Tuesday 28 October 2014

Jian Ghomeshi on track to be Canada’s Pee-wee Herman

After recent allegations of abusive sexual conduct, and the loss of his job as host of CBC Radio’s Q, Jian Ghomeshi’s career as a media personality in Canada is likely over.
Together in the wilderness?

Ghomeshi got out ahead of the game, defending his actions on a Facebook post saying that the behaviour was always consensual, with the attacks against him being orchestrated by a “jilted lover” and an over-zealous journalist. 

It was a shot across the bow but, without anything else in his arsenal, that cannonball may simply sink, forgotten, to the bottom of the ocean.  The same can be said for his $55 million legal action against the CBC, which is essentially a nuisance suit.

The reason is simple enough: it’s not one woman, it’s now eight, with one on the record, and even friends like Owen Pallett are calling out Ghomeshi on his alleged misconduct.

Without the CBC behind him, and Q as a platform, Ghomeshi is left in the wilderness, a hot potato that no one will touch.

It is reminiscent of the scandal that erupted when children’s entertainer Paul Reubens, aka Pee-wee Herman, was caught masturbating in an adult movie theatre in 1991. Reubens' career was completely derailed, and he retreated from the public eye. Since then, he has had a modest renaissance as a writer and actor.

For Ghomeshi, the task at hand is harder. Other than being a radio host, his only other talent is as a musician. He had some previous success in the satirical folk-pop band Moxy Früvous, but that’s not much of a leg to stand on.

It could be argued, too, that Ghomeshi’s alleged misdeeds are worse than Reubens'. Mr. Reubens' crime – and it was a crime – was public indecency. But his “self-abuse” only hurt himself, no one else. The women who have come forward to speak to Ghomeshi’s alleged actions claim non-consensual physical abuse, some of it while engaged in sex.

In the world of kink, sado-masochism is all about consent and “safe” words. Ghomeshi admits to having a taste for this kind of activity, but always with consenting partners.

Proper sadism, however, is not a sex game. Anyone who has read the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom will know that sadists don’t have much fun with masochists. Hence the joke: “What does the masochist say to the sadist? Don’t hurt me.”

Real misogynistic sadism is not only ugly – it is unredeemable. It is also uninteresting, insofar as it demands that the sadist remain disconnected, shallow, and unsympathetic.

Who’s going to book that show? No one, because no one will want to watch it.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

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