As fun as it might be to watch a video of our mayor smoking crack - and as tempting as it is to have this story end with the definitive truth - I'm not joining the crowd-funding movement to buy it.
I don't want to enable unscrupulous types to stalk politicians and celebrities - and everyone else - and then extract large sums of money from the general public for a slice of "entertainment."
All that high-flown talk that it's in the public interest that the video be out there for everyone's consumption strikes me as naive. Most people donating to the "cause" are not doing so because they're worried about the health of our body politic. Their motives, I believe, are mostly prurient.
If, indeed, people are contributing because they want to bring down the mayor - a reasonable goal, in my view - they don't need to see the video. They can just watch Rob Ford self-destruct and, while they're at it, look at his record of unbelievably reckless behaviour. The crack charges dovetail nicely with all of it.
Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle, the writers who broke the story for the Star after Gawker reported that the video existed, are not cub reporters. They're not exploiters looking for profit. They're seasoned journalists who, I believe, would not risk their reputations by making stuff up.
So I'll take their word for it. They saw what they saw.
Not to say that by refusing to pay for the video The Star is purity incarnate. Just check out Marlene Arp's Sunday Star Gazing column, which publishes outtakes from photo shoots and makes fun of the celebrities in them. Ew.
But having to run away from reporters and paparazzi is the price politicians and paparazzi must pay for the power and privilege the public gives them.
Either way, if the public were crowd-funding to pay for the videos of only our biggest stars and people in government, the practice would not be so threatening. But what's to stop profit-seekers from developing entire businesses around selling fun, i.e., mortifying, images of random people?
In the age of YouTube, when individuals post embarrassing material - often at the expense of others - at least they don't profit financially from it.
Hang on to your money. When stalking people and selling videos becomes big business, the next subject could be you.