The Utter Boredom and Bullshit of Jian Ghomeshi

The idea existed before he was born.
The principle is at the core of most of the shows on both radio and television.
Every aspiring journalist and broadcaster knows it instinctively, intuitively.
Almost half of what we’re exposed to is the exact same routine.

Interview someone famous and you’ll be famous.

And it’s all that Jian Ghomeshi and George Strombo know how to do.
Well, ok, one guy could sing what he calls “revolutionary songs” while the other tinkles the piano in the background – that’s something we’d all like to see, isn’t it?
They are like two peas in a pod. Their current gig is the exact same thing – interviews. One guy thinks he’s doing interviews for the Paris Review, and the other likes being called “one of the most respected journalists in the country“.
And for both, it is complete and utter bullshit.
You want to throw up your hands in exasperation and shout “what has happened to the minds of the people in this country???”
Is this what cablevision has wrought? That we’ve become so accustomed to living our lives watching shows and culture coming at us from the United States that we’ve completely forgotten who we are, let alone that some of our own neighbours have real talent and actual worth?
That we settle for one more interview with a celebrity, any celebrity, and think this is original content that has value and meaning?
Makes you want to use some very specific four-letter words.

You want to hear them say it.
Admit what they’re thinking and believe.
That if our Canadian public broadcaster were to only focus on Canada and Canadians the result would be that no one would listen. No one would watch.
Why can’t these loyal citizens simple be honest about their disdain for actors, writers and singers they consider second-class compared to somebody from Hollywood.
Tell Tom Green and Sean Cullen they’ll have to wait, we’ve got Adam Sandler on the phone. Whoopee!

Last night, CBC star personality Jian Ghomeshi came to an auditorium at Ryerson University to take a few questions from journalism students.
In March, Peter C. Newman will be doing the same thing.
A diminutive female professor with short grey hair, easily in her early fifties, and once a producer for the CBC, was the ring master who introduced the evening.
She, like many here tonight, is sold on Jian.
There are about 300 people here and almost all are women, and most of those are surprisingly, let’s say, mature. Very few seem to be actual journalism students.
Maybe not so surprising considering who the real CBC listeners are, the loyal listeners for whom radio and not the internet is still mostly where it’s at.
At a recent book signing at the Toronto Library with Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy it was standing room only in the huge room, hundreds of people, and grey hair everywhere you looked. These are clearly the people who are loyal to the CBC, the kind that, either themselves or their parents, went to war and would do it again , as if only to keep the CBC on the air. And for other freedoms, of course.
These are the people to whom the CBC said “screw you”.
The people to whom the CBC said, sorry granny, we’re going to move toward a lower age group in who we cater to. From now on, no more classical, it’s all rap music. This is the kind of genius move that only a really smart executive could have figured out as a way to reach a younger demographic.
It’s no longer about producing good shows. It’s about reaching a younger and larger audience as quickly as possible and at any price.
Ironically, that price is exactly the one that the CBC is funded by taxpayers for in order to avoid having to pay. Selling out your country.
Instead of celebrating one’s own country, it’s shoved aside in favour celebrating celebrity. American celebrity.
Both Ghomeshi and Strombo do the exact same thing.
They dream and cream of landing George Clooney.
To them, that would be such “a get”. Ratings, ratings, ratings. Doesn’t even matter what is said in the interview. Doesn’t even matter who, is doing the interview. Plunk down any person who works on the air at the CBC from across the entire country, even the weather girl in  Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in front of George Clooney, and people will watch. And watch and watch and watch. All the interviewer has to do is get through it without looking stupid and it’s a home run.
You are now one of the most respected journalists in Canada.
One day you will interview all the great leaders of the world and become very rich and people will respect you and think you must be very smart and probably on par with the very people you were interviewing.

Our host introduces Jian and lists his many endeavours and accomplishments. She is clearly a big fan of an extinct band called Moxy Fruvous, and she’s old enough to be his mother. Jian hosts “Q” , AND he’s on Bold TV. Two birds with one studio. He writes for the National Post, amazingly still printing, used to host a “much missed” show called Play, on late night TV, and also has contributed to, of all things, The Washington Post.
Wow. This guy is a thinker. Always thinking. A pretty impressive resume when you start to list things that way and throw in Washington Post. How did he get in there?
To get in the National Post he simply rode on the back of Leonard Cohen, with an essay ever so subtly and ever so humbly titled “L.C. and Me”. Equal billing, because, you know, Ghomeshi is a very deep and poetic man as well. And after all, he once wrote for the Washington Post. And wrote rock songs. And sang on stage just like you, Leonard.
Jian listens to it all with a straight face. The laurels are adding up quite nicely, even if they’re hardly worth the paper they’re written on.
He’s dressed in dark T-shirt that has something printed on it, no doubt something profound. Over that is a jacket. It fits, and also has that Goodwill-store look to it. Reasonably tight dark jeans and thin dirty running shoes complete the trademark Ghomeshi costume.
“You are your own brand” he says to the audience at one point when he’s run out of things to say. “You need to realize that you are your own brand.”.
Our host has come up with a theme for the night titled “The Art of The Interview”, and here we go.
How do you prepare for an interview, Jian?
Easy, straight forward, it’ll be the same answer George gives, ten people do the research, we get together to figure out the questions and Jian is allowed to throw in a few of his own if he can get away with it. It’s very well planned out. Because Jian is going deep. He believes that his interviews are distinctly different. He won’t be so crass as to say that his interviews are better than George’s, they’re just “different”. He, Jian, is searching for meaning.
Of course even without a script one can always get through several minutes with simply “how do you feel about …”, or “what brings you …” and the other three “w”‘s.
But Jian answers without any reference to his staff.
He says that Larry King likes to do it off the top of his head, while Barbara Walters does intense research. His own style is to do a little of both.
Hmm. Something to think about.
Perhaps not the most helpful answer for journalism students, but we do get the idea. Jian is following in the tradition of the great interviewers of our time. King, Walters, they’re good but it’s not the same as being interviewed by Ghomeshi.
One of those names comes up again in a story he relates about his father, and wanting to succeed and to please him.
Jian begins to recall that two or three years ago when he was signing his new contract with the CBC, a contract he says his agent did a really good job of negotiating, and an amount he was very pleased with, his smile turns into a million dollars as he calls his father to tell him the good news and affirm his worth, a worth he says his father is good at lifting you up and then cutting you off at the knees worth, and sure enough upon hearing the news, his father says “that’s good but Larry King, he makes $60 million!” Jian loves his father.

Looking around the big room, you can actually see the love on the faces of these fans. A few of them at least.
There’s a sense that Jian, like George, is quite popular with the ladies.
Both of these guys like being photographed and each come off looking not too bad. Jian is usually pictured laughing about something, most likely his good fortune. George prefers the brooding look, like he’s wordlessly saying “you want to start a fight?”
The hair is important.
Jian prefers his mop hair to be brushed forward on his roundish head, so that some of it points toward his charming face. It’s almost  a Roman Senator style that would be perfect if he were wearing a toga and plotting against Caesar. He could easily be a support player at Stradford. He wears a large leather wristband as if he just came back from arm wrestling Ben Hur, or like he just won his freedom from rowing on a slave ship and kept it as a manly symbol to honour Spartacus.
You can’t miss it because he waves his hands and arms around uncontrollably whenever he talks, just like George.
For George of course it’s the one or two coloured plastic wristbands that are almost a requirement these days to confirm that you’re someone who’s into “a cause”. Which one is it again that stands for our troops in Afghanistan, George?
You know, that place you seem in no hurry to go to, but as one of the most respected journalists in the country it’s more important that you stay home and interview Hulk Hogan.

The woman running the show asks good but very cheerful questions. Jian answers with whatever pops into his head and none of it is helpful. He doesn’t really seem to understand much of anything about journalism, and his thoughts wander as if he really needs more sleep.
He actually believes that his interviews are a service to his country.
He doesn’t put down Entertainment Tonight reporters but those three minute interviews are not for him, He wants only lengthy interviews.
What was your worst interview?
He brings up Harrison Ford whom he interviewed years ago during a movie promotion, when Jian was doing one of those three minute interviews.
He asked a question and Ford sighed and practically rolled his eyes while saying “well, it is after all acting”, as in “duh” and disdain. Jian re-lives the moment and describes his panic – “oh no, Harrison Ford doesn’t like me”. And he really means it.
These days, in front of this group, he refers to Harrison Ford as “a dick”. which he probably is.
Jian tells the students, the few that are here, to be confident and never be intimidated in an interview. That if it were to happen today, he would confront Ford and say “yeah, what about it”. He’s Mr. Tough Guy now.
One can’t help but think that he learned a lesson with Billy Bob, and how an interview that goes off the rails could mean calls from CNN and thousands of emails. Yet it still seems like fake bravado, and that tomorrow and every day, Jian is just going to do what he always does, kiss up to every guest with an elaborate glowing introduction that has even the celebrity going I had no idea I was so great until I heard your description of me.
No matter how famous they are, Jian believes it necessary to recite the person’s entire life story before asking them a question. It’s educational.
George does it as well, but has someone else do the talking.
We need to endure a lengthy Wikipedia entry before we’re ready to hear from Al Gore And Michael Moore.
A Reader’s Digest version of a Barbara Walters Special.

Jian says he’s had several offers to leave the country and work elsewhere but has decided to stay in Canada because he really believes passionately about promoting the arts.  It sounds hollow, and seems hollow when you think of how much time he devotes to promoting, yes the arts all right, just not the ones by people in his own country.
It would have been no doubt illuminating to hear what exactly those offers were, and unlikely that we ever will.
In the ads for tonight’s event he’s billed as having interviewed – let’s pull out the biggest names we can, everyone but George Clooney – “His interview subjects have included Woody Allen, Salman Rushdie, Jane Fonda, Barbara Walters, Radiohead and Leonard Cohen”. Impressive. There’s actually a Canadian in there.
But how impressive?
Didn’t George interview Barbara Walters too on the same day?
What is it about you two that famous people are so co-operative while a Ryerson student is lucky get a few words out of TTC employee.
You guys must have some magnetic personality.
Or, could it be that the magnet isn’t either of you.
That the magnet is something called the CBC.
That none of it has anything to do with either of you or your charming personalities.
Or what band you were in or how you choose to dress, or even your existence.
That Wendy Mesley, Amanda Lang, Kevin O’Leary, Brent Bambury, Jeff Goodes, Jennifer Hollitt, Mark Kelly, any of them could do what you’re doing and get the same if not better ratings.

For much of the hour and a half that Jian is here he seems to often be answering questions that weren’t asked. He fills in the time with what’s on HIS mind.
Un-prompted, he states that CBC radio listening is up higher than ever. So when he hears people yearning for the good old days of the CBC, calling them the Golden Years, he says wrong, these are the Golden Years.
Meaning the years that Jian Ghomeshi is on the radio, naturally.
More listeners? Probably. But at what price?
Selling the soul of a country in order to get George Clooney all to ourselves for a few minutes?
How dare Ghomeshi compare what he’s doing to what Peter Gzowski did at CBC Radio.
That was the real Canada. Proud and interested in Canadians and what they were doing. In no hurry to get done with the interview with Farley Mowat so that we could get down to the real business of attracting listeners with a visit from Alice Cooper.
What Jian says is insulting to the entire country and shows no understanding at all about culture in Canada and what his role is in it.
A role on a radio network where they play no commercials.
No commercials. How do they do it?
Let’s see CKNW in Vancouver compete with that.
Having no commercials means that “Q” is funded entirely by taxpayer dollars whether they like it or not.
And can it be any different for The Hour with the pitiful ratings that show has?
So another thing they have in common.
The arrogance of youth. The almost wilful blindness that behaves as if nothing in the world existed or was really accomplished until they, George and Jian, came along.
These, THESE, are the Golden Years.
Really, you want to puke. Deliberately.
On their running shoes.

What a lousy example this is to set for the new generation of journalists.
Star power. That’s what it’s all about.
There are indeed many young people in Canada who are impressed with Jian and George. And both of these men are probably under the impression that what they do each day is itself impressive and unique.
But it’s just as conceivable that no one is impressed with what they do, especially young people who are exposed to so much other smart media content and way better jokes.
It is more likely that their fans are not so much taken with the minds of George and Jian as they are with their lifestyle and easy glamorous workload.
They want, not to be anything like Jian and George, but rather just to have their cushy high-profile, well-paying jobs. That and that alone is most likely the real attraction.
The boys are liked for their success, not for their “talent”.

Jian says he’s been approached to run for public office.
He says he does have strong political views but that he feels he can do more, whatever the hell “more” is, by being in front of such a large audience each day on the radio.
There’s little doubt that someone brought it up to him, a drunk at a party or a homeless person he gave a toonie to. It’s a sad but all too real reminder of how pathetic a population we are that indeed he could one day be in the House Of Commons. All because he said “rah, rah, Iran”, and nothing more.
Except being a familiar face on TV. He must be good, smart. After all, he’s on TV.
At the rate he and George are going you can almost bet that one day they will be standing there receiving the Order of Canada.
For interviewing Hulk Hogan.
Dressed up with words like “for service to his country promoting the Arts IN Canada, (though not necessarily or limited to the Arts OF Canada!)

Who would you most like to interview, Jian.
(please don’t say Neil Young, because there’s only so much mileage you and George can get out of repeating that name)
Wait for it. Is there one great Canadian that has eluded him?
Here it comes.
David Bowie.
He has the total hots for David Bowie. He’d like for it to be the last interview he does before he (Jian) dies.
Also Obama and Clinton. Preferably Bill.
Yeah, we all would, Jian.
But what about Lou Reed? Now that would be a super cool get.
Too bad Frank Zappa is gone. His was the greatest mind of all.
And no one blames you for not saying Stephen Harper.
We wouldn’t wish that interview on anyone.
Has anyone ever talked to a wall and gotten an answer back?

To the surprise of our host, no one asks about the Billy Bob interview.
To this day, something about that interview doesn’t smell right.
How could a man like Billy Bob be so wrong, and why is he lying about what was agreed to when the CBC producers insist that there were no pre-conditions and no restrictions.
Even during the interview, Jian lets slip that there had indeed been discussion before the show and that he had readily agreed to focus on the hillbilly music if that is what Billy Bob wanted.
But people didn’t want to know about such details, and the CBC was more than happy to tout their journalistic integrity and fearless interviews.
As soon as Billy Bob had left the building.

But it’s clear that confronting Ghomeshi in front of this crowd is not going to go down well.
Jian himself says to never make a direct accusation. Instead say “some people think you’re a liar, what do say to that?”
Still, even that approach would not be welcome in front of this crowd.
As it happens, for some inexplicable reason a public radio network in the U.S. is test-marketing “Q”. Another big smile on Jian’s face when the host brings this up.
Apparently they can’t get their own interview with Salman Rushdie.
It seems very very strange for an American network to be giving time to a Canadian show. It really amounts to putting some Americans out of work, doesn’t it?
Are Jian’s interviews so scary great that there’s no one in America who could do them?
Is Kid Rock too busy? Pee Wee Herman?
Wouldn’t our own Steve & Chris at least be a lot more fun?
The U.S. network is asking for feedback from their listeners, and they’re getting some.
It reads exactly the same as the feedback you’d hear from Canadians.
“excuse me, Jian, I have a question. It appears that whenever people talk about you, on either side of the border, the word “smarmy” comes up. How do you feel about that?”

Does that about cover our Persian Prince?
What shall we call this endless, endless rant?
How about …


No, let’s go with what this is essentially about and call it …

afterwards, a few want to have their picture taken with Jian.
If it were The Hour, everyone would want to have their picture taken with George.
One girl, maybe 20, stands close to him for a picture. He’s getting anxious to leave.
She says thanks, moves away, then returns, hands Jian a small piece of paper. But it’s more than a piece of paper. It’s a small envelope containing what she says is a letter to him that she wrote.
Jian looks her in the eye and says he’ll read it.
She’s sweet. There’s a bit of acne, but she looks pleasant enough, just not quite a head-turner. Watching it, I feel a tiny tug on my cold heart, and give Jian one big point.

Lots of people want a fleeting piece of him as he slowly tries to ease his way out of the building, but it was now down to only a few here in the hallway. You could tell he was uneasy, like someone anxious to be alone or needing a mild fix.
He was backed up against the wall talking with someone next to him, being polite.
I wasn’t going to wait my turn until we got all the way to the parking lot, so approached him and stuck out my hand. He took it immediately while continuing to talk with and look at the other person. I shook his hand, a short up and down motion, and was surprised to find his entire arm was wobbling up and down, like a limp, submissive piece of rope. With just the slightest motion his entire arm would flap up and down.
I kept shaking his hand, beginning to marvel at how light and pliable his arm was. I kept shaking it. It went on and on, the flapping arm attached to the soft gentle hand of Jian.
As I stood there shaking it and shaking it and shaking it, I began to look around at the people nearby. It became clear that I could keep wiggling his arm and even begin my own conversation with another total stranger nearby.
It was getting ridiculous.

This could go on and on. He obviously did not want to be the first one to let go.
It began to feel like I could just as well continue doing this forever.
I had to stop. How much can one man take?
I let go, and his hand fell to his side as he finally turned to face in my direction and say … “Hi”.

“Hi. I am brand Allan”.


  • jon bonjovi says:

    well, well, well… this article certainly ended up on the right side of history didn’t it?

    i heartily scoff at all you who criticized it, finding its tone to be unjustifiably critical of the slime ball known as mr. ghomeshi.

    i wonder what Ol’ Big Ears would say…

  • v says:

    I’m surprised this comment thread is still open four years and 9 months later.

  • Taylor says:

    Im surprised you arent being bombarded for media requests seeing as you, like I, have always been on the right side of the Ghomeshi debate, as is proven by revelations to the Toronto Police and the Star.

  • Dave in Vancouver says:

    This is a long opinion piece, and given how it keeps hammering away at certain points, it starts to come across as a screed. You undermine the very points you claim to make.

    CBC has made key decisions about its target demographic before. I remember as a child how all the parents used to love the singer Juliet and her show (“Our pet, Juliet”). When Beatlemania hit in the early 1960s, networks on both sides of the border decided this required a new line-up of programming to address this new world order. In a way, it was, as the boomers were coming of age, leading to an incredible focus on youth and youth culture. I was an AM radio fanatic in the early 1960s and I remember, there was a point where a Frank Sinatra song was bumped off the hit parade by a Beatles song. Then, a Dean Martin song bumped the Beatles down the charts. I realize in retrospect that was the last gasp of the popular culture of our parents’ generation’s culture as the predominant mainstream.

    I don’t watch any TV so have not seen Strombo. I think Jian is a very good interviewer. Anyone I know who heard the Thornton interview thinks he was very professional in how he handled Billy Bob’s blow-up.

    • Allan says:

      Thank you for reading.
      The post is a bit long and even a bit strange.
      This is a reaction to spending a couple hours watching Jian perform in a very unique forum.
      To sit and listen to him, to his answers and his statements was enough to make a person’s head explode – pretty much that’s what you’ve been reading.
      I invite you to add the pieces that followed this post, dealing with the Thornton interview in more detail.

      Jian and George may harken the advent of a new “culture” to some, mostly those who have given up thinking, dreaming, yearning.
      But the criticism aimed in their direction has nothing to do with younger replacing older, and everything to do with replacing smart, daring and honesty with the fake and pretentious and dumb.

      By the way, Dave, what ever happened to Vancouver?
      It used to be so creative and brave, and unimpressed with the efforts of corporations to co-opt youth culture.
      Now, the culture there sucks, really because there doesn’t seem to be any culture there at all.

  • bubble-writing girl says:

    He broke my heart (or rather popped a hole in it…)

  • letitb says:

    Ode to GHomesi…..rEad it….poor jian he’s just aworking stiff like the rest of us poooooooor sods!

  • Marion Lewis says:

    There is a standard in media talk. For example, in pop music, no matter who makes the music, from certain words are sung in a deep southern accent and certain words are given da ‘hood accent. In the spoken word , the mid atlantic accent is at the power center.

  • Anonymous says:

    Smashing! One of the best pieces yet.

  • Anonymous says:

    Speaking of the bullshit of Jian Ghomeshi, he got a case of the Madonnas on air this morning and started talking with a British accent.

    What an asshole. Identity crisis!!!!!!!

  • Allan says:

    “The main thing is that the measure of a success on the CBC isn’t just about the ratings, it’s about how much discussion it starts. And this show has started a lot of discussion.”
    A tinfoil suit in a lightning storm
    Poor besieged George Stroumboulopoulos, carrying CBC on his back
    Feb 7, 2007

    “The Hour is tracking exactly where I expect it to,” says Kirstine Layfield, executive director of network programming. “We’re really happy with it. It serves a lot of purposes. The main thing is that the measure of a success on the CBC isn’t just about the ratings, it’s about how much discussion it starts. And this show has started a lot of discussion.” The average nightly audience for the program over its first two months on the main network was 110,000 viewers — a substantial improvement over the 30,000 people Zed, the previous owner of that time slot, used to deliver. The weekly numbers also show a modest upwards trend. However, The Hour’s lead-in, Peter Mansbridge, draws close to 600,000. And the averages camouflage the nights when Stroumboulopoulos’s audience has reportedly(CBC won’t provide the breakdowns)dipped as low as 50,000. Layfield boasts that The Hour has, on occasion, even beaten Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. What she doesn’t add is that those broadcasts of the U.S. comedy shows were reruns. The combined average audience for the two shows on the Comedy Network — a specialty channel — is 158,000. When Stewart and Colbert are rebroadcast on the main CTV network at midnight — an hour later than Stroumboulopoulos — the number grows to 205,000.

  • Marion Lewis says:

    The CBC’™s role is not just about market share, it’™s not about being seen as a taxpayer-subsidized competitor to private broadcasters. It’™s about being where there are market failures, it’™s about being a platform for Canadian content in all regions of the country in both official languages to support Canadian content.
    ’” Heritage Minister James Moore,

  • Anonymous says:

    Is it me, or do both Q and The Hour ignore anything happening in the visual arts in Canada? Q likes to report what is happening in London, U.K. (Jian’s hometown) but when was the last time either show talked to any Canadian visual artist? Both shows seem to lazily cast about for whatever talking head is handy or whatever topic is fashionable, usually music or cinema.

    • Anon says:

      “Is it me, or do both Q and The Hour ignore anything happening in the visual arts in Canada?”

      Uh, it is radio.
      Jian: “Now I hold this painting up to the microphone. Can you describe it for us.”
      Barnett Newman: “It is massive, a central bar of red on a white background. A bargain for the National Gallery in Ottawa.”

      • Laurie Anderson says:

        Personally, I’d love to hear a radio interview with you on this performance art piece you keep doing on the blog — the one where you post as a fucking ignoramus obsessed with government spending.

        Duh, betcha got a huge Canada Council grant for that! Gyuh gyuh gyuh.

      • Anonymous says:

        Last time I checked, film can’t be shown on radio, & neither can sports, only descriptions of what’s going on. Both are discussed on Q.

  • Anonymous says:

    @jianghomeshi says: “My opening essay on Q this morn will be dedicated to a great Canadian tradition: Bags of milk. Yes…we put milk…in bags. You heard me.”

    That’s this morning’s tweet from JG — is he not even talking to Canadians anymore?

    • Allan says:

      He’s trying now to talk to both Canada AND the U.S. audience, and if the show goes ahead in enough markets down south then expect there to be even less interest in things Canadiana. After all, if the show can be sold to an American audience then it’s another revenue stream for the CBC.

      A reader above keeps pressing me to answer about “Q” having free reign to choose content, based on the assertion that if ten American celebrities were interviewed one after another then this would still be considered Canadian content because a Canadian was asking the questions.
      “When is your new book coming out?”
      But that is not good enough for the CBC.
      “Q” must, and I’ll repeat MUST, demonstrate an interest in Canadian arts, or how else can they justify being on the air.
      So they are forced to present an effort at balance.
      I want to point out a further similarity and shortcoming with both The Hour and Q.
      Unlike As It Happens, a program that goes searching for stories and interesting content, these two shows fronted by these two individuals wait for the content to come to them, and further, depend almost entirely on guests who have something to sell.
      That’s not journalism. That’s not reporting. That’s playing games and using the public as patsies.

  • Allan says:

    Whoa, easy.
    These shows (Hour, Q) have free reign?
    Pardon me.
    We are talking about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
    And a little thing called The Broadcast Act.
    Canadian content is a requirement, not a choice.
    You were going to tell us that the content of these shows is freely chosen?
    I think warrants an … LOL!

    • Anonymous says:

      You still haven’t followed through with whatever point you were going to make two comments ago, but nevertheless: the programs themselves are original Canadian content. So Anon Feb 4/10:11 is correct, editorially they can do whatever they want. Still if you were to check I bet in terms of guests and music Q would surpass the cancon requirements of one hour’s worth of commercial radio.

      None of this has anything to do with the point that precipitated it: Q presents a diverse mix of music and topics, not just (although including) whatever celebrities pass through Toronto. If you’re going to do nothing but take pot shots at it, have the balls to talk about the program accurately.

  • Anonymous says:

    You forgot to include Claire Danes…the American celebrity on Friday’s show.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think that diminishes the point from Anon Feb 4/12:07, which is that Q is much more diverse than Allan et al. are making it out to be. I’m not the biggest fan of the show, or even a regular listener, but seriously, if you’re going to devote your blog to trashing Q maybe you should listen to it yourselves once in a while.

      • Allan says:

        We’ve all heard the “Q” show.
        Who hasn’t if Van Morrison is going to be on?
        You want to try and claim the show has diversity? Canadian content?
        Is it not a fact that any Canadian content is mandated content?

        • Anonymous says:

          Presumably… Go on?

          • Anonymous says:


            I don’t think that’s a fact at all. Editorially, I think these shows have free reign. It’s only the music that’s subject to actual Canadian content mandates.

            Unlike you to leave that last comment hanging for so long, but perhaps you’re busy stalking again tonight?

  • Anonymous says:

    Says OP Allan:

    “They invented a show about interviewing celebrities who pass through Toronto.
    We don’™t know how long it took them to do that, or to decide who would filter through the press releases, or who would be flipping the coin that decides if a guest goes to The Hour or to ’œQ’, since apparently George and his posse also coincidentally CREATED a show about interviewing celebrities who pass through Toronto.” etc. etc.


    Just based on Q’s website, the lineup for this week so far.

    “Celebrities passing through Toronto” denoted by asterisk:

    Quebecois filmmaker Xavier Dolan
    Nouvelle Vague* (passing through toronto, maybe not so much celebrity)
    Sports culture panel
    Academy Awards nominations panel reaction
    Discussion of Barry Levinson’s new documentary with Peter Raymont
    Martha and the Muffins
    Joe Perry* (actually on the phone)
    Media censorship in Venezuela
    Masters of Persian Music
    Kris Kristofferson* (actually, it looks like he’s in B.C.)
    Ali Velshi
    Owen Pallett
    Bonnie Fuller
    Judith Thompson

    Yeah. OK.

  • Anonymous says:

    How could you do a national talk show without talking to the celebrities who pass through Toronto?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, you could interview the thousands of Canadian, Quebecois and aboriginal artists, musicians, dancers, writers, and actors who are ignored by the CBC, for starters.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow sounds fascina-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • LoonieLand says:

        Since the CBC is ignoring those people and it’s mandate, then maybe it’s time to pull the plug on public funding? Let them continue to shill for the US entertainment industry 24/7, but without taxpayer funding.

      • Marion Lewis says:

        I agree, as a working cultural publicist, I have never had a client booked on the current CBC- and I only work with Canadian cultural icons and really cool music and media art festivals such as Electric Eclectic Music Festival held on the August long week end in Meaford and and the new Mendelson Joe CD “Live at 65”. (You can order it online through his gallery Karen Robinson in Huntsville).

        The CBC is doing to die to to its lack of understanding of the new media rule of feedback- Google “the Klein Bottle” or the” Mobius Strip” of the new media reality.

        Very, very sad. All that time in the hospital and I thought I was staying current listening to the CBC! But was I very, very wrong!

        When trying to build a list for a client: You cannot find producers and email addresses because they are not published on the web site. When you call and ask, you have to know the name of a producer and even if you do carry on and try to communicate the urgency of the matter of Canadian cultural product looking to communicate with state communications body- they will give you a name of someone retired or a fax number that is always busy or out of service.

        • cbc ottawa says:

          I’ll give you a big hint Marion. Any CBC producer can be reached thusly FIRST NAME . LAST NAME@

          There that’s the big secret!

        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks for confirming my suspicions about the cultural elite. It was interesting that a complaint that Americans had about Q when it tested there last week was that it sounded like “People Magazine” and that they wanted more local content. Booyah!

      • Anonymous says:

        I disagree with the comment that CBC ‘ignores’ Canadian, Quebecois, and Aboriginal artists. The CBC, be it Radio One, 2 or 3, is the only way Canadian artists would ever get airplay in our own country other than local college radio. Try harder, listen longer and at different times and different CBC stations. It’s not boring and Canadiana is everywhere on the CBC

  • Anonymous says:

    If Jian was as bad as you say he is, he wouldn’t have his job- enough people like his program for it to still be on the air. You’ve wasted enough of my time. I think if this was written better, there’s a chance I might respect your opinion more. But, I’m sorry, I don’t. To me, it’s not what you say but how you say it. It seems to me that you are jealous of a job that you do not have. I know one person may not matter, and I know you could care less about what I have to say, but I am no longer going to read The Tea Makers Blog due to your post.

    • Allan says:

      still there?
      You need to make a distinction between the program and the host, though Jian and George both would prefer that the line between the show and host remains as blurred as possible.
      “Q” has a lot going for it, particularly a good production staff, who walk carefully around EGOmeshi. You must never underestimate a Jian.
      It may not come as news to you that Jian and a group of people sat around and CREATED the show that we know as “Q”.
      They invented a show about interviewing celebrities who pass through Toronto.
      We don’t know how long it took them to do that, or to decide who would filter through the press releases, or who would be flipping the coin that decides if a guest goes to The Hour or to “Q”, since apparently George and his posse also coincidentally CREATED a show about interviewing celebrities who pass through Toronto.
      Is George heads and Jian tails, or the other way around?

      My writing leaves room for improvement for sure.
      Personally, I tend not to respect someone’s opinion based on how well it’s written.
      But I do like good writing. It’s certainly worked for Obama.
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Anonymous says:

    Someone buy Jian a new blazer or something? If he’s so happy with ALL that money he managed to squeeze out of his CBC negotiations, why does he only have one blazer?

    Jian, your daddy will love you if you get a new fucking blazer.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think his insecurity derives from issues with his father, which he discusses during the Ryerson interview. Apparently, his father is never satisfied. The fact that he treats this interview as a confessional for family matters is unfortunate for both he & his father. Save it for the therapist’s couch.

  • Anonymous says:

    This post was so great and so true. I had some respect for JG until the BBT interview. Everything has gone downhill since then. His arrogance has gotten so out of control he is going to put himself out of business soon. This article helped to cement my disdain for him. The Ryerson interview makes him sound like such an ass. Holy insecurity, Batman. Someone give Jian a hug and tell him it’s going to be ok, that some people like him.

  • Marion Lewis says:

    As a cultural producer, publicist and promoter of children’s creativity I can tell you that the CBC has gone down the road described for many a year. Thinking back to the early ’70’s when I was part of a group making art on half inch video in Toronto and interest at the CBC was nil.
    Then we get the call to come down for a meeting in the board of governors board room no less! At the meeting we were served pizza and some wild actor guy in makeup came into the room wearing buckskin and fringe- it was not Moses Znaimer. Next we were shown photos of a boring CBC set and asked to comment on the costume and the set from the point of view of the “young people of Canada”. One of us got up on the board room table and farted. We left. End of new media culture on the CBC. About five years later, one of the great men of the CBC with a natty english accent came to view video with a few young lady assistants. I showed him Vito Acconci spitting into his hands until he had a full mitt of spit. Needless to say they left. I was offended by the tassels on the assistant’s shirt. Anyone interested in this era can visit the AGO and see the show “The 60’s and ’70 through the lens of Coach House Press”. There are old vintage videos and more.

    • Fat, Bearded poet in stained workshirt says:

      Now that is one bitchen comment.

      We can only hope as we appraoch the 100th anniversary of Dada that more shit disturbing can make its way into boring popular culture 2.0.

      It’s all just a bunch of cultural dead time until 2016, presented by J-Go and company, dissected by Allan and poonGirl!

  • Anonymous says:

    Allan, ignore the critics of your criticism. A prophet is never respected in his own land.
    Like many Canadians and many of your readers, I mostly can’t watch (or listen) to the CBC anymore because it causes me to develop anger management issues. Especially Strombo.
    You, on the other hand, have channeled your rage into your writing. Don’t stop. Never, never, never, never, as Churchill put it. Righteous anger is a beautiful thing, especially given that you are not only righteous but right.
    Maybe some day a hard rain’s gonna fall at the CBC.
    Until then: Testify, brother. Testify.

  • Anon says:

    I can’t be bothered to waste time saying anything other than: This post is bullshit. I want my 5 minutes back.

  • The Finkelstein Shit Kid says:

    Props to Allan for working Team Jian into a frenzy.

    May Allah see to it that every last one of Jian’s cadre of ass lickers spends eternity in Jahannam listening to an endless loop of Moxy Fruvous songs.

  • Allan says:

    Guess who took this picture! Using Tsar’s camera …

    Here is a lengthy flicker set from last night
    from Tsar’s blog


    Describing himself as ’œdriven by curiosity,’ Ghomeshi delivered entertaining anecdotes from his many interviews, including a less than warm reception he received from Harrison Ford, and his desire to stay in Canada. ’œI made a decision to stay in this country ’“ I’™ve had opportunities in London and Los Angeles ’“ but it’™s been important for me to stay here. It sounds tragically un-hip, but I really want to be part of the story of building this country. I really believe we are disproportionately the most artistic country around, and I really believe in what we have in this country. I want to play a role in celebrating that, discovering it and sharing it with the country and the rest of the world.’

    ’œIn university I lamented my many interests, thinking I was a jack of various trades and master of nothing, and actually that has been my greatest asset: all those things that I’™ve done that I bring to the table. Don’™t be afraid of a variety of interests. You are your own brand. Employers are looking for someone with a diversity of skills, experience and interesting adventures in their past. Figure out what about you separates you and harness that.’Â 

  • PoonGirl says:

    Ok, let’s agree for arguments sake that Allan is jealous of Jian and George. After all, before I knew him I said the same thing myself. Does that make his critisms void of valid points ? Since making critical remarks about people’s work make one “jealous”, that must mean you guy are jealous of Allan ! Ha, I knew it !

    Poonstool doesn’t like the site yet is very familiar with our work. Although poonstool would never write for the site to be amoung the likes of us. Me asking poonstool to write for us is a tired old comeback. Well, poonstool, start your own blog then and try to compete with us over here at Tea Makers.

    • PoonStool says:

      You are right PoonGirl. I don’t like the site. I love it.

      Which is why I think you need to be less aggressive about your presence here on a site that has been around for a while and is about a lot of things connected with CBC besides your lame ambulance chasing of two of its C-Grade presenters. Things you may not like or understand.

      At least you guys aren’t fascists like Joe Clark, but who died and left you and Allan boss, PoonGirl?

      • Allan says:

        PoonGirl loves Jian and George.
        It takes very little insight to realize that.
        And she’s not afraid to speak her mind.
        You surely admire that, and see the humour in her playful posts and comments.

        There is only one boss around here and that’s God.
        You can ask George about that and he’ll confirm and explain it.
        Or to put it another way, we all remain accountable to forces beyond ourselves.
        TM is a collaboration these days, but also relies on the guidance of its founder Ouimet.
        There’s an abundance of freedom here, including freedom from self-censorship as PoonGirl noted in an earlier post. But even the Garden of Eden had a referee, and General Manager all in one. Ours is the great Ouimet.

        PoonGirl is new here, but she sure twigged into the site quickly.
        Both her and I are permitted to post what and when we wish. No back room deals, just an understanding that it’s a privilege and a responsibility and that we have to live with what we do.
        There are no guarantees of privacy on the internet, and that includes us.
        So there is a serious side or undercurrent to what happens here.

        We encourage others to contribute. It’s easy, and, it’s a lot harder than it looks.
        Ouimet always posts an address.
        You, George, Jian and everyone and PoonGirl can be a part of it, because it’s still a free country, especially here.
        There’s no obligation to post, ever. Perhaps the only requirement is that you at least put “something” into it.
        Quality control is very often left up to the comments section, or you could call it the “accountability section”.
        Instead of thinking that a contribution here is an endorsement of everything and everybody here, perhaps view it instead as “cleaning the place up”, or “raising the bar”.
        You may recall that was the approach taken by CBC President Hubert when he addressed TM directly right where we live. Cool, and we respect him all the more for it.

        I think Poongirl is delightful, and whip smart, but you’re free to disagree.
        She has lots of quirky and genuine things on her mind. It’s the nature of youth to be so, eh, fertile.
        Seeing all those pink comments of hers reminds me of a cute little dog that runs around the house keeping you company.

  • Mimi says:

    Allan has way too much time on his hands, especially to stalk Jian. Seriously, dude, your article makes you sound jealous of Jian.

  • PoonGirl says:

    Why is everyone being so mean to Allan for writing his opinions ? Allan’s story is real journalism to me. Look at the response it’s getting. Allan is not worried about being liked, he’s not intimated that some commenter is gonig to attack him unlike Jian who pees his pants the Harrison rolled his eyes.

    This post is real journalism, it has a point of view, it has consequence for the writer, it is an honest opinion, it goes there … yet it lets you decide how you want to feel. The perfect amount of fact and opinion.

    George and Jian don’t have opinions. They like to hide behind being “presenters” but when the glove fits they are also “journalists”.

    I am more of a journalist. I put a sleeping TTC driver and pasted it onto the red chair of George’s show.

    Howard Stern makes uninteresting, ignored, not talked about people (disabled, diseased, over weight, gay, lesbian, retarded… etc) people interesting. Like it or not, he brings these people to life. Yes, he interviews celebs but they are not a vital part of his show, he can take ’em or leave ’em. Often times, if he can’t stand the person he leaves ’em. George or Jian would never pass on a “get”. Never. Look at the afore mentioned Harrison interview, everyone knows this guy is boring as hell, he has nothing to say but he is famous enouh so bring him on.

    Jian interviews “interesting” people and sometimes makes them uninteresting. Where is the talent there ? I would have more respect for Darren Jone and Mista Mo who hosted on Buzz a long time ago. It was a show where comendians scowered the streets, interviewed people on the street. Some of their skits include buying people’s clothing off the street and selling parked cars. It cost even less to produce than Q or The Hour and was far more interesting. Thise are the type of people I consider to be fun, entertaining and TALENTED, because they make anyone look interesting, they “see the good in everyone” not just the ratings attached to every celebrity.

    Love you Allan :)

    • PoonStool says:

      Why is everyone being so mean to Allan for writing his opinions ?

      Because you and he post too much of the same badly written, self serving bullshit. Plain and simple.

      You guys can come back with the classic “If you don’t like it, post something yourself” line if you want. Frankly, lots of people consider it, but are too embarassed to be in your company to bother writing something.

      Allan get back to your work on linking to expense reoprts and other such stuff.

      Make this damn blog funny instead of trying to constantly Susan Boyle or Apple fan-shill youselves, you two!

  • yanonymous says:

    “Jian says he’™s had several offers to leave the country and work elsewhere but has decided to stay in Canada”

    “Jian says he’™s been approached to run for public office.”

    Does he also claim to be married to Morgan Fairchild? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  • Ellsie says:

    Many of the comments above have already said what I wanted to say, which was that this was poorly written and overly polemical, and also boring. Whatever you have to say about Jian Ghomeshi (and you are entitled to your opinion), you should at least try to say it well. If you do happen to be a journalism student, I hope that you have a few years left in school before your telegraph-style prose is unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

  • Another Anon says:

    Your post was a little long Allan. And, yes, you do seem to be always picking on the 2 ding dongs. But, I have to say you do make some valid points, and your observations are quite accurate. I don’t get the entire George and Jian thing either. I don’t think they are as popular as ‘they’ think they are though. They and the big CBC brass numbskulls ‘think’ George and Jian are here to save CBC TV and CBC Radio, respectively. But, when I speak to people on the subject, that is NOT the general consensus. Most people think they are just 2 over-hyped idiots. They are simply ‘yes men’ who tell the top CBC Execs (especially the women) exactly what they want to hear. The funny thing is – it’s the feminists and the most educated women (the ones who are all about “I am woman, hear me roar”) that fall for the trifle shit that these 2 dish out all the time. It’s very ironic when the women who think they are running the show and waving the feminist’s flag are the ones who are always stroking the egos of these two posers (and whatever else they want stroked). Although, to be totally honest, I don’t think either one of them plays for our team. But, I could be wrong. I just think George’s and Jian’s manloves (Bowie for Jian and any big actor in Hollywood for George) tends to cross over to the creepy side at times. I’m sorry, but this is my opinion on these two. I long for the days of CBC when the hosts were not a gimmick. CBC Hosts used to be chameleons – GREAT CHAMELEONS. They could interview a scientist and then interview Iggy Pop without having to try so hard to be smart for the scientist and then hip for the rock star. These guys are their own biggests fans and the Canadian people are falling for the advertising. Wake up Canada – it’s all smoke and mirros. Tsk, Tsk.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, I can’t believe how long it took to get to “It’s Toronto’s fault.”

    Between Allan’s post and that comment, this is clearly where pedantry goes to die.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’™t see anyone saying, ’œIt’™s Toronto’™s fault.’ That’™s a weak copout my friend.

  • Anonymous says:

    ’œone of the most respected journalists in the country’
    -Who said that? If either of these guys had their shows cancelled tomorrow almost no one would even notice. These are probably the two most unqualified and irrelevant hosts ever hired by the CBC, but clearly weren’™t hired for their qualifications or their relevance.

    ’œYou want to throw up your hands in exasperation and shout ’œwhat has happened to the minds of the people in this country???’
    Is this what cablevision has wrought? That we’™ve become so accustomed to living our lives watching shows and culture coming at us from the United States that we’™ve completely forgotten who we are, let alone that some of our own neighbours have real talent and actual worth?
    That we settle for one more interview with a celebrity, any celebrity, and think this is original content that has value and meaning?’
    -Are you taking about the people in this country or the people in Toronto? What you’™re missing here is that Toronto, and perhaps more accurately just downtown Toronto, has been completely out of step with what’™s going on in the country this past decade. There has been a cultural explosion going on almost everywhere else. Look at what’™s been happening in Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary, for example. Music and art and cultural festivals of all sorts are flourishing in these places. Canadian music, almost all of it from places other than Toronto, has become some of the most critically acclaimed in the world this decade. On Television strongly culturally Canadian shows like Corner Gas have done extremely well. But while all this was going on the CBC was giving up on being a national station, collapsing around Toronto, and starting to hire the local yokel Toronto friends of CBC managers to produce and host terrible and irrelevant shows, like The Hour and Q for example. This has been a fantastic decade for Canada and Canadian arts and culture, probably the best ever, but it’™s been a terrible decade for national CBC programming and downtown Toronto culture and arts. What you should be asking is, what has happened to the minds of the people in downtown Toronto? I’™d like to know the answer to that question as well.

    ’œIt’™s no longer about producing good shows. It’™s about reaching a younger and larger audience as quickly as possible and at any price.’
    -If this is what you really think then you’™re not understanding what’™s happening here. George and Jian DON’™T reach a younger audience, and I’™m sure they weren’™t hired to do so either. Can you even think any reason why they might appeal to a younger audience? I doubt that you can. As you noted in this article it’™s mostly only a few of the grey haired types, mostly women, who these two appeal to.

    ’œBoth Ghomeshi and Strombo do the exact same thing.
    They dream and cream of landing George Clooney.
    To them, that would be such ’œa get’. Ratings, ratings, ratings.’
    -I believe some pretty big name celebrities have been on The Hour, and yet nobody watches the show. What are Ghomeshi’™s numbers like? They must be horrendous as well. Again, I think you’™re missing what’™s going on here.

    ’œMoxy Fruvous’

    This is where I stopped reading. I understand your frustration, but you’™re focusing it in the wrong place. George and Jian and the rest of the similar recent hires by the CBC are irrelevant. If they were a bit more popular they would be objects of national ridicule, but because their shows are so bad, and so irrelevant, hardly anyone even knows who they are. A week after their shows are cancelled no one will even remember their names. You have to go up the ladder to find the real problems, and frankly that’™s what I would like to know more about. I don’™t watch George’™s show and I don’™t listen to Jian’™s. There are lots of other places to get information, but I do wish that the CBC produced quality national programming again, and to that end I’™d like to know more about what the root problem is so that we can work on getting if fixed and help make the CBC national and relevant again.

  • Christine Smith says:

    I attended the event. I disagree with some of your “facts.” Many in the audience were well under 30 years of age. Lots of them were Journalism students from both Ryerson University and Centennial College. The majority were not women. There was a good mix of male and female audience members. Getting these simple bits of information incorrect at the start of your rant really affects the credibility of the rest of your opinions.

  • Tender Branson says:

    Round and round like watching a clump of oatmeal spin around inside a dullness dishwasher; this article is watery and endlessly circles the drain… Only Jian’s soothing anti-inflammatory voice could possibly make it any less interesting.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don’t get this article. Why do you hate George and Jian so much? George might only provide fluff interviews and Jian may read his entire interview from a script, but the virtiol is ridiculous. Also, Jian’s show is actually pretty good – there are some great producers behind it and Jian makes a pleasant host. It’s not a hard-hitting journalism show – CBC doesn’t have many of those – but it also doesn’t try to be. This whole thing just sounds like a personal attack against a guy who has tasted some fame. So he has an ego… the author sounds like he has one as well.

  • Sharilyn says:

    ’œYou are your own brand’ he says to the audience at one point when he’™s run out of things to say. ’œYou need to realize that you are your own brand.’.

    I must’ve been out of my mind when he said this, because I thought it was prompted by a journalism student asking him how to stand out in a competitive industry. But if there weren’t any journalism students there… I must have imagined the whole exchange. And actually, most of what you wrote is different than I remember it. Weird! I should adjust my meds.

    Your morning-after revisionist history is dripping in irony. You didn’t listen to the lecture and you couldn’t even bother to get the name of the “diminutive female professor with short grey hair”. No wonder your mind wandered so far: You, honey, are no journalist.

  • Dude: get a life, then learn to write – that is the dullest, most incoherent tripe I’ve ploughed through in a long time.

    First with the exception of age and gender, Ghomeshi and Stromboulopoulos are quite different.

    Ghomeshi is one of our better informed commentators on contemporary culture and if you bothered to listen to the show you would perhaps note the pretty eclectic range of Canadian and international, celebrity and non-celebrity interviews.

    And yes hearing what a Woody Allen, Salman Rushdie, Leonard Cohen or a Lou Reed have to say is enlightening and useful. Canadian culture is damaged by protectionist and parochial attitudes. Without external stimulus it will simply drift into turgid irrelevance.

  • Whaaaa says:

    Do you not listen to any other CBC shows? I assure you it is still as minutiae homespun-y Canadiana as ever. Enough so that they can justify a little eye and ear candy like George and Jian. I personally find that the way Jian gets celebs to talk is very un-Hollywood (like getiing Michael Bublé to admit that his big hit was cheesy and bad and he only did it for the money) and in a sense maybe more radical than the crusty earnest oldschool stuff.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just curious, Allan…do you masturbate WHILE you’re writing this crap, or before, or after, or all 3? just trying to get it clear in my head.

    Jealous, superior, and yet somehow dim. Very Canadian. Full points.

    Hope you used some lotion. Wouldn’t want to chafe your ‘brand.’

  • Bridg says:

    Jian is notorious for the limp fish. My grip on the other hand, is like an authoritative vice known to induce swooning on impact.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is a really, really inane article. I don’t care much for Ghomeshi myself, but why devolve into obvious diatribe? So the man interviews celebrities for entertainment and ratings- so what? He’s not alone. When some of the hardest hitting questions in journalism today are coming from a comedian (Jon Stewart), Jian seems like a weak target.

  • Toronto listener says:

    So you’re saying that the CBC should limit itself to interviewing people within the same administrative jurisdiction as its offices?

    And you’re saying its host, if he shows an interest in figures from beyond the administrative jurisdiction in which his office is located, is somehow doing something wrong?

    Go back and read your article (it appears you haven’t yet done so). Can you imagine a CBC based on either the principles it outlines or the style it exemplifies? I cannot imagine anything less desirable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Upload Files

You can include images or files in your comment by selecting them below. Once you select a file, it will be uploaded and a link to it added to your comment. You can upload as many images or files as you like and they will all be added to your comment.

Write for us