriends when they looked at each other and looked at me and said, "We just wanted to say how great you look after you lost all the weight. We were worried about you."

I mean, nice sentiment and all, but when I got home I said to my husband, "So if I stayed fat, would they not like me any more?"

So my point is I had only a merely tiny taste of the fat hatred in our culture. Michelle's account of such highly personal and painful experiences is an educational read for somebody like me. I am truly humbled.

Oh, and to clarify: the whole "cut the waist" challenge was Doug Ford's idea. Doug is big, but he's not obese like his brother. To drag one's brother into a public spectacle with the real possibility of humiliating failure is an interesting expression of brotherly love, no?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thank you, Michelle. Thank you, Tehanu.




Sineed, that is exactly what happened to my friend who became morbidly obese - in spades, she had challenging pregnancies and had to pretty much stay in bed. Alas both of her children turned out severely autistic - screaming in a "non-human" way (I'm not saying that to insinuate that these disabled children are not human, just that the sound was not that of normal crying or screaming babies). Her spouse is abusive, and she stays with him to have resources for the children, as he has a professional job. 

People stare at my friend if we walk down the street. (I'm no fashion model myself, by the way, but the hatred directed towards my friend is a shock). I do worry about her health, as she is in a state that makes it very difficult to walk much or do much other exercise. That has nothing to do with whether I like her or value her. 

Brachina, I have no love for Rob Ford - I do NOT love my enemies, I'm no Christian. I agree about love - and respect - if you mean either friends or simply normal, decent people who are deeply hurt and harmed by fat-bashing and other manifestations of lookism. Our society is deeply skewed in that way - and yes, if the mockery of Ford is one aspect of it, the very fact that a twit like Trudeau is considered as Prime Minister is another form of lookism. Both of them hail from wealthy families, by the way. 

The harm done by fat-bashing isn't just insults - it means lost jobs, being passed over for promotions, lower incomes and worse medical treatment. With lower incomes, many overweight people have to shop in stores where the clothing is far more expensive than "normal" ranges, for lower quality (though a HUGE percentage of women are veering into the lower end of oversize by middle age) and there are many other extra expenses. It is extremely difficult to find clothing for professional jobs in sizes over 10-12 or so - a hell of a long way from "morbidly obese", and such clothing is extremely expensive. Not all jobs that require professional-level clothing are actually highly-paid or full-time. 

Far from Rob Ford, a current PQ minister, Daniel Breton of Environment and Durable Development, is getting both the fat-bashing (he is short and round, not at all the height or girth of Ford, but not the stereotype of the lean ecologist either). And the (farther-right) opposition parties are tearing into him for "poor judgement" for the tiny misdeeds poverty causes; things like not paying his rent. He was active in ill-paid or non-paid environmental activism for years. 

Brachina, what on earth has voting in the Liberal leadership race got to do with the left? I don't see the connection. 


one of those issues where the Left, which pats itself on the back regularly for its moral rectitude, is on a level with the Right, viz. Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot ....


I took the time to go through and read all the comments, including the dialogue between Michelle and Rabble_Incognito.  Generally when babblers start having what appears to be a personal snipe fest between one another, I skip over the postings to just try to comment on issues.  So, I hadn't read those postings.  But, in this case it seemed a good idea to read them, and after reading them (particularly one of Michelle's posts) I did feel some important points were made, and it made me reconsider a statement I made previously regarding Ford's cut the waist thing.  Good to have one's views challenged, I figure.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Policywonk wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

I don't know if I'd use Henry Ford as an example of 'evil'...Afterall,if there was a hell,the first person you'd meet at the gates is Harry Truman.

As for Ford's weight,it has nothing to do with anything...Except for the fact that he probably is not in good health.

Actually I thought originally this had to do with his bet on the Grey Cup outcome with Nenshi, who is now having to donate his own weight in food to a food bank. Nenshi is not particularly thin either, and that has nothing else to do with anything.

I find Ford's permanent pink skin is most likely the result of high blood pressure...He is morbidly obese but what does that have to do with his politics?...Besides maybe being part of his overpriviledged existance.



Alan, Rob Ford is privileged, but in many Western countries (including some of the wealthier "Global South" ones such as Mexico and Brazil), poorer people are more inclined to be overweight and obese. Mississipi, the poorest state in the US, is also the most obese. 

Today, some ijut on a call-in show made precisely the comment that Daniel Breton, the PQ environment minister who had to resign, "did not look like someone who ever missed a meal", as Breton had claimed. Breton is not at all of Ford's size, but definitely short and stout/stocky. 

Cheap food is often fatty or cheap carbs, and food insecurity also leads to overeating when food is available. It can be a hard habit to break, even when people are better off. An extreme example of that was people in prison and concentration camps. 


I think people are overblowing the effect Ford's weight has on his physical abilities.  Statements made here that some very overweight people struggle with walking, cycling, etc., implying that this could apply to Ford, I think is incorrect.  Just recall when the newspaper reporter from the Star was investigating the property line near Ford's place (see link), wherein it was reported, "Dale said the mayor charged at him with a cocked fist, prevented him from leaving the area, and shouted repeatedly for him to drop his phone."  Running after and cornering a guy hardly suggests that Ford is immobile.

Anyway, hopefully he'll be gone soon.  And when he is, good riddance.


Yes, you also see Ford really moving around when coaching his football team. I suspect he also has quite a bit of muscle. 


lagatta wrote:
Cheap food is often fatty or cheap carbs, and food insecurity also leads to overeating when food is available. It can be a hard habit to break, even when people are better off.


Foods can also release endorphins which soothe stress. So if you accept as a given that poverty contributes to stress, it's not surprising that so many poor people self-medicate - knowingly or not - with food, which is both legal and (arguably) carries less stigma than drugs or alcohol.

[Addictions expert, Dr. Gabor] Mate said he believes a vast majority of obese children and adults are food addicts — a stronger term than "compulsive eaters" but one that applies because today's sugary, highly processed foods behave in the same way as opiates and other drugs that stimulate the brain's "feel good" chemical and electrical pathways.

Children who experience abuse, trauma, neglect or parental loss — and even those whose mothers were clinically depressed during pregnancy or very early childhood — nearly always have brains that either don't make enough dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and other mood-regulating hormones, or which have inadequate receptors to make normal use of those chemicals, he said.

So, when they discover a food or drink (or a behavior) that boosts the levels of those chemicals, or their activity in the brain, they feel good — better than they ever have. And they want more.

But just as is the case with alcohol and other drugs, once the brain becomes accustomed to the artificial stimulation of neurochemical production and interaction, it further slows down its own production of those critical substances. So it takes more and more of the substance (or behavior, such as sex, gambling or shopping) to get the same "high" again, or to even feel something akin to "normal," Mate said.


Actually, I think a fair number of thin or average/slightly pudgy people also have that behaviour. 

We must also remember that it is absolutely normal for eating to be among the most pleasant behaviours, right up there with sex, deep friendships and "communion", whether religious or political/social. We are mammals after all.