Doolittle hits her stride at the Crazy Town launch, what’s next for Toronto’s new star journalist?
Robyn Doolittle doesn’t like comparisons between herself and Zoe Barnes.
Considering the character’s very different path to success it should come as no surprise that the new face of investigative journalism in Canada would be a bit irked when fans tell her she is just like the fictional reporter from House of Cards. With a quick spoiler warning she stressed to the crowd that the character sleeps with Kevin Spacey’s politician character to get her stories and that is certainly not the case for her.
Doolittle’s full house Ramsay Talk event at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema as part of the launch of her first book Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story focused more on her real experiences in meetings with editors and sniffing out leads from busboys at the Bier Market, the grounded and tested investigative reporting techniques that are easy to forget in a story that is oftentimes stranger than fiction and more tumultuous than anything Hollywood has produced in recent years.
The talk, introduced by organizer Bob Ramsay and featuring Twitter Canada head Kirstine Stewart flawlessly steering the conversation, showcased a comfortable Doolittle recounting the experiences in her life and career that led her to the publication of the book and touting the advances in social media that made the whole thing possible.
My only criticism of the event stems from Doolittle’s preamble where she described allegations that the Star had fabricated the story and made a joke about switching from Gawker quoting Ford as saying Pierre Trudeau is a ‘fag’ or Justin Trudeau being a ‘fag’ to switch things up. My instant reaction was shock. While causing offense may not have been intentional I hope that she takes pause before saying the word again, regardless of her coverage of an incident in which it was spoken by a public official it has absolutely no place in a joke and should be treated the same way as the n-word.
Doolittle has come into her own as a media personality, no doubt fashioned by countless television appearances both in Canada and abroad as the go-to expert on everything Ford. It isn’t difficult to envision a future for the writer in comment if her ease of presence in front of crowds and cameras translates to topics beyond Toronto’s City Hall sideshow.
Robyn Doolitle will continue to promote her new book Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story this week on CNN’s AC360 and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.
Related: New Rob Ford video shows him intoxicated and rambling
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Related: LISTEN: WP editor Travis Myers loses it on air over Rob Ford’s homophobia
WATCH: Trailer for new documentary about the TTC
While Torontonians may get up in arms when it comes to the TTC, whether it be about cancelled plans or transit expansion, it is easy to forget at times that there is a small army of TTC operators who help to make transit in a Toronto a reality every day.
This film, called Moving Toronto: Underground With the Toronto Transit Commision, takes a closer look at the people behind the wheel and on the tracks who keep the trains on time, including TTC bigwig Andy Byford.
Listen to Andy Byford on #TOpoli with Sarah Thomson
The film promises to be, at very least, an insightful look at the TTC’s staff, and can hopefully shed some light onto the day-to-day operations of the system that daily riders often forget about.
The film is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2013.
You can follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.
Don’t hate me because I’m taller than you: Why are short people so physically aggressive to me?
As I exited the subway today in the middle of a swarm of office-bound people it was a familiar scene. I walked though a set of double doors into a corridor that opened up on one side and people streaming from two directions were heading my way. As I continued to walk in the same straight line a woman half my size was on a direct and sustained collision course.
No, I thought, today is different. Don’t move this time, don’t let her push you around.
Since she had so much space to, you know, not walk directly into me I continued walking on my straight path. I have no idea what the woman was thinking, but she didn’t move and walked right into me. There was no question that it was entirely her fault so I didn’t bother to offer the first half of the traditional Canadian double sorry. She didn’t apologise either and continued on past me off to walk into other people.
Up a flight of stairs at Tim Hortons there was a short line spilling out into the concourse. I stood behind someone else in the doorway and people exited through the other half of the door. I felt some movement behind me but didn’t turn around to see what it was. A different woman half my size shoved her way through the oncoming traffic and those like me waiting patiently in line, and on her savage journey her elbow made swift and blunt contact with my groin and had me doubled over in pain.
This near constant stream of physical aggression from people shorter than me is nothing new. In fact, it is pretty much my every day.
I’ve had plenty of time to think about it often since I hit a growth spurt in my early teens. At 190cm tall (that’s 6’3″ to the unenlightened) I’ve always been quite aware of my size and stature. Constantly slouching to be in photos, smacking my head on door frames designed for shorter people, having my feet hang off the end of the bed. All of that and more, and I’m not even incredibly tall. I can only imagine the logistical nightmare faced by people a few inches north of me.
All of that is incidental, the kind of stuff that makes you shrug because it is your lot in life. Even being fetishized by shorter people as a tall person isn’t exactly the worst thing about being tall. The physical aggression, however, is.
Every time I step out in a public space I feel like I am locked in a game of chicken with everyone around me, and the worst part is I am put in a position where I always have to lose.
The best way I could explain this to someone of average or shorter height is that every time I’m caught in the public space showdown it is like having a loaded gun in your pocket during an argument. Sure, I could win easily. All I would ever have to do is brace my shoulder and walk at a clip and every person who wants to inhabit the space I am in would be on the floor. I could be the first person up the steps every time if I wanted to. I could have actually picked up the person who dinged me with a crotch shot at Tim Hortons by the scruff of the neck and thrown them to the back of the line if I had wanted to, but I don’t want to because I have no desire to pick fights with strangers.
Like having a gun in an argument any sane person is going to back down, lose the argument, and let the aggressor win to maintain peace.
I never encounter this issue with anyone my size — we understand that playing chicken on the subway platform is like two nuclear powers going to war and can only end in mutually assured destruction.
The people who do barrel along always invariably seem to be around five feet tall. I don’t want to be responsible for knocking someone into an oncoming train, so I always step aside.
But, for the love of God, I am sick and tired of people taking advantage of my willingness to prevent their physical injury.
Part of the issue stems from Napoleon complexes. The complex, also known “short man syndrome” is a bit of pop psychology that applies to the attitudes of people with different perceived handicaps — although Napoleon himself wasn’t as short as history painted him, the idea is that he tried to take over Europe to compensate for his stature. The theory is that people who are shorter or smaller will tend to act more aggressive or attack larger opponents to compensate for people viewing them as weaker or less capable than their tall counterparts. While it might not apply to everyone I have known several shorter people who have told me they are (inexplicably, to me at least) jealous of my height.
The theory isn’t exactly hard science, I would assume because any time an angry short person was told they are angry because they are short they got twice as mad at the psychologist and refused to participate in the study any more.
Couple Napoleon complexes with the unspoken social contract of crowd spaces we Canadians share (1: Step out of the way; 2: Apologise a few times; 3: Don’t cause a scene at any cost) and you’ve got a system ripe for abuse by those who have something to prove and people being pushed around who are almost psychologically incapable of doing anything about it.
People who hold this world view have my sympathy, but there comes a point where I have to say enough is enough. Consider this my manifesto: The next time I am facing imminent contact with a pushy person I’m taking a page out of their book and throwing the Canadian social contract out the window and bracing for impact.
Maybe when a few assholes realise that despite whatever anger or fervor fuels them they can’t, in fact, get past me by sheer will or force we can get back to the way things should be. Until then, get the hell out of my way and pick on someone your own size.
Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.
Toronto’s Worst Missed Connections: January + 2013 All-Star Edition
Love can be so fleeting. A stranger’s split second of eye contact can mean more than years of a relationship. Our hearts are great untamed beasts that know no bounds and can pine for someone that we never even knew. The poetry of our emotions is a never ending tale.
What better way to find the love of your life than by posting an ad in the same place you’d buy a used futon?
Get ready for January’s worst Missed Connections. If you haven’t already lost your faith in humanity and stoped believing in love keep reading for Toronto’s absolute All-Star worst Missed Connections of 2013!
Click images to enlarge.
1. It is really hard to focus on household nude photography to the music of The Offspring with your wallet missing.
2. But not nearly as cute as that ass.
3. “I don’t even want to ask you out, I was just wondering if your butt has ever considered a career as a hypnotist.”
4. Wait, I don’t think we are talking about groceries anymore.
5. If someone fetishizing your disability interrupted you in the middle of a phone call you’d probably give him the finger, this guy just didn’t have that option.
Toronto’s Worst Missed Connections: 2013 All-Stars
1. Single folks take note, this is a textbook example of how to treat people you want to have sex with. Just kidding, only if you are Chris Brown.
2. Who says sexual assault isn’t romantic? Oh that’s right, everyone.
3. Step 1: Find woman.
Step 2: Say some awful things.
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Sex. (Duh!)
4. “Please treat me like garbage, but don’t actually treat me like garbage.”
Is there any way to forward Craigslist posting directly to WebMD for signs of undiagnosed mental illness?
5. Let’s get together and hate babies.
6. The least interesting this about this post is that both guys were named Rob.
7. It really saves time to write one Missed Connections post instead of two.
8. Nothing is more attractive than tears and the topic of domestic violence. Drinks?
9. Beard on beard poetry.
10. Drumroll please. The worst Missed Connection in Toronto for the year of 2013 is none other than TTC Stabbing Guy.
Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.
New video shows Rob Ford with Sandro Lisi
Rob Ford’s night out to Steak Queen didn’t end (or begin) with his incoherent rambling in a put-on Jamaican accent.
Another patron of the restaurant captured footage of the crack smoking mayor sitting casually at a table with his old friend Sandro Lisi, the man at the centre of the investiagtion of drug dealing, extortion, and criminal activity with roots in the mayor’s office.
This raises some important questions:
What are these two talking about?
Considering the intricate history that the two have it is possible they may have been discussing Lisi’s ongoing court case for which he is currently out on bail. Ethically should the mayor who has vowed to clean up his act be in late night meetings with a man believed to be a criminal?
Were drugs being consumed?
If the video showing Ford speaking unintelligibly and cursing at the counter of Rexdale eatery Steak Queen was shot after this meeting took place, is it possible that Ford and Lisi were taking part in a drug deal? It would make Ford quite the stupid man to buy drugs from the man who is currently facing charges associated with his drug dealing in quite the public light, but then again this is a man who has made many poor decisions.
Where are the police in all of this?
The police have admitted that they refrained from involving themselves with the ongoing saga of Ford and Lisi over the course of last summer, but with all the warrants associated with Project Traveler out in the open how can they possibly justify having no police surveillance on these two men as they meet in public once more?
Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.
How tacky is it to sell things on Facebook?
We’ve all seen it.
“Hey, I was cleaning out my closet and itemised, catalogued, and photographed all of this stuff to be sold. Oh maaaaaaaan, there sure is some good stuff here!”
Maybe you’ve even been the one doing it.
“Hm, instead of donating all this old crap I could make a few quick bucks. Stacy did say she liked this top after all. And it was fifty bucks new when I bought it in 2009. I suppose there is no harm in making an album and selling a few things, right?”
My mother used to drag us around to yard sales on every spring and summer weekend looking for deals. On the right kind of day you’d see half a dozen just driving to the grocery store. We would stop at every single one and then stop again on the way back to get the things she wasn’t sure about the first time we were there.
There is a dignity associated with the yard sale. This is a family, couple, or person who has come to the end of their spring or summer cleaning and actually just has a bunch of stuff to get rid of. They’ve thrown it all out on the lawn and put a kid with a tin box on the hopes of scrounging up four dollars for their once priceless CD collection, or maybe a quarter for a Rocko’s Modern Life colouring book that is half finished.
By the end of the day the afternoon are mostly empty and you have to go knock on the door to get their attention. By supper time they’ve given up, folded up the card tables, and thrown everything left into a hamper with “FREE STUFF” written on a poorly torn piece of cardboard in front of it. Game over. They participated in the time honoured tradition of the yard sale whereby you are granted no more than eight hours a year in which you can shamelessly grub for money from your friends and neighbours for stuff that is worth little more than it’s kitsch value.
Although it exists in the digital world, Facebook peddling is still a violation of this ancient suburban rule.
Remember that one yard sale that was just a little ways out of town that would be going on all year? You stopped and looked a few times and it was the same old crates of coke bottles and dog eared Danielle Steele novels every time. The reason you felt uncomfortable at these extended yard sales, aside from the pitbull chained to the tree in the lawn, was because you already understood that they were violating this code.
In your mother’s generation it was Tupperware parties or AmWay that violated The Rule by trapping friends, family, and neighbours into situations where they felt obligated to buy something to avoid the risk of being rude to someone close. No one enjoyed this, save for perhaps the person without social skill who pinned them there.
Today we have Facebook peddlers to fill this role by trying to run their apartments as if they were stores. Let me be the one to tell you that whatever money you may gain is most likely lost tenfold in respect from your peers. If you need the money so badly you should try and sell it on Craigslist or at a pawn shop.
But they won’t give me a decent price for it on Craigslist or at a pawn shop.
Then you can’t get a decent price for it, and expecting your friends to pay more doesn’t put then in a very high regard. If you can’t find a decent price for it then donate it to a non-profit drive like Goodwill or a local church
But this is too nice to be donated to some stranger.
Then donate it to your friends. In addition to saving your friends from feeling obligated or uncomfortable by seeing your used clothes tick by in their newsfeeds you’re saving yourself the social disgrace of being considered tacky.
Bottom line: If it’s still good keep it, if you can get a buck sell it to a stranger, if you can’t then give it away.
Doug Ford’s response to Janet Davis’ cuss was sexist and she deserves an apology of her own
Alright, it is pretty clear that Councillor Janet Davis didn’t make a wise decision when she walked up to Councillor Doug Ford today at City Hall and told him shut his “f–king mouth.” Was she vocalizing the thoughts of anyone who has ever seen this bully stomp around (and on) others? More than likely. But work is work, and although the Ford brothers have made this city’s governance evermore difficult to accomplish there is always a way to work around blind rage.
But Doug Ford’s response is what deserves analysis here.
Ford was well within his right to demand an apology, although I would guess that Ford demanded it less for actual hurt feelings and more for the show of stopping a meeting to call out a detractor, no doubt involved in the vast anti-Ford conspiracies that he and his brother spy around every corner in the days since the crack scandal broke wide open.
What Ford did wrong was to bring Coucillor Davis’ femininity into the equation while demanding an apology.
“You call yourself a lady? Give me a break.”
Ford isn’t accusing Davis of being a land owning wife of a Lord or even denoting any idea of respect with his question. Ford is calling up antiquated notions of what a woman is allowed to do and what a woman is allowed to say. By asking her if she calls herself a “lady” Ford is telling her to know her place, and that place is not to speak her mind, have a dissenting opinion, or disagree with a man.
Here’s some advice for Ford:
Ladies, or women as they are better known, are as capable as anyone else of cursing. In fact, women can curse a blue streak, they know all the same swears and even direct them at others when they are upset. Women are entirely capable of getting mad and having opinions, even those that run counter to a man’s — even those that run counter to yours, Doug.
Councillor Davis is not a woman in frills and a powdered wig, she is a thoroughly modern woman with a full time job representing the people in her ward, including the children whose after school programs wont get any more money after you rallied against their expansion, the program expansion that you cussed out yourself by calling it garbage and stupid.
Councillor Davis deserves to be treated as more than some antiquated notion of a lady, quiet and observant, that you might like her to be.
She gave her apology, now where’s yours?
Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.
Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.
Toronto man proposes to his boyfriend online
Prepare to get your cry on when you watch this beautiful viral video of Toronto couple Michael and Dave (with a little help from friends, family, and even pets) recounting their history together and plans for the future in the lead up to Dave proposing.
And, while we live in Canada where the issue has long been put to rest, this is a great example of the amazing love that two people can share regardless of their gender. To anyone who might argue that gay people don’t deserve to get married, take a look at this video and tell me that there isn’t a tear running down your eye right around the four minute mark. Yep. That’s love.
From Women’s Post and Gay Post here is wishing Michael and Dave nothing but the best and many years of happiness in their lives together.
Eight best of the “Hipster Harper” meme
Stephen Harper a hipster? Hardly these days, but a photo of Harper in his youth clad in a plaid shirt with shaggy hair has inspired some on the internet to dub him a proto-hipster.
The memes centre around just what exactly a cooler-than-thou young Harper’s motivations would be for his less popular actions as Prime Minister.
Check out our favourite eight examples of the meme from around the web.