While powering my way through 4 digital kilometre’s on the elliptical machine (okay 3.64), I made the split second decision to pause Opie & Anthony and turn up the volume on the TV. See, what I do, what I need to do while cranking out fake mileage on a fine piece of modern day exercise equipment, going to and fro, holding onto the top of the bally knobs, simulating a walking briskly type motion, like a happy worker on his way to the job and is all sorts of tinkled pink about it, is be over stimulated. It really is a strange motion that elliptical machine. And because I’m addicted to stimulation and information and also because I cannot stand silence, like cannot accept it for even a nanosecond, there always has to be a radio or person or TV talking in the background or I’ll go insane. I always listen to either Howard Stern or Opie & Anthony on my iPod stereo and simultaneously tune in to either the CBC, CNN, hockey, or tennis--all muted of course.
Unless there is some kind of apocalyptic breaking news story the TV remains muted and I’m left to ruminate on what the expressions on the newscasters’ faces mean. Believe it or not, I’ve seen quite a few good tennis matches while suffering for beauty. I can get lost in a long rally, in the game within a game within a game nature of tennis and by the time I look at the digital display, 2km’s have been put pounded out. But enough about me.
The reason for pausing O&A is Rob Ford’s brother, Doug. The behind the scenes rainmaker. Doug is the landlord and his brother Rob the sole tenant of a madhouse of their own creation. In a saner alternate world, the somewhat well spoken, somewhat in shape Doug would be the mayor, and goofy fat boy Rob would lick oversized swirly lollipops in his overalls.
It was one of the stranger press conferences I’ve seen in a while. Right off the bat, Doug wanted to be sure the great people of Toronto knew that he wasn’t “speaking for my brother, he can do that himself,” yet that was in essence what he was doing . . . speaking for his silent little bro. And then in a feat so bold and hubristic it boggles the noggin, Doug goes on to list the various accomplishments of the Ford administration and almost entirely ignores the specific issue at hand, and the supposed reason for the press conference being called in the first place: Rob Ford smoking crack on a cell phone video taken by Somali
Now that’s a Hollywood pitch meeting as far as I can tell.
In Doug’s universe, this was simply an opportunity to remind the good citizens of Toronto that we have more cranes in the air than Chicago and Atlanta combined!
Well, okayyyy, but . . .
A hypothetical aside: Would you rather have a mayor who smokes the occasional crack rock but otherwise is firmly in line with policies you support, or a tee-totalling do-gooder with nary a whiff of scandal but is out of step with your beliefs? I’d sure as hell take the former though I’d rather take neither.
And then, impossibly, Doug ends the whole self-aggrandizing charade by not taking any questions and disappearing into the bowels of city hall. Take that Toronto! The whole thing gets very meta when you consider that Rob was most likely watching the speech that he should have been giving on a nearby TV.
The next day arrives and finally Rob has caved into the pressure and holds his own p.c. It was almost as bizarre as Doug’s speech. The spectacle played out pretty much the way I thought it would: Rob vehemently denies the crack allegations and goes on to praise the colleagues who have stood by him during this difficult week. There where more ‘thank-you’s’ than a goddamn Oscars speech.
Perhaps my favourite part was right at the beginning, when Rob first looked up at the throngs of reporters and cameras glaring back at him. “Wow . . .” he can be heard saying softly, as he adjusts the mic, as if he thought there would be one or two local reporters, as if the whole hullabaloo was much ado about nothing. After the ‘wow’ there is some inaudible mumbling before he gets down to his prepared speech; the mumbling of a very nervous man about to speak publicly.
What really troubles me, in a strictly logical sense, is that he denied smoking crack, yet in the following sentence could not comment about the purported video of him smoking crack. Does it not follow common sense air-tight, steel trap logic that when one denies smoking crack there would ipso facto be no video of any crack smoking?
His lawyers have told him to shut his trap, the less said the better. That’s the explanation for his wall of silence. It took a week of silence for him to tell Toronto in a single terse sentence that his legal/p.r. team advised him to not comment on the video? Why wasn’t that said on day one of #CrackGateTO?
If this crack smoking video did not exist, he would probably not be advised to say (or not say) anything about it while members of a salivating media exchange ponderous head shakes with one another. He would simply do what you or I would do when faced with an absurd, false allegation: jump at the first chance to defend yourself; set the record straight. Me smoking crack with some thug lifer’s filming me on an iPhone? Naw pal, got the wrong guy.
Rob spent most of his time at the lectern heaping his smelly, insincere ‘thank-you’s’ onto the very people and organizations that no longer want anything to do him. Mark Towhey, the mayor’s Chief of Staff, was fired for apparently trying to talk some sense into Rob, and the Catholic School Board of Toronto does not want him coaching any of their school football teams, namely Don Bosco, the school where he has been coaching those ‘fucking minorities’ for the last number of seasons. The football thing has to carry some extra sadness for Rob, like a favourite toy being taken away from an unruly child.
At the end of the p.c. Rob walks off the field, but not before laterally passing the pigskin to Doug, who would not take questions during his own p.c. yesterday but will now graciously answer a few questions from the frothing hordes for his brother Rob. He then spent half his Q&A time chastising the journo’s for talking over one another, asking questions while he was trying to answer. Diversion at its finest, or basest, who knows?
I can’t help but wonder what this past week has been like for the person(s) with the tape. Is there a secret team of police officers loyal to Ford Nation scouring Rexdale and Scarborough neighbourhoods looking for these guys? Is there a group of ruthless Quebecois wheelchair assassins hunting down Somali crack barons? Is Rob’s camp actively trying to buy and bury the tape? Come on, Rob must know who is responsible for it; sure as fuck isn’t Herzog or Coppola. He didn’t roll down his window and ask some random punks if they have any crack for sale, and “Oh by the way, I’m going to hang out with you kids for a little bit and have a couple puffs.” He must know these guys in some capacity. Perhaps Ford’s lawyers have gotten a hold of them and threatened some kind of legal (or illegal) action? Because there hasn’t been any sign from the owners of the tape for days.
Why disappear though? These people actively sought out buyers of this tape a week or so ago, meeting with John Cook, the editor at Gawker, and two Toronto Star reporters, and now that the $200,000 Gawker was raising is drifting into the realm of reality, they’ve disappeared. Poof! No more Somali crack dealers with the most valuable piece of iPhone footage north of the 49th parallel. What in the what?
Maybe other characters in the Trawwno underworld who are in the know are after the owners of the tape as well. By golly this whole scandal is like T.O. Confidential!
I think Rob Ford is gearing up and preparing for the bomb to go off. He knows this alleged video is legit, and it’s going to come out sooner rather than later. He’s not vociferously defending himself with regards to the crack tape because it will simply make him look that much worse when the video does come out. He does not want to explicitly lie about the video in a legal sense.
The clamour to get a hold of the tape is so intense you‘d think it was Infinite Jest . Are we all going to become comatose after being entertained to death, fluids spilling out of every orifice after we finally--hopefully--see this two minute crack masterpiece? (But John Cook and the two Star reporters are still alive and well. Hmm . . . )
I have a feeling it’s going to be that good. Think how awesome it will be the moment before you see the video, when your buddy texts you, “Have you seen the crack vid yet brah?” And you rush to the computer, anxiously waiting for the video to buffer on Gawker, or wherever in Hades it ends up only to spread like a super SARS Trojan virus across the internet.
Here comes the best crack toke of your life, better than even the first one. The lush burning bowl aglow with orange and crackling like a Victoria Day sparkler . . .
Exhale and press ‘play’.