Jian Ghomeshi and masturbation
Why is it that every time I decide to listen to CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi I get the urge to masturbate?
It all happened so fast. I never even knew the guy a year ago and now we are so intimate.
It was back then when I found myself – as part of my job – driving around downtown Toronto, 2-3 times a week, in the mornings, and as most Toronto morning radio is absolute moronic drivel – jammed as they are with endless ads and tireless updates from last night’s reality shows – I stumbled upon “Q with Jian Ghomeshi”.
“Ghomesh” (as I’m sure all his friends call him) is the hipster-dude-wannabe with a 10am morning show on CBC Radio One; who, like George Stromolopolis, and the Ben Mulroneys and Jeannie Beckers of the world, are moderately successful celebs despite being so completely unaware of their own slick dweebness.
His show is a top-hits list of appearances by contemporary intellectuals, film makers, playrights, actors, and muscians.
But, first and formost, the show is about Ghomeshi. He’s the coolest, hippest, connected cool dude poser, if ever there was one.
Ghomeshi’s ego is so obviously overcompensating for something – perhaps a deep inferiority complex of some kind – that I can almost pity him.
But I can’t, because he always interviews people like he’s too eager to right then give them a blowjob. Reaching out to them as he does with a voice that fits my ears like cheap velvet gloves.
He loves most interviewing indie rock bands – you can hear it in his voice – followed by movie stars and the celebrities of the day; but he’d tell you that he’s most proud of interviewing the likes of a Salmon Rushdie or Deepa Mehta.
Some aging theatrical actor called Gomesh out one day last spring for being a pompous self-absorbed ass of an interviewer. I was so pleased to hear it I nearly choked on my cookie. The old actor wanted to know when the interviewer had become more important than the interviewee.
I never knew – until that moment – that you could hear someone blushing on the radio. For a full 5 seconds there was silence on the air, followed by some stammered follow-up question by Ghomeshi.
What I have since discovered is that Jian, in fact, is quite popular with a certain (not small) clique of radio listeners. There’s a big group of women in their thirties and forties who absolutely love him; and first year university types (again, mostly girls) pack his “live to air” university shows that often tour the country.
Apparently, when he leaves his CBC studio in Toronto, for places like Calgary, or London, or Winnipeg, he is treated like a minor celebrity pop star in his own right.
He’s almost as cool to be around as the people he interviews.
Which brings me to one of my own confusions in life.
I don’t understand celebrity worship.
I lived in Toronto for almost twenty years, and stumbled upon celebrities on occasion, but I have never found myself wetting my pants or jumping up and down and screaming when I bumped into one.
I once shared an elevator ride with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had on a nice suit. So I said “nice suit”. He replied with that infamous Arnold accent, “Thanks.”
I was in a café early one morning when Jack Nicholson sat down at the table beside me. I was reading the paper and didn’t even realize he was there until he enquired “could you share the paper with me?”
Obviously when I turned to look at him I knew who he was, and it was “fun” that the encounter happened, but I had no compulsion to do a meet-and-greet-jump-up-and-down-I-can’t-believe-my-luck sort of thing!
Toronto’s mainstream middle-class downtown crowd of university educated hipster dwellers of the Annex and Riverdale and the King Street condo variety are so celebrity-anxious, so celebrity-envious, that they will do anything to be worthy of celebrity approval.
There are 20,000 restaurants in Toronto but people will line up all Saturday morning just to get into the latest hippest celebrity-approved brunch spot. They do it all the time for the latest box-office blast! Or for a hope of a glimpse of Justen Beiber, as he enters his favorite Toronto hair salon, or when he’s just bought his 10,000th pair of shoes.
I’ve seen young girls cry – curled up against the wall and weeping with joy – because they thought they just made eye contact with Robert Pattinson
On this morning’s Ghomeshi show (Sept 07) some executive from the Toronto Star was defending “the media’s” move to infotainment news (which everyone on the show agreed was a step down from a “serious” radio interviewer like Ghomeshi), stating “that was [the level]where society now functions”. He went on the note that if The Star, or any of the big media outlets started upping the intelligence levels of their coverage of the news-of-the-day people would tune out even more than they do now.
So the viscous loop of ADHD-celebrity-worship ever tightens.
The more we entertain ourselves with the delusional celebrations of our fantasies and live our lives through the fashionable lives of the chosen few, and glimpsed at for no more than a few seconds at a time, the more our lives will appear to be both fulfilled and entertaining.
It’s a form of mental masturbation.
Folks like Ghomeshi continue to bring the lube, and everyone feels so good. We turn on the radio where we rub up against Ghomeshi with his hipster interview style and spoon-fed questions,
and everyone feels so good, and important, and involved; each of us awash in the zeitgeist, surfing the wave to paradise.