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Recycled content about Jian Ghomeshi November 2, 2014

Posted by sjroby in Life in general.
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This is a slight expansion of something I emailed to a friend who was inclined to support Ghomeshi, back on Tuesday.

I don’t believe Ghomeshi’s facebook post. It’s too obviously engineered to result in the right reaction from his fans, right down to lines like “We joked about our relations being like a mild form of Fifty Shades of Grey or a story from Lynn Coady’s Giller-Prize winning book last year.” That’s not cute or self-deprecating, it’s spin. That sentence is designed to do a series of things: get the soccer moms to relate, get the artsy hipsters to relate, link to something prestigious to remind you this isn’t some thug rapper.

“We joked” starts off by setting the stuff to come in a context of warmth, intimacy, shared understanding, and humour. There’s nothing scary, it’s all about sweet togetherness.

The rest of the sentence frames the situation as, first, being a milder version of something from a hugely popular book trilogy, which gets the more vanilla/mainstream audience on board by tying in to something popular and reassuring the reader that it wasn’t really rough or violent or anything, because it was a mild form. Then it throws in a Canlit reference for the artsier hipster end of the audience, making the link that he’s one of them and they are hip and cool about modern sexual mores and so they are comfortable with what he says he’s doing because otherwise they would be uncool intolerant squares like people from the 1950s. It mentions the Giller Prize, another prestigious thing he’s associated with, and what kind of nice literarily connected guy would be a violent thug?

There are a lot of other spin/framing moments throughout his little essay. It does not read as sincere or real to me.

Even just this phrase: “a story from Lynn Coady’s Giller-Prize winning book last year.” Who talks like that? It’s offputting to some people when people know too many details and recite them, so he doesn’t mention the story or book title to avoid the full monty of namedropping, but he does mention the author, that it won a Giller (what a coincidence — that’s the prize he hosts), and that it came out last year. He’s pitching to the highbrow and the hipster, who will get that little insider bonding buzz because they know the title of the book, while minimizing the chances of annoying the middlebrow and unhip.

I admit that hearing that the CBC had actually fired him made me think there had to be something bad going on, and I’ve never been a Q listener, much less a Moxy Fruvous fan, so I may have approached his facebook post with a less neutral perspective than some. But it was his own words — or Navigator’s — that convinced me that Ghomeshi’s statement was not the whole story, and that things would turn out to be much worse.