Ben Johnson
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Blog Entries by Ben Johnson

It Would Be Weirder if Ford Attended Pride

2 Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 9:21 AM

Wednesday morning, once again citing an obligation to attend his family's own annual gathering at his cottage in Muskoka, mayor Rob Ford stated he will not be attending Toronto's Pride Parade.

While much has already been said this and last year about the mayor's obligation to attend given that the...

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Your New Year's Resolution: Be More Like Keanu

0 Comments | Posted December 29, 2011 | 3:43 PM

This viral video proves it: Keanu Reeves is a better man than you.


Clearly, I'm not talking about his acting prowess -- if you can muster any emotional depth beyond some version of "stunned confusion" it's safe to say that you have more acting depth than Mr. Reeves. No, I'm talking about something he has that most men these days don't: Manners.

Look at Keanu Reeves there, giving up his seat for a lady.

Neo, ladies and gentlemen, has manners. And I'd argue that this video is shocking and interesting to YouTube viewers, not because it's Keanu Reeves, but because it's such a rarity. What I mean is that, so rare is it for a man to give up his seat for a woman on the subway that a video of a celebrity doing it has three million views.

I imagine that those views represent 1.5 million women nostalgic for chivalry and 1.5 million men confused as to why Johnny Mnemonic would give up his comfy spot (and I'd allow for a margin of error of about 10,000 views that represent Gary Busey desperately looking for news of a Point Break sequel).

Because, let's face it, the truth is (and forgive me for sounding like an old man) that men simply don't behave like gentlemen anymore. At a time when our male role models are fist-pumping, spray-tanned goons, it's safe to say that the manners of this generation's men have begun a definite and noticeable slide.

And so I ask you, as we prepare to make some resolutions for the new year, that you consider making a concerted effort to behave just a little more like Theodore S. Logan.

To help you get started, I've created a little list. There's nothing too difficult here. In fact, it's probably all stuff you already know, but I just feel like we could all use a little refresher.

This year, let's go out into the world with a little more courtesy and a willingness to be a little more polite and patient with our fellow humans. In short, let's make an effort to be more like Keanu.

Take Your Hat Off
In virtually any situation that you find yourself seated and dining, it's inappropriate to be wearing a hat. At your in-laws for Sunday dinner or out on a date with a lady are not situations where wearing a baseball cap is appropriate. Sorry, but you look like a jackass.

If there are peanut shells on the floor of the establishment you're in and there is a football game blaring on a big screen over the bar, by all means, keep your Argos cap on. In any other dining circumstances, lose the lid.

Pick Up The Tab
Sure, modern women may make the claim that they prefer to go Dutch or that they too can pick up the tab sometimes and I appreciate that. But really, who doesn't like having things bought for them? You're on a date for crying out loud. Offer to buy the girl dinner.

And this doesn't just apply to women.

Other men will appreciate if you pick up the tab now and then, too. Why not? You're a grown-up, you've got a few dollars. If they're good friends, they'll likely return the favour soon enough.

Show up to a friend's house with a case of beer or a nice bottle of scotch. After all, he is your friend, right?

Say Please and Thank You
Just do it. All the time.

It was probably the first manners lesson you ever learned. How have you forgotten it?

Tip
Obviously you tip your server at a restaurant. Servers count on their tips and, most of the time, the job sucks. So tip always and tip generously.

But why not also tip other professions that may not traditionally expect tips?

A tip should be made in recognition of good service, so why not tip the guy that shows you to your seats at the ball game? Or the guy who tailored your suit? The concierge recommended a good restaurant? Tip her, man.

Not only is it a classy gesture to reward good customer service, in the end it also helps you. If you've had a few beers and want to pop out for a smoke during the Jays game, who do you think is going to be ready and willing to help you find an exit you can sneak back into? Who's going to get better and faster service next time you show up to that same tailor at the same time as another guy?

When it's deserved, tip!

Turn Your F---ing Phone Off
Stop texting, checking your voice mail, and reading your email. Give the person you're with your undivided attention.

Should I just start reading a book next time you're talking to me? Because it's pretty much the same thing.

Unless you're expecting a life-or-death phone call, it can probably wait until you're alone. The person you're with probably wants to talk to you, not the top of your head, so turn your phone off.

Hold The Door
If someone is right behind you or approaching the door from the other side, open it for them. It's not difficult, it's not going to slow you down much and it's virtually always appreciated.

These are just a few basics to help get us back on the right track. I hope I've helped us all to be just a little more polite this year. And if you're ever in doubt, just ask yourself, what would Keanu...

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Why Artists Should Hate the Internet

0 Comments | Posted December 17, 2011 | 5:41 AM

Thanks to the Internet, the human race is essentially all globally connected. Information is being shared at a rate and on a scale that no one dreamed possible, and we have virtually endless variety when it comes to online material.

A lot of good has come...

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An Open Letter to the Poppy Box Thieves

0 Comments | Posted November 6, 2011 | 8:00 AM

Dear Guy Who Stole a Poppy Box from Pizza Nova on Monday and Guy Who Stole Two Poppy Boxes from Tim Hortons on Wednesday:

I assume, based on your actions, that you aren't fully aware of the significance of the poppy, so I wrote this so that I might...

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Rob Ford, Please Start Acting Like a Mayor

0 Comments | Posted October 27, 2011 | 12:10 PM

First of all, let's just admit it, we're obviously not going to be best friends. I live in pre-almagamation Toronto and we all clearly voted for the other guy, so I'm not what you'd call "your base."

Likewise, as you've made clear in your first year in...

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Preparing For the Rapture (Part Two)

0 Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 9:10 AM

Dear Mr. Camping,

I notice on the website for your organization, Family Radio, that you have recently added something of an explanation regarding the fact that the rapture did not occur on May 21, as you predicted it would.

Please allow me to thank you for...

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Congratulations Mr. McGuinty?

0 Comments | Posted October 7, 2011 | 10:54 AM

Congratulations Mr. McGuinty!

Yesterday, Ontarians went to the polls and re-elected you as the premier of Ontario!

Mr. McGuinty, you have won the privilege to continue to lead a province with a large deficit during one of the worst times of global economic turbulence in recent history... er,...

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That's So Gay

0 Comments | Posted September 20, 2011 | 3:06 PM

"You're so gay."

It's one of the first insults we learn to toss around on the playground. It's a go-to phrase when a man wants to be disparaging to another man. And it's generally just something people say now to indicate they don't like... well, just about anything.

...
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Voting for Dummies: The Myth of the Regular Joe Politician

0 Comments | Posted September 16, 2011 | 3:04 PM

As we enter another election season here in Ontario, there are a few things I am sure we can count on: things will get ugly, there will be people who are upset with the outcome, and, at some point in the election, politicians of all political stripes will attempt to...

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Why Rob Ford's Weight Is a Political Issue

0 Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 8:13 AM


Unless you have been part of a sequestered jury or subject to some other court-mandated media ban, you are probably aware that Toronto recently elected a mayor who has been a bit controversial.

Career politician Rob Ford was never one to shy away from controversy...

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A Cyclist's Argument Against Stopping at Stop Signs

0 Comments | Posted September 1, 2011 | 10:31 AM

The other day, while biking to work, I came to a stop alongside another cyclist at a red light. Evidently he had been riding near me for some time because he asked, "Are you going to blow through any more stop signs?"

"Probably, yes," I told him, in all honesty.

...
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