Thursday, July 21, 2011

Books and Donuts! The story behind the barbs...

I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

We have a déclassé, loudmouth boor of a mayor named Rob Ford.  His brother Doug Ford is a city councillor. 

(For the record, the brothers are generally likeminded when it comes to policies.)   

Doug Ford recently complained (erroneously) that his area of the city has too many libraries and not enough Tim Hortons (for the non-Canadians reading this, Tim Hortons is a donut and coffee shop, and it's basically a Canadian institution named after - and co-founded by - the late hockey player Tim Horton). 

I cannot for the life of me conceive of a world in which there is such a thing as "too many libraries"...  As in too much learning? too much love of literature? too much intellectual curiosity?  It's kind of like saying the air is too fresh or the water is too clean.

Anyhow, I was sufficiently irked by this nonsense that I decided to rant about it on Twitter. I wanted to try to push the issue there to see if the Twittersphere would help drum up some support for libraries and books and reading. 

So, I sent out several tweets with the hashtag #BooksNotDonutsForFord with the intention that people add a book title (preferably food related) to the tweet.  I gave suggestions like "Tortilla Flats" and "Like Water For Chocolate" and "Green Eggs and Ham".  Soon after my tweet, someone - a librarian, of course - responded with "A Clockwork Orange".  Kudos for that one.   

Then, two things happened... First of all, the #hashtag trended for a while on Wednesday afternoon.  That's kind of cool - I made a topic trend!

Second, people responding to the trend put their own spin on the book title suggestions and ended up referring familiar books ... but with a (food) twist on the title.  Some of the suggestions were actually quite clever:

  • Anne of Green Bagels
  • Grape Expectations
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Strudel
  • A Tale of Two Timbits (for the Americans, Timbits are what you call donut holes, I think)
  • Love in the Time of Walnut Crunch
And, my personal favourites:
  • One Hundred Years of Solid Food
  • The Hounds of Baskinrobbinsville
  • A Fridge too Far
A few humourless and ignorant people kvetched that it was not nice to pick on Ford, assuming that the #hashtag was in reference to Rob in general, and to his size in particular (which he himself describes as 300 pounds of fun). 

I guess I shouldn't be suprised that people rant in the cybersphere before they know what they are talking about.

And I still think #BooksNotDonutsForFord   A Fridge Too Far is pretty darn funny.

Post Script (added Friday 6:41 am): Apparently the #hashtag got people talking... The Toronto Star mentioned it, as did Toronto Life.


  1. I love 'Anne of Green Bagels'.

    I've got to get it together and sign up for Twitter. I'm missing all the good stuff.

    Also, it is not possible to have too many libraries. It breaks the laws of science AND nature.

  2. Wow, you have to shake your head a bit when someone like him would say too many libraries. Because where did he go to study? He had to go and take more then few books out to become what he is today. I guess it is true people don't think before they speak sometimes.
    My hats off to you for doing this, and I am all for Libraries. You will always have my support. Kick some ass :)(LB)