Updated: May 20, 2022
Ready or not, here it comes. The Doug Ford blimp: Re-landing, for years to come.
Oh yes, Ontario PC Premier Doug will be re-elected. And go on to lead his party nationally.
Because demagoguery is in.
Because demagoguery is the only 'gogue that has a media profile.
Because 'Gogue Doug has been successfully sold to the people. By the media.
It's how Trump was sold. It's why the Ford blimp will be back. And the Trump blimp.
Because demagoguery is the media's favourite most circulation-building product. And circulation is the name of the game.
"But, but," you sputter, "our freedom loving MSM were all, are all, totally down on them! Headline/ spotlight/ analyze / dissect their every reprehensible utterance! Cover them pitilessly and mercilessly and constantly..."
Exactly. Cover them--and only them--constantly and widely. Creating an indelible and singular profile and presence. The 'gogue presence. Giving the 'gogues possession of the only rounded, in depth, clearly visible and audible profiles and policy platforms.
Can you call up any real mental portrait of the Ontario Liberal leader, or any of his policies--that is, if you can even remember his name? Ditto, the NDP leader, apart from the dread catchword "SOCIALIST"? --Not to mention, poor dismissable red-daubed old Uncle Bernie Sanders in the U.S. of A.
History has proved that there is no bad publicity. Except, of course, for men accused of sexifying wrongdoingly, and that only brings down men seen as left of centre. For rightist pussygrabbing boasters, it either burnishes the image, or further convinces supporters that dark allegations about their guy are fake news.
There have been objections to running the Buffalo slaughterer's "proud" manifesto, suggesting it can become a chapbook to rally the rightwing-susceptible.
Then what about the effect of blanket coverage, even derisory coverage, of every utterance by today's political demagogues?
I remember encountering a young Black woman taxi driver, griping about Toronto Mayor John Tory's election, averring that the late Rob Ford had been wayyy better, a real people's champ. --What about Ford's crack use, his criminal connections?--"That was all a set-up."
We may jeer: FORDERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR BRAINS.
But it would be an elitist mistake to dismiss them as warped, low-class or brain dead.
There are a lot of people out there with profoundly legitimate grievances. About unimaginable inequity, distribution of wealth and opportunity, the difficulty if not impossibility of getting heads above water. People desperate for change in the status quo, yearning for simple believable answers.
The internet has helped turn the clock back and, more widely and effectively than ever in history, to put the most apparently viable simple answers in the mouths of demagogues.
The real movers and shakers behind the status quo are delighted with this result; perhaps most effectively codified in our own Barren (cq) Conrad Black's encomium to his pardoner-president Donny Trump.
From Con's presidential biography, Donald Trump: A President Like No Other:
"The traits that elevated Donald Trump to the White House are the traits of America..." Voters were "not appalled, but rather, to some degree, inspired, by his bravura, buffoonery, and raw egotism, for behind it they saw an outrageously successful version of themselves, and one who, they intuited, understood them and their desires, fears, and hopes..." And, one who does not really lie, but rather resorts to "truthful hyperbole."
So now, alongside the power-supporters of demagoguery, with their iron grip on the status quo, stand its no-power supporters: the very people most buffeted by the status quo.
Can those minds be unfettered? Not by the media coverage of today--not only their media, but ours.
Just to remind us what we're getting into, in re-buying the Ford brand: a memory of the Ford who first captivated Toronto, our own late Mayor Robber (cq) Ford, and his faithful campaign manager, big brother Doug --in this coverage by the Toronto Star's Kevin Donovan:
"Although [Rob] Ford is a well-off businessman — he and his brothers run Deco Labels & Tags [annual sales $100million], a business they inherited from their late father, a Conservative MPP — Ford is largely viewed as a champion of the working class... a man of the people [although] - he was born wealthy, his signature concern was low taxes, and he expressed contempt for women, gays, blacks, Jews, Italians, Asians, and most other people who didn't look like him."
And: "Since the [mayor's] first crack video emerged, his brother and campaign manager, Councillor Doug Ford, has repeatedly said that voters aren't concerned with the mayor's drug use...'You're out of touch with what the people care about. People don't care about that...I compare Rob to grassroots, blue-collar workers. He’s out there for the little guy, the working-class person who is tired of overpaying the high taxes and not getting any services.'”
According to our now-premier, his brother was "ideologically, a social liberal who plans to redirect savings from cutting back waste to social programs. Media attempts to link Ford to the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement or any of Palin’s policies are just another example of the bias against him."
In his deathless anthema to heartland America, Okie From Muskogee: “I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee, a place where even squares can have a ball,” Merle Haggard would chant to wildly cheering houses.
As for Mayor Rob, our home-grown finger-flashing proud Okie from Etobicokee, his home borough -- despite all the brotherly pooh-poohing of his reported addiction and health problems, he had to take a sabbatical for treatment of his alcohol and drug addiction, and died of abdominal cancer at the age of 46 .
Here, with no apologies to Merle, our anthem for the Fords in our past, and our future.
OKIE FROM ETOBICOKEE
We smoke marijuana in Etobicokee;
Maybe light a pipe of crack, or two or three,
We don’t burn our bridges with our dealers,
We like livin’ right, and goin’ outside to pee.
I’m proud to be an Okie from Etobicokee,
A place where even mayors can have a brawl,
Wave our fists at media maggots in the driveway,
And chug Remy from the jug at City Hall.
Outsize suits are still in style for manly mayors,
Staying mean and skinny’s just for the elites,
Football is how I save slum kids from perdition,
Don’t go judgin’ my staff just by their rap sheets.
Yes I’m proud to be an Okie from Etobicokee,
A place where me and all my friends can have a ball,
Got a radio show for takin’ care of business,
So I don’t need to waste time at City Hall.
...Yes we still waive all the rules, here in Ford Nation,
Yesterday Toronna, today Ontario, tomorrow, Cana-dayyyy!
(And, an updated verse, for lovers of the Merle Haggard original:)
I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
Where you can shoot and kill at school or in the mall,
Give the proud straight-arm salute, like dear old Adolf,
And proudly spray his black swastika on the wall!
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!