Jian Ghomeshi reappears as egotistical and delusional as ever


Dont click, I said to myself. But click I did when Reflections From A Hashtag, former CBC radio star Jian Ghomeshis 3,000-word essay in the New York Review Of Books, appeared in my Twitter feed.

I was curious and not for a second expecting to read about how Ghomeshi emerged from his precipitous fall from grace over serial sexual assault allegations, which included accusations of punching and choking meaningfully transformed.

I was right. But it was much worse.

After four years out of the public spotlight, Ghomeshi remains all ego, with no sense of what he did wrong and no intention of doing anything to make himself accountable.

He opens Reflections with an anecdote about a chance meeting with a woman in a karaoke bar in New York City, after signing up to take part under the name Jian. Hey, you know who ruined that name for you? asks a woman, before realizing shes talking to the real thing.

She ends up apologizing. But Ghomeshi, charmer that he is, spins the encounter into what hes learned about empathy since becoming a social outcast. Mostly I felt bad because she felt bad, Ghomeshi writes. But then we rallied and sang a duet together.

Theyve become friends and have stayed in touch ever since. Boy gets girl and all is right in his world.

Ghomeshis victims, who felt theyd done something wrong when they were allegedly (gotta say that, unfortunately) attacked by him over the years, apologized to Ghomeshi, too. A truly conscious male would have made that connection.

You dont have to be sorry. You should, actually, be angry and upset with me, is what Ghomeshi should have said.

But no, Ghomeshi continues to be a weird mixture of delusional and pathetic.

One of my female friends quips that I should get some kind of public recognition as a #MeToo pioneer, he boasts. There are lots of guys more hated than me now. But I was the guy everyone hated first [his emphasis].

He cant help himself.

Referring to Q, the show he co-created and that launched him to prominence and won him invitations to A-list events around town, Ghomeshi describes how he became consumed by its success. I felt I was in a cage of my own making. It didnt help that my pay increased as my Twitter following skyrocketed, he laments. I had become a man who derived all of his self-esteem from external validation.

Really? Its as if those legions of supportive researchers and show runners that helped make him a success (at least one of whom he dry-humped against a desk without her consent) didnt exist.

When he isnt bragging, Ghomeshi revels in playing the victim, making references to inaccurate stories, salacious details and the echo chambers of social media that led to his undoing, as if his accusers were just purveyors of fake news.

He also mentions the racism of spectators at his trial who told him to Go back to Iran! Ghomeshi was born in England and raised in Thornhill and the hate mail from trolls dutifully passed along by his former employers at the CBC. YOUR FATHER HATE FUCKED YOUR MOTHER AND PRODUCED A BROWN BABOON….

Only, invoking social justice in this context feels kinda like OJ playing the race card.

In truth, I had always seen myself as a scrawny brown kid who didnt fit in, Ghomeshi writes. And how his misperceptions of himself obscured an awareness of my status. I didnt accept my own power. Yet, he cant resist mentioning how many women still want to get it on with him.

And what did he find most striking about the scandal that engulfed him? The reaction of men, who according to Ghomeshi, said things like, What happened to you could have been me.

It is bizarre to become an unwitting repository for men who are bewildered about gender relations or sexual behaviors, Ghomeshi concludes. They are not much different from him, which, he says, is evidence of the systemic culture of unhealthy masculinity.

About the worst he can say about himself is that he was tone-deaf in my private affairs and emotionally thoughtless.

The allegations that led to criminal charges against him the pulling hair, punching his dates in the face, and in one instance choking add up to more than that.

Ghomeshi is different from the average sexist guy. He wasnt a network boss, he insists, but he was uniquely situated as the most influential cultural commentator in Canada, thanks to his CBC connection, and he consistently abused that privilege.

Throwing around the feminist lingo may demonstrate that he knows about patriarchal cultural norms, but in Ghomeshis case its just another way of absolving himself of responsibility for his actions. Nice try.

Throughout his piece, Ghomeshi bemoans the fact that, having lost his income and his reputation, he is stuck in a place of shame, where there is really no way he can redeem himself. Thats a crock.

There is a path to redemption for Ghomeshi. It starts with getting help, learning to be publicly open about his abusive sexual behaviour and making personal changes. Ghomeshi could also put his celebrity to work as part of a national campaign to prevent violence against women. No one is stopping him.

Giving yourself marks for not behaving like a total creep while chatting up a woman on the train from London to Paris its his essays final tableau isnt going to cut it.

Feel free to crawl back under your rock.

susanc@nowtoronto.com | @susangcole



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