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mercy for Jian

The whole Jian affair is making me feel a bit sick. Now two women have laid charges and the Toronto police are involved. Are we going to put this guy in jail? He’s already a pariah, his life destroyed by his own brutish heedlessness. What’s going on – in the media and on Twitter – is a pile-on, a merciless takedown. There’s so much glee in his precipitous fall.

I love and respect the Toronto Star, hounder of the hideous Fords, but their enormous headlines and photos : PR firm dumps Ghomeshi over ‘lies’: are going beyond good journalism. The other article on the front page yesterday was about a political couple in Mexico involved in the narcotics trade who are responsible for the massacre of scores of students.

I know this will be an unpopular sentiment: I feel sorry for Jian. Yes, it’s possible to feel compassion for someone without excusing his behaviour. The man is sick, no question. He’s not a murderer, not a child molester, but he is a narcissist, a bully, an egotist and a liar.

But let’s not conveniently forget, just wipe out the years of pleasure and pride he gave us from his perch at the CBC, as he interviewed every interesting person and A list celebrity who came through and did so with intelligence and grace. We all enjoyed not only the talk but our new sense of Canada at the forefront of meaningful adult discussion. Canada, hip, edgy, out there.

The chase after fresh scandal meat is becoming savage. Perhaps the man is irredeemable; perhaps he will never understand that what he did to women was vile and very wrong. But I still thank him for his years as this country’s premier broadcaster.

I’m just saying that we can be appalled by certain aspects of a man’s life without turning into a lynch mob. We are all flawed. If you and I suddenly had limitless power and fame and adulation, if every door we approached was flung open to us in admiration, what might we be capable of? How might we lose sense of decency, and our own fallibility, and the rights of others?



5 Responses to “mercy for Jian”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The irony, of course, is that he wanted to be in the limelight. Well, he's sure in it now! I feel sooooo sorry for his mother. Not only is she grieving the recent loss of her husband, she now has to endure this from her only son.

    I feel certain that in the years to come he'll make a comeback. He'll be prosecuted, he'll serve time, he'll go into therapy and then he'll write a book entitled "Teddy Bear and Me" or whatever that ridiculous stuffed bear is called (sick). They might even make a movie out of it.

    Look at Bill Cosby, Woody Allen and others. Their careers haven't been affected at all.

    Juliet in Paris

  2. beth says:

    Well, his comeback is certainly a way off, Juliet, if it ever happens. And anyone who'd consider making a movie out of this sorry story is sick him or herself. I know, that doesn't mean anything any more.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very well said, Beth. I too have enjoyed many hours with Jian on the radio and even though I abhor what he has done, I will still feel a little warm spot somewhere in my head when I think of him. I do hope he gets the help he needs but I'm hoping he gets a better therapist than Rob Ford had. Lani

  4. beth says:

    Thank you, Lani. I think there's a further problem in that he might not even acknowledge that he has a problem – just like Rob Ford. So he may not be fixable. But the relentless onslaught of attack does no one any good.

  5. Thanks, Beth for your courage and insight. I agree with you. Where is the proportionality? Jian is getting more publicity than a real rapist/murderer like Russell Williams. And then there was that oh so mockable 5th Estate show last night. The woman in the dark saying she went to his hotel room and then he wanted to have sex. Really? Jian comes not from the pitiful milieu of CBC bureaucrats, but the wilder shores of rock star culture. Not to praise or even sanction it, but it's not hypocritical. Also, viewing the 5th Estate, you'd think there was no other toxic workplace at the CBC but Q. That's the CBC, which has been cut and cut and cut, and which hires people on contract with no security.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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