Here in Canada, we’re about two weeks into the whole Jian scandal. If you aren’t Canadian, or if you are and you’ve been hiding under a rock or in a cabin in northern Saskatchewan or you’ve been lost at sea for the past several days, our Humpty Dumpty of radio took a great fall.
I don’t need to go into the details. They are there, like all scandals, in scarlet internet letters. Let’s just say the host with the most, our national treasure, the CBC’s so-called greatest asset, has been toppled from his throne amidst what began as a Toronto Star news story and has evolved into, as of now, allegations he assaulted and sexually abused nine women and a man. The Toronto sex crimes unit is investigating at least three complaints against Ghomeshi. No charges have been laid. Ghomeshi has hired a criminal lawyer.
This story has been sadly interesting to follow.
I kind of loved Jian Ghomeshi, you see, the way you love someone whose talent you respect and whose work you follow. I didn’t listen to him every day because, well, I’m a busy homeschooling mom. But when we travelled, say to Moose Jaw for shopping or to Regina for dentist appointments, I was happy if the trip coincided with Q, the CBC radio program he hosted.
Listen, I’d say to the kids. This guy is the best interviewer I’ve ever heard. He does his homework. He’s a great example of someone who knows how to use words well. He’s living inside his talent. I hope you find ways to do that in your lives.
So it’s been sad. And interesting. And rather curious to watch as the public (including myself) responds in various ways.
Mostly, people are rushing to assure each other that they are against violence toward women. Mostly, Jian has lost public support, in spite of his early assertions that all his activities were consensual and nobody’s business. Mostly, even those who initially agreed with him that what happens in the bedroom is out-of-bounds, have turned on him. He doesn’t seem to have many friends left.
I’ve wondered about my personal response to all of this. Initially, I was so sad, but when I voiced that sentiment publicly it was interpreted as support. I think. Who really knows what anyone means within the limitations of social media conversation? But that’s how it seemed. That being sad was unacceptable because, by gosh, he’s a horrible person who has done horrible things.
But, you see, I’d just found out about the horrible things and I was having trouble reconciling the horrible assertions with the voice I heard on the radio.
Honestly, I’ve moved on from sadness to disappointment to barely reading beyond the headlines anymore because the story has become, as all these stories do, a media thing. There will be jokes and stories about what the maid or the chauffeur or the guy who sat next to him at that fundraising dinner said, and who knows how it will end up when all the chips have fallen.
The thing I’ve learned, or relearned, maybe, is that talent isn’t representative of character. So what I’m saying to my boys now, is, Listen. This guy was a talented guy. He lived inside his talent, but talent isn’t everything. Be the most caring, loving men you can be, because that’s worth more than a silver tongue any old day of the week.