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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi, Sexual Harassment, Sadomasochism, and the Progressive Left

Jian Ghomeshi. Source: Youtube video. 
He was charming, powerful, and beloved. The progressive, leftist, cultural-political-arts scene worshipped him. He was a male feminist. He opposed the patriarchy. He was exotic and multicultural. He achieved sexual satisfaction by forcing a young, vulnerable woman to kneel before him and by beating her about the head till she could no longer see straight. He also liked choking and violent penetration. At least once, he grabbed his male employee's genitals by force and fondled them against his employee's wishes. When the employee complained, he accused the employee of being "homophobic."

He sang, "All my fans make me sick / all my fans are thick / I'd like to beat them with a fucking stick. This is my shtick." He said that snubbing unworthy fans is comparable to stepping on insects.

And he's from … Canada. Nice, boring, Canada.

His name is Jian Ghomeshi. No, I'd never heard of him, either.

I was listening to NPR on October 30, 2014, and Audie Cornish said "This next story may be upsetting to some listeners."

Jian Ghomeshi, until October, 2014, was the 47-year-old host of the CBC, or publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's talk show "Q." (Yes, it is a pretentious name.) His program was famous for interviewing pop culture, left-leaning darlings like Julian Assange, Lena Dunham, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Maya Angelou, Billy Bob Thornton, Leonard Cohen, and Margaret Atwood.

In Slate Magazine, Carl Wilson says that he and everyone else in the progressive, leftist, feminist, pacifist, multicultural, artsy-fartsy Toronto "scene" knew about Jian Ghomeshi's taste for beating up young, thin, beautiful, vulnerable girls, but never did anything about it. Wilson's article is entitled, "I Knew about Jian Ghomeshi…Are We Complicit in His Alleged Abuse?" The answer is, of course, yes, you are complicit.

In the Macleans article "How He Got Away With It," Anne Kingston says "Jian Ghomeshi's behavior was an open secret going back to his university days. Not that anyone took action. The CBC made him a star."

I am following the Ghomeshi story for several reasons.

I was harassed by a college professor for whom I worked when I was a graduate student at Indiana University. I was asked to testify against this professor and I did. My testimony lasted the entire semester after the harassment took place. I testified to a series of campus higher-ups including Patrick O'Meara and Deborah Anne Freund. The experience was a nightmare and I hated every second of it.

Why did I testify?

When I first told a dean what the professor I worked for was doing to me, the dean said to me that this professor had been harming people for years, and that no one would do anything to stop her, because she was a woman and she was African American. People were afraid to speak up because they didn't want to be accused of being racist or sexist.

I, as a graduate student with "nothing to lose" was well-positioned to stop the reign of terror caused by this "sociopathic" professor.

I testified because I felt it was my duty. I wanted to protect others from being hurt.

Apparently that person was missing in Jian Ghomeshi's career of choking, punching, and molesting.

Yes, you are complicit. Yes, the women he harmed should have come forward sooner, and come forward by name. Yes, when a powerless person testifies against a powerful one, it is a nightmare. I know. I lived it.

Ghomeshi's executive producer, Arif Noorani, is accused of enabling Ghomeshi's abuse. According to The Toronto Sun, "One woman who worked with Ghomeshi at the CBC says he groped her, and told her he’d like to 'hate fuck' her…when she complained to Arif Noorani, the CBC executive in charge of Ghomeshi’s show, 'Arif's comment to me was, "He's never going to change, you're a malleable person, let's talk about how you can make this a less toxic work environment for you.'"

Ghomeshi is the son of Iranian immigrants, and online accounts say he has publicly identified as Muslim. No, no one is saying that only Muslims harass. We know about Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris.

Rather, I wonder this: did Ghomeshi's and Noorani's status as Muslims serve as some protection in his leftist, progressive "scene"? In the same way that the professor who harassed me was protected because people were afraid to blow the whistle on her for fear of being labeled racist and sexist, did progressive Canadians grant Ghomeshi a free pass because they were afraid of being labeled xenophobic or Islamophobic?

Ghomeshi's fans did celebrate his status as an exotic. A June 16, 2008 blog post by Lawrence Hunt hails Ghomeshi as an "enlightened and literate pacifist … in fact an unassuming Iranian Muslim."

I'm following this story because I wonder if my former comrades on the left will ever get it. Leftist identifiers shout from everything I read about Ghomeshi. His condemnation of "patriarchy." The guest list for his talk show. His vocabulary.

After the October 22 jihad shooting at the Canadian Parliament, Ghomeshi went on air to comfort his adopted homeland.

On October 23, he read an essay. Anne Kingston, in MacLean's, wrote that Ghomeshi said,

"'This is not what we do, who we are,' he said. He referenced Canada as CBC listeners want to believe it – an open, progressive, inclusive 'land of peace and order.' He warned of political finger-pointing: 'We believe too strongly in this country, this culture, this collective.' He addressed Ottawa: 'A nation is grateful. A nation is thinking of you. I’m Jian Ghomeshi. This is Q.'"

Collective? Collective??? COLLECTIVE?

The word that was meant to reassure and comfort Canadians in the wake of a jihad shooting was "collective"? Not "security" not "investigation" not "protect our culture" but rather "collective"? The kind of word that Stalin would love?

See, I used to be a leftist. I used to be part of the "scene" in towns like Berkeley. And nothing about the hypocritical rift between Ghomeshi's progressive talk and his misogynist, brutal actions surprises me. This is how the left works. Misogyny is as much a part of the leftist scene as hand-painted protest signs.

This is the progressive left that is saving the world, ya know? Liberating women. Sharing the wealth. Bringing on world peace with every bumper sticker, every streetside "take one leave one" free box, every friendly potluck cum orgy. Every time the vocabulary words "patriarchy" or "rape culture" or "humanist" is used, the world becomes a better place.

Will leftists get it that they produce and protect abusive monsters no less than we Catholics did, in the case of the priestly sexual abuse crisis?

I am fascinated by this story for another reason.

Why is Jian Ghomeshi famous? Canadians apparently loved him. I see a short, flabby, fat-faced, double-chinned, long-nosed, unkempt, no-talent with a slight edge of smarm about him.

Bill Clinton. I totally get Bill Clinton. I think he was a peerless political animal. Brilliant, seductive, charming. I wasn't seduced by him – I never believed his press. But I could see why others were seduced by him. I do think Clinton had a political mind like a steel trap. I completely understand how Bill Clinton could be a complete jerk when it comes to women, but a political success nonetheless.

I really don't get how Ghomeshi was able to be a psycho serial abuser and also become so successful.

I also really don't understand how people lead double lives. I'm constitutionally honest. It's just my nature. As hard as I try, I can't get into the skin of someone who mouths "patriarchy feminism peace and love" in public and in private orgasms by beating women in the head.

Finally, I'm fascinated by this story because of the mainstream acceptance of eroticized brutalization of women. See "Fifty Shades of Grey." I think there is such a thing as doing sex wrong. Yes, that's a very judgmental thing to say. Yes, I think if you get an orgasm by forcing a woman to kneel in front of you and beating her head, you are missing the best of what sex has to offer, and, yes, there is something wrong with you. And we live in a world where one is not allowed to say that because it's "judgmental." And being judgmental is the worst thing you can be. 




  3. I have to write because those check marks, interesting and cool, don't do it. I don't get it either. Why is the truth so blurred? I think that judgmental is the only way to be in some cases, else how can you determine what is good and what isn't? And I guess that's the point of being judgmental about judging. They don't want us to make those kinds of decisions. Shame us into silence. Yeesh! Thanks for being here and saying all the things that should be said.

    1. About the check marks ... there should be one for "Dostoyevskian"