The Jian Ghomeshi saga

I am disturbed by how the public seems to think it’s okay to weigh in on a situation it has next to no unbiased information about.

It bothers me that people are so quick to confuse their beliefs and feelings with the truth, and publicly claim them as such (not only here… eh?).

I am disgusted by how ALL involved feel it necessary to fight these private matters in the court of public opinion, where the rules are much more lax, the standards are much lower, and the “jurors” more easily influenced by feeling than fact.

Good for all of you. Really mature.

We shouldn’t be surprised, though, that all of this is happening on social media. We do, in fact, live in an era where people communicate through smartphones and websites rather than picking up a phone or ringing a doorbell. And when we do get together, we spend most of our time looking at our devices anyway.

And that is why it is even more important than ever to remind people that just reading something on the internet does not make it true.

Let me be perfectly clear, I categorically condemn anyone who abuses another person. I would like nothing more than to see all forms of abuse disappear. Neither you, nor I, know for sure if this is a case of abuse.

While civil society definitely has a role to play in discussing, searching for and creating and then implementing solutions for eliminating abuse between people, we should not pretend that this case is any of our business.

It would be entirely disingenuous for anyone to suddenly take an interest in the cause of domestic abuse or abusive relationships because of this case, as the only reason we are hearing about it is because Jian Ghomeshi is a public figure. To make Jian Ghomeshi the scapegoat for our anger about abusive relationships would be completely irresponsible given that this story doesn’t hold a candle to the real, damaging, abuse that so many others face on a daily basis that doesn’t get the press it deserves.

Toronto Police Chief (and spotlight stealer extraordinaire) Bill Blair has publicly requested that victims of abuse step forward. Isn’t involving the police a very personal, private decision? (One of Ghomeshi’s accusers provided today a very rational explanation for why she didn’t.) And if Chief Blair is so interested in helping, why has he been so silent up until now? What about all of the unreported abuse at the hands of regular joes who don’t live in the public eye? What is the end game here?

To those standing up for Jian, please remember that there are many reasons why he would release the statement that he did the other day, and not all of them are honourable. A little common sense and critical analysis goes a long way.

To those taking the side of (a growing number of) the women involved, does it not seem odd to you that while you stand up for “Lucy”, you are stepping on Jian? (I am NOT defending him, I am just pointing out the hypocrisy in defending an alleged victim by creating a real one – with absolutely no proof.)

Again, I do not know anything about what happened between Jian and these women, and I am positive that the stories we are hearing (from both “sides”) are not the complete truth. These kinds of statements allow those involved the opportunity to say what they want us to hear, in the way they want us to hear it. In many cases, much time has passed, and many psychological studies suggest strong proof that, in time, we remember stories the way we wished they happened rather than how they actually did. Could that be happening here? Absolutely. From both sides.

Last I checked, we lived in a society that valued being innocent until proven guilty. And our opinions on Jian’s innocence or guilt, or on the credibility of the women involved, doesn’t make him innocent or guilty, nor do they make the women credible or not.

We are spectators watching a game that should not even be played in the stadium we are sitting in. Our comments on what we are seeing add nothing to the game. Worse, they might even be proving our collective lack of real commitment to ending it.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree: The rest of us (or at least, most) do not know the truth in this matter. Considering that J.G. worked for the very organization that dispenses and disseminates “the news”, how could anyone possibly expect unbiased reporting on this. When the story first broke, my very first thoughts were how the CBC will, of course, finesse their reporting in the days to follow to justify their actions. I’d also like to know why these allegations were never reported to the authorities earlier? We normally hear about ongoing investigations into matters involving public figures.
    I certainly don’t feel I have nearly enough information to draw any kind of conclusion thus far.

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