I think it’s time I tried to set the record straight here.
I am not a maggot.
Reporters are used to being looked at as being pretty low rent and we don’t usually take it personally. But honestly, maggots?
If Toronto mayor Rob Ford wanted to liken us to animals, why not the graceful gazelle, the soaring eagle or savage grizzly bear?
Ha ha, just kidding.
I suppose I can see where Ford was coming from when he made the comment in his weekly radio address. There is, after all, a certain resemblance. I’ve known lots of reporters over the years and quite a few of them have that sort of pale, bloated, hairless, look to them. Mike Duffy springs to mind.
Besides, what journalist worth his or her salt doesn’t relish the thought of a good wriggle inside the guts of some preening political superstar’s dead career?
Makes me squirm just thinking about it.
Maggots, it should also be mentioned, can also be pretty darned useful and were used extensively in the trenches during the First World War to gnaw away the dead, festering flesh on soldiers’ wounds when more traditional medical attention was lacking.
One could use the simile, I suppose, that we gnaw away at the rot in the political system, leaving the clean, healthy public servants alone.
While I like the image, I’m not sure if that was where Mr. Ford was going on that one – almost a confession, if only he was bright enough to see it.
Perhaps vultures would be better. We just soar away, minding our own business until we see a politician drop back from the herd, stagger and fall.
Then, my oh my, don’t we flock together onto the rapidly ripening credibility corpse!
As the old saying goes, never kick a man unless he’s down.
Still … that doesn’t really do it for me either. Vultures generally only do their work when the prey is already putrefying. We need to find something that stalks its prey, pounces and kills it dead.
Perhaps the noble lion?
Oh I just slay me!
Seeing as I’m in the print media, perhaps some sort of dinosaur might be seen as appropriate in some circles — yes, radio, Internet and TV guys, I’m looking at you — but hey, we ain’t extinct yet!
Okay, here’s a possibility. What about the humble hagfish?
They’re bottom dwelling wrigglers that have a nasty habit of attaching themselves to live prey and essentially boring into them and then eating them alive from the inside out.
They kill ‘em dead alright, and when threatened they quickly secrete enormous amounts of thick, viscous slime – so much of it that even a great white shark would have to spit it out, lest it suffocate on the goo.
Now, that’s what I’m talking about!
Take it out for a mutter Rob.
Kinda rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
Neil Horner is the assistant editor of The NEWS and a regular columnist