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05/28/2013

Florida Man: the ultimate Rob Ford antidote

Flaman
Meet Florida Man. (Twitter)

Our condolences to those who feel it's already too late for Canada to ever reclaim its global image as a benign but somehow better place, with functioning banks, universal health care and far fewer guns.

The unkindest cut of all, of course, came from Bloomberg News columnist Josh Barro, a New Yorker who responded to viral onset of the Rob Ford saga by spending several hours thinking hard about Canada for the first time ever.

"I have bad news for you, Canada," Barro concluded in his investigative report on the True North. "Americans have learned about Rob Ford, and we'll have no more of your smug superiority."

Alrighty, then, the jig is up.

Except, if its tabloid poker you want to play, Canadians need not look hard for the political Royal Flush. Sarah Palin, Anthony Weiner, Michele Bachmann, Monica Lewinsky. Pick a card, any card. Everyone's a (Donald) Trump.

The Rest Of Canada, meanwhile, is also starting to chafe. Much as everyone loves to hate Toronto, the sheer geo-centricity of the Ford Brothers spectacle is wearing thin.

Among the mockery now making the rounds on Facebook is this frequently shared map of Canada, presenting Toronto as "Centre of the whole freaking universe!," home to "Terrible politicians and hockey teams." And this one, another mock Toronto-as-everything map, which references Alberta as home to "Religious Nuts With Oil," Saskatchewan as "Stuff for Bread" and the rest of Ontario as "My Cottage."

Now that everyone from Mick Jagger to (a satirical)  Adolf Hitler has had their way with Sideshow Rob, is it too much to ask to revert to boring? 

Those in need of emotional rescue take comfort, there is a scandal-caped crusader out there guaranteed to draw attention long after the Ford story runs out of gas. 

We give you: Florida Man  --  a gift from Twitter heaven guaranteed to keep the late-night comics fed in perpetuity. Or at least until the planet tires of talking about Toronto's Imperfect, Untiny Mayor.

Many have long felt that Florida is the true Centre of The Universe when it comes to belief-beggaring crime and scandal. The Miami New Times actually made a contest of it last year, pitting Florida against Texas in a showdown of which state leads America in "dumb, horrifying, hilarious perps." Florida won with flying colours.

But Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) -- billed on Twitter as "real-life stories of the world's worst superhero" -- is taking it to a new level, gathering, linking and feeding every single astonishing Florida caper to a rapidly expanding international audience. 

Here are just a few highlights this month alone, as the world obsessed on T.O.: Florida Man Shoots Himself While Bowling; Florida Man Bitten By Alligator While Fleeing Police; Florida Man Strips Naked In 7-Eleven, Tells Cops 'I Am A Monkey'.

The anonymous Florida Man account sprang to life in February. But six weeks later he was joined on Twitter by Florida Woman (@_Flor1daWoman), who, while not quite as prolific as her doomed male counterpart, is trying hard to catch up. Among her latest true-life exploits, Florida Woman Accused Of Assault With Garden Gnome; Florida Woman Rides Manatee Like A Horse; and, our favourite, Florida Woman Says Jesus Endorses Her For Mayor.

If you have no use for Twitter, never mind. The Adventures of Florida Man and Florida Woman have since spread to a dedicated Tumblr page, created and maintained by "Florida Girl, a Floridian who hates it here."

Go ahead, please. The faster you share this, the faster the sideshow moves south. No odds on Rob Ford being the first to click.

Mitch Potter is the Star's Washington Bureau Chief, his third foreign posting after previous assignments to London and Jerusalem. Potter led the Toronto Star’s coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he won a 2006 National Newspaper Award for his reportage. His dispatches include datelines from 33 countries since 2000. Follow him on Twitter: @MPwrites

Comments

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I have three words for American's thinking they should be commenting about incidents that get publicized about Political public figures.

1) Bill
2) Monica
3) Cigars

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