May 15, 2019
Rob Ford Has Entered Full Andy Kaufman Mode
A new video of performance artist/Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has surfaced; in the video, reportedly taken Monday night at a Toronto fast-food establishment, the very drunk mayor rambles and says many swears in both English and in Jamaican patois. If Toronto can’t fire him, they may install him in a permanent performance space.
The National Post, doing some heavy-duty journalisming, managed to decipher some of what Ford is saying, and to consult with sources in Jamaica to translate the Jamaican phrases. They put together a fairly brilliant transcript and explanation of Ford’s remarks, which may be the best piece of newspaper writing we’ve read so far this year.
FORD: C**ksuckers. Fuckin’ Chief Blair and them all. Cha, man. They chase me around for five months, man. Bumbaclot man. I said, me and him, ya raasclat bumbaclot.
In this opening diatribe against Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Mr. Ford uses no less than three expressions common to Jamaica, but virtually unknown among Canadian-born English speakers. The first, “cha,” is a disdainful expletive, the Caribbean equivalent of “bah!”
The other two are more obscene, what our Jamaican translator called “indecent language.” The first, “raasclat,” is a deeply offensive term that refers to a rag used to wipe one’s buttocks after defecation. As slang lexographer Jonathan Green explained in a 2011 online post, “raas by itself means the buttocks, and by extension the whole person.”
The second, “bumbaclot,” is said to be Jamaican equivalent of “f*ck” or Quebec’s “tabernac.” The word also refers to a rag, but usually one used to absorb menstrual blood. Most notably, it is mentioned in the song “Oh Bumbo Klaat” on the 1981 Peter Tosh album Wanted Dread and Alive.
In Canada, the newspaper articles come with playlists.
Ford goes on to complain about being under police surveillance, and trying to elude the police — “He’s hiding here, I’m’a hide here. I’m’a—oh, we don’t—f*ck off.” He also appears to repeat a claim that the police began watching him as revenge for cuts to the police budget:
I said bro, just cut something, ‘no man, no money man.’ Cha. Ah, Bumbaclot, man. I said ‘you know what? You raasclat, bumbaclot. I swear to God, man, honestly man. Serious shit, man. Serious shit, bro.
The National Post also notes, with what appears to be a certain sociological interest, that “this is the first time Mr. Ford has ever been seen to inject his public speech with Jamaican expressions, or even exhibit any knowledge of Jamaican English.”
They say journalism is a dying art? Cha, don’t you fuckin’ believe it, man.