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.
We Went to a Men’s Rights Lecture in Toronto (and Discovered That They’re a Bunch of Losers)
In November of last year the University of Toronto hosted a lecture by Dr. Warren Farrell, a divisive figure who has been described simultaneously as a sage of the men’s movement and a rape apologist. On the night of the lecture a group of students barred the doors of the lecture hall in protest while chanting, “No hate speech on campus.” Police were called, the situation was brought under control, and the lecture went on as scheduled. Another lecture took place in March of this year, this time an overly critical look at feminist studies by Janice Fiamengo in which she described the discipline as “intellectually incoherent and dishonest.” Again, protesters were on hand waving placards and this time a fire alarm was pulled but, once more, the event went on as scheduled. These controversial lectures were organized by a student group called theCanadian Association for Equality or CAFE for short. CAFE has come under fire from student groups andmedia who not only disagree with their actions and ideology, but have associated them with the extreme, vitriolic American men’s rights website A Voice For Men. Where AVFM is upfront and open about its hatred for feminism and -ists, calling them “rape farmers,” CAFE takes aim at feminism with misleading information and careful rhetoric, barely ever using the word “feminist” itself.
CAFE has sprung up in several campuses across central Canada in the past year. They have groups on-site at universities in Guelph, Montreal, Ottawa, and Peterborough, as well as two Toronto organizations and off-campus groups in Ottawa and Vancouver. Most recently, Ryerson University caught a controversial mix ofpraise and indignation for banning the group from their campus. CAFE claims to be “committed to achieving equality for all Canadians” and identifies as a human rights group that focuses on men’s issues. However, despite their claims or how they identify, the events that CAFE has been planning have been covered to anunusually extensive degree by A Voice For Men.
A City Doesn’t Suck Just Because You’re Stupid
Hey everyone, there’s a new controversial blog post to get mad about! This particular rage-freakout-du-jour is wildly misogynistic and narrow-minded, and it makes a poor attempt to drag down all of the women in Toronto with comments like the “women are obese” and there are “too many Asian and Indian girls.” The latter sounds like a bonus to me! But yikes, where to begin?
The article in question, titled “15 Reasons Why Toronto Is the Worst City in North America for Men,” was posted yesterday on a wildly inconsequential website called RooshV. It appears to be a follow-up to an article written by the same author entitled “15 Reasons Why Washington DC Sucks for Guys.” Interesting. Is it these cities that are “sucking,” or is it you, brah?
Of course, it’s always just better to let articles like this fester in the sadness of their own morally bankrupt, lukewarm bath water—without giving them any extra attention—but the reality of viral “hits” and social media news feeds is that crappy articles like this will always surface in front of peoples’ eyeballs and then everyone will have to get mad about them. So let’s get this out of our systems now by taking a look at a couple of the more boldly offensive claims that this article makes. I won’t go through everything, because then I’d be here all day.
“If you make just one mistake with a Toronto girl, you will be rejected”
Firstly, this whole branding of a “Toronto girl” is a bit problematic, don’t you think? What can really be the common denominator among an incredibly beautiful diaspora of females that Toronto—and many other “multicultural” cities boasts proudly—besides a common set of area codes and a mutual understanding of where the CN Tower is located? So this phrase is totally dumb already, but beyond that designation, the whole idea that women in Toronto have particularly low patience does not make sense.
Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Has a Terrible Photographer
Rob Ford is a sentient chunk of Spam and the current mayor of Toronto. He also happens to be VICE Canada’s favorite politician, for many reasons. Unfortunately, Rob has been doing a mediocre job at engaging with the kids on social media, and we think we know why: his photographer is awful. While it would behoove the visually clueless political aide Rob has documenting him to read a damn book about the rule of thirds and proper focus, the damage has already been done. Above, you can see one of this photographer’s greater triumphs: Robbie sitting in a flashy McLaren whip, telling his haters that they can’t tell him nothin’. Unfortunately, save for this glorious photo that he has made his Facebook cover image, Rob’s Facebook page is riddled with unflattering portraits.
What the hell is this framing all about? Why are we looking at half of Rob’s rosy face and three-quarters of that seafoam-green vintage Caddy? Is Rob even interested in the Caddy? We could see Rob cruising around the city in this classy vehicle, blaring “Money Ain’t a Thang” and waving at all his gorgeous lady constituents, but please, ask the man to pose for a photo with the car. And what is Rob looking at, anyway? There’s probably something way cooler on the horizon that only Rob can see. Trust this man’s vision.
No! Come on! He doesn’t even have his eyes open and his skin looks like it’s made of bubble gum and ham. Look at the contrast between the shadow on his forehead and the harsh light striking his cheek. His hand looks like it was just stung by an entire wasps’ nest. Plus, he’s in front of some boring ancient vehicle that no one has ever wanted to take a photo beside. Why was this uploaded?
Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Has Conquered His Adversaries
Despite the grand conspiracy pushed forth by Toronto’s anti-high school football illuminati, Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, is keeping his job.
Just in case you haven’t been keeping up with the Andy Kaufman-esque King of Toronto over the past few months, a whistleblower named Paul started whining about ol’ Robbie’s campaign to get donations for his beloved football team on city letterhead. It resulted in just over $3,000 in contributions, not a ton of money, because evidently Rob is not a master of charitable sales pitches. Anyway, while Paul and others found this to be a conflict of interest, and even though Rob Ford was temporarily fired, all of this jibber jabber about whether or not it’s all right for mayors to seek donations to fund high school kids’ love of touchdowns and tackles was for naught. This is the political equivalent of being pronounced dead on the operating table, then suddenly jolting back to life with a newfound respect for conflict of interest appeals.
At this point, it’s unsure how Rob Ford is going to celebrate. Over here at VICE Toronto HQ, we are speculating whether or not he will throw an awesome rager at his mom’s house, go visit the Winnipeg and Detroit border, or avoid a gay pride celebration. Only time can answer this important question.
What we do know is that Rob Ford will continue to be the King of Toronto until October 27, 2014. This means way more GIFs of Rob Ford falling down, more racially questionable comments about “orientals” and “gino-boys,” and a total lack of remorse for any cyclists in Toronto who end up underneath the wheels of an automobile. Sure, we could build bike lanes, but why the fuck would we do that? We’ve got gravy to cut back on. And no, the grand irony of a man who looks like he is made up of 70 percent real gravy trying to cut back on the city’s figurative gravy is not lost on most people.
The Honors and Duties of Knighthood at Medieval Times
Blood sport has been an important part of cultures across the globe for centuries. The Romans congregated in the Coliseum to watch gladiators murder each other for spectacle, the Spanish come in droves to watch matadors challenge and flay wild bulls, and Mexican cartels are forcing their kidnap victims to fight to the death. As long as people have been gathering to watch spectacles, those spectacles have included violent displays that tickle the innate human desire to watch things get killed. Although the physical toll of being a Medieval Times jouster is a teeny tiny bit less extreme than the activities mentioned above, it requires far more skill and dedication than an outsider would guess.
Max Shkvorets was a friend of mine in high school. Part of the drama clique, he was the kind of happy-go-lucky kid that bordered on annoying most of the time thanks to his perpetually cheerful attitude. I remember him trying out for our school’s improv team (yes, my school had an improv team) and absolutely bombing the audition. He loved acting, but just didn’t have the confidence at the time. He was a good guy to be around, but like most friendships at that age, it didn’t survive graduation. One day a few years down the line, a mutual acquaintance told me that of all the dramatic hopefuls we studied with, he was one of the very few who managed to get a paycheck for his craft. Not only that, but his day job now required him to wear plate armor and ride a horse—my friend Max had become a knight.
Medieval Times is kind of a weird place to work. While most of the people they employ are cooks, servers, or general event staff, the whole operation revolves around the few people—mostly trained actors and stuntmen—with the skill and dedication necessary to perform in the weekly shows. Becoming one of these rare individuals is not an easy task. It requires an intense dedication to something most of us would never even consider trying (or watching, probably).
The first stepping stone to becoming a knight at Medieval Times is temporary employment as a squire. You’ll tend to the horses, help load the weapons, and set up and take down various props and effects for the show. It’s not glamorous, but it’s a foot in the door. The real benefit is the training you recieve from the rest of the crew on stuff like fight choreography and not getting trampled to death by horses mid-show.
According to head knight Sean Delaney, not everyone’s got the drive for it. “Part of it’s the dedication; part of it’s the ability. We’ve had some people come here with all of the ability but no ambition, and they just fall by the wayside. Then we’ve had people with nearly no skill who come and get it because they try their guts out. It’s those people who are willing to learn as much as they can, ride as hard as they can, and try as hard as they can who make it.”
When Max started as a squire a few years back, he was faced with a very typical problem for newcomers to the show. He had some acting ability, but most of the specialty work needed for the show was foreign to him, and training time can be exceptionally rare. “A lot of it was an uphill battle. When I started as a squire, there were a fair number of them here and most of the training time goes to those who prove themselves. It makes sense to train the guy who’s been here for a while rather than the guy who might leave in a month. You sort of have to fight for training time, so I had to go to Sean every day and ask if rather than wash horses for a bit I could do mock tests to become a knight. You just need to keep pushing for it and pushing for it. It’s cool how this job puts your advancement in your own hands, but you have to own it. It’s definitely made me a stronger person. It’s made me understand that you can’t wait for people to offer you something—you just need to go out and do it.”
Toronto Just Fired the Greatest Mayor of All Time
Toronto has had a very exciting 24 hours. Last night, our Canadian football team won the Grey Cup. This morning, we fired our 64th mayor: Rob Ford. Over here at the VICE Toronto office, we fell in love with this amiable, clumsy, fat drunk guy early on. It was love at first laugh, after he chased a reporter out of City Hall forcalling him a “fat fuck.” We understand that this is the same guy who was arrested for a DUI in Florida while he was riding dirty with a bag of weed, and yes, ol’ Rob may or may not have threatened to kidnap his own children, but he was our kidnapping, reckless driving, weed loving mayor.
Inevitably, Rob’s downfall came from his one tragic flaw: a love of high school football. Yes, Rob coached a high school football team in Etobicoke called the Don Bosco Eagles, and those little fuckers took Rob down. All the trouble really started when Rob started writing letters asking for donations to the Don Bosco Eagles using“official letterhead and other city resources,” which caused some people over at City Hall to find this swinging of mayoral dick to be a massive conflict of interest. When Rob was on trial to defend his solicitation of football donations, the prosecution argued that ol’ Ford was “willfully ignorant” of breaking Toronto’s Conflict of Interest Act. Despite all the haters, Rob Ford continued to use his mayoral powers to make things easier on Etobicoke’s finest high school football players. Earlier this month, two Toronto Transit buses were emptied so that they could go and pick up Rob’s football team. Rob claims it was all a misunderstanding. He said that the buses were diverted to stop a fight between the two teams playing that day, a fight that Rob blamed on the opposing team’s coach, and honestly, we believe him entirely.
Rob Ford exhibiting his sweet moves on the gridiron.
The best part about Rob’s storied reign as Toronto’s supreme ruler, is that the laughs just didn’t seem to ever want to stop. Remember when he had to pee at a CFL game and accidentally walked into the Calgary Stampeders’ locker room at half-time? Presumably drunk as fuck? Or how about this past summer, after thehorrifyingly tragic shooting on Danzig St. in Scarborough, when Rob ordered the deportation of “white, pink, or purple” people?
We’ll always remember Rob Ford as a man of the people, who always had time for his loyal subjects. One very lucky mother and daughter got to see Rob in person, while he was obviously on an important call pertaining to official city business, as he was talking on his cell phone and driving. The mother, a concerned citizen, warned the mayor of the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phone. Rob, understandably bothered, flipped off the nosey woman who was driving with her six year old daughter. He had to teach that mother and daughter a hard lesson about Rob’s personal immunity to safe driving laws, and we’re sure they’re better off for it.
Another snoopy citizen spotted Rob Ford reading while he was driving. This concerned stick-in-the-mud tweeted a photo of Rob watching his paperwork instead of the road, and it caused a bit of a stir. Rob Ford calmly explained to the press that he was “probably busy” and fully admitted to reading and driving. When else is the guy gonna read? He’s only going to be on the can for so many hours in a day.
Robbie reading in the whip.
Tough love driving lessons aside, Rob was always looking out for the well being of Toronto’s citizens. Six months before he was elected mayor, Rob suggested that one of his constituents, a guy named Dieter who was complaining about health problems, “score” some OxyContin “on the street.” Rob claims he was just trying to get out of an awkward phone conversation by suggesting that Dieter should go and buy some drugs illegally, to help fix Dieter’s chronic pain. Perfectly understandable behaviour for a mayoral candidate.
When the Weeknd appeared out of nowhere almost exactly a year ago, the music on versions of some of the earliest and biggest tracks— “What You Need”, “Loft Music” and “The Morning”— were credited to Canadian producer Jeremy Rose. But his name was soon scrubbed from the Weeknd’s material. Rose recently spoke to VICE about his work with Abel Tesfaye and co., implying that he was not only essential to the Weeknd’s early production, but helped envision the entire project’s aesthetic:
“I asked him if he wanted to work on something— I had this idea for a dark R&B project… Abel seemed to suit the project.
When I met him I heard some of the stuff that he was doing. It was called the Noise… They were a straight kind of R&B, just really light… And I was just like, ‘Aw, fuck that shit. No man, let’s talk about, fuckin’ and getting too high and trying to fuck bitches and it not working out. Let’s get really grimy about it.’”
After they got close, Rose alleges Tesfaye “wouldn’t respect his opinion,” or pay him and “things went sour” when he asked Tesfaye for credit on the songs. “I’ve never heard from him since I told him I didn’t want to work with him anymore,” he said. No legal action has been taken, but Rose says, “We’ll work on it [getting money].”
When Pitchfork reviewed the Weeknd’s House of Balloons last year, we originally credited Rose (who now operates under the production name Zodiac) in our review. When the review went up, we received this e-mail from Weeknd crew member La Mar Taylor:
“to whom ever this may concern, i am a rep for The Weeknd and it has been brought to my attention that there is an error in the article you guys wrote up for best new music. Jeremy Rose was NOT a producer on the album. Doc McKinney and Illangelo helped compose the songs on the album with The Weeknd. Look on the weeknds tweets and friendslist for proof. Jeremy Rose is not mentioned atleast once”