Toronto’s Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Smokes Crack
There came a point on Thursday afternoon—after learning that Toronto mayor Rob Ford had taken some time off from an important city-council meeting to wander around a parking lot sticking “Rob Ford” magnets to cars—that I figured it would be time to update you about the ongoing saga that is Robbie’s intoxicated reign over the Kingdom of Toronto. Way back when, before the already infamous crack-cocaine scandal of May 2013, the magnet controversy of 24 hours earlier didn’t seem so important. That is, of course, until Gawker broke the story that some guy, somewhere, has a video of King Robbie smoking crack from a glass pipe. And the footage is for sale. Until someone buys it, you can always watch the Taiwanese CGI reenactment.
Gawker—who have decided that this is not an “alleged” or “supposed” crack-smoking incident, given that they’ve got a graphic that reads “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smokes Crack” on their homepage—have caused a major firestorm for King Robbie the First in the City of Toronto. The Toronto Star, an ungrateful and petulant organization that is hell-bent on taking down the mayor, has viewed the tape “three times” but was clearly too cheap to buy it and stream it for the royal subjects of the Rob Ford empire. Plus, according to them, they saw this video on May 3. Why keep all this crack-smoking mayhem a secret? And what kind of incompetent blackmail-video salesman is behind this controversy? How can you mess up on monetizing such a golden piece of footage? One must assume they’re ready to let it go at fire-sale prices right now.
The Strange Beauty of the Chinese Politician Who Threw a Tantrum at the Airport
I know China is trying really hard to reinvent itself, and the people there no longer want to be seen as stiff, reserved stoics, but I feel like they’re not getting much help from their neighbors. No matter how many tiger farms they start, it’s clear they operate within a culture that lacks, say, the beads and brothels seediness of Thailand, the marauding hordes of military man-sharks that have blighted the Korean peninsula for decades, or the sense that Japan is just a country full of bagelheads going nuts inside a gigantic dystopian branch of Dixons.
What I’m trying to say here is that it seems like, by and large, the Chinese are a people who handle their shit quietly, making money and babies and slowly taking over the world in the manner of a band like Biffy Clyro. You might never meet anyone who “gets” them, but they sure are massive.
Which is why this video of a high-ranking Chinese official having a tantrum at Changshui airport is so beguiling. In essence, it’s just a video of a man having a nightmarish experience at the boarding desk (he’d had a long breakfast and missed his first flight, then not heard the call for the second flight, apparently). But watched through the lens of a state-owned CCTV camera, what at first seems like an episode of Fawlty Towers on mute starts to turn into something different, something that all the sites reporting on the story seem to have missed.
It starts to turn into something kind of beautiful.
Koch: I wanted to get rid of New York’s graffiti problem, but I wasn’t in charge of the subways, the MTA was. I called the MTA into City Hall and told them they had to get rid of the graffiti. I presented them with a plan to do it: Kids were spray-painting train cars in the yards at night because there weren’t any fences. I told them, just put up a fence and put some dogs inside. They got scared, worried that the dogs would bite people, so I said, “OK, if you don’t want any chance of dogs biting people, get wolves.” That’s the problem with the new Liam Neeson movie, The Grey. There’s no recorded case of a wild wolf ever having bitten or attacked a single human being in North America.
I don’t believe that.
Well, it’s true. The next day Clyde Haberman of the New York Times came to me and told me he’d checked my statement and that there are records of domesticated wolves biting humans. I said, “I know that! I’m not talking about a domesticated wolf. I’m talking about wild wolves. Let’s have wild wolves protect the trains. If the wild wolves become tame, replace them with more wild ones.”
So you recommended that the MTA fight graffiti with wild wolves?
—Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch has died at 88. We spoke with him in 2012.