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New Trendy Thing: Local Pols Smoking Crack Like It's 1999
It took a while, sure, but the Marion Berry copycats are suddenly coming out in droves! (They are just really really slow copycats because of their drug-induced torpor.) That is, if two counts as "droves," and we figure fuck it, because that's easily enough examples for a New York Times trend piece.
So here's the big 'un that was blowing up all over Twitterspace last night, like a heapin' helpin' of exploding foamy pigshit: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, the man who has done the most to singlehandedly dispel the image of Canadians as "nice," might also be the gentleman seen smoking crack on a 90-second cellphone video that's been seen by writers fromGawker and from the Toronto Star. You know, Mr. Mayor, when people respond to stuff like you jumping up from a meeting and running outside to slap refrigerator magnets on cars by saying "is that guy on crack?" they don't usually expect quite such a concrete answer.
Gawker's John Cook says he was contacted by a tipster offering to sell him the video for "six figures" (by which we assume they mean over a hunnert thousand dollars, and not the six smallest-breasted celebrities). The tipster would not release a screenshot of the crack-smoking, but would agree to let Cook see the video, in person, in Toronto, and so off Cook jetted, which tells you something about Gawker Media's expense accounts if nothing else. Cook is, by the time he sees the video, pretty sure he knows what Rob Ford looks like:
Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. "Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!" is the one phrase the lodges in my mind. Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.
In an update, Cook adds that reporters from the Toronto Star have also seen the video, and while they agree that it's Ford, they identify the person being called a faggot as Wonkette's Canadian Boyfriend Justin Trudeau, who is actually the son of Pierre and Garry Trudeau, and who, while not gay, is suspiciously handsome. The Star reporters also attribute the remark to Ford, not to the offscreen voice. Let's check the tape and... oh, right.
So does this recording exist, and is it actually Rob Ford smoking crack? We now have three reporters from two different media organizations who have seen it, and a squirrelly video owner who wants a bunch of money for the video, so we can only imagine that unless the best bid comes from Ford or a supporter -- though we can't think of any conservatives with that kind of money to burn, offhand -- this thing will eventually see wider exposure. Then we can look forward to every idiot on Reddit proclaiming it absolutely true, or maybe an obvious fake, because of the pixels.
Ford's office denies the allegations and hung up on Toronto Star reporters seeking comment; a "gentleman with a hotmail.com email address" but nonetheless insisting he was Ford's attorney sent an eccentrically spaced message to Gawker's John Cook, putting him on notice that
Mayor Ford denies such took place,and if such posting occurs,it is false and defamatory,and you will be held legally accountable.In reference to the photo,you wish to publish, Mayor Ford has his photo taken daily,sometimes with others.
Ha-ha, we wonder what THAT dude was smoking!!
The other story to get the attention of our crack investigative team (zing!) comes out of the race for San Diego City Council, where candidate Myrtle Cole's campaign has dredged up a 20 year old allegation that her opponent, Dwayne Crenshaw, was involved in a drug deal while he was a student at San Diego State University, sending out a mailer with snazzy clipart and very compelling logic:
Just in case you can't read that, here's the skinny from Voice of San Diego:
"It was 3: 30am and Dwayne was sitting outside a crack house," the mailer reads. It goes on to imply that Crenshaw, who was attending San Diego State University at the time, was lying about being there to rescue a friend. It quotes a San Diego police officer saying Crenshaw was making up a story. "Everyone found outside a crack house at 3:30am says they're there for a friend and not for themselves," the mailer says, under a banner called "The Truth."
The story goes on to point out that the claim was used against Crenshaw in 2002, when Crenshaw was running against a different candidate whose campaign was run by consultant Larry Remer. The claims were debunked at the time in a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, but Remer says he didn't see that story, so he just dug out the old mailer, put Cole's name on it, and Waalaah, political genius! The cop cited in the mailer, Lawrence Cahill, says that Crenshaw was innocent, and that he is angry that his comments in a student newspaper report on the incident are being taken out of context yet again.
Mr. Remer, on the other hand, thinks it's a pretty awesome bit of campaigning:
Remer said the mailer doesn't say that Crenshaw used drugs and simply repeats what was in the student newspaper...
"You don't go skunk hunting in a tuxedo," Remer said. "There's nothing in the flier that's wrong."
"This is politics," he said.
Ha-ha, Officer Cahill, get ready to be seriously pissed off in another ten years, because text like "It was 3: 30am and Dwayne was sitting outside a crack house" is fucking GOLDEN.