I started the day with one of my favorite interviewers, John Oakley on Toronto's AM640. I don't think the audio's been posted by the station, but it was a wide-ranging discussion, and by "wide-ranging" I'm talking octaves: John began with a burst of my high falsetto from "All I Want For Christmas Is You". After that, we moved way down low to talk about Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi, and then the looting in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere.
On Ferguson, I reiterated my long-held belief that American police kill far too many of the citizens they're supposed to protect. I loathe the standard formulation for these incidents: "officer-involved shooting". As I said to John, that's like calling the Lincoln assassination an "actor-involved shooting". No self-respecting reporter should ever type or utter that phrase: the officer is not "involved" in the shooting; he's the shooter. And in far too many of these cases he shouldn't be. If you don't like teenagers with their whole lives ahead of them being shot dead by cops, what about 19-year-old pre-school teacher Samantha Ramsey? She was killed in Boone County, Kentucky, by Deputy Tyler Brockman while leaving a party. But I could just as easily have cited the mentally ill teen whose parents made the mistake of asking the police to help get their son to hospital:
Unsurprisingly, the tasing did not calm down the young man, who, according to his parents, was suffering from schizophrenia and had failed to take his medication. So he was shot to death by a police officer whose last words before pulling the trigger were: "We don't have time for this."
Nobody knows about these cases. Racial hucksters from the evil Reverend Al Sharpton to, alas, the Attorney-General and the President themselves think the shooting of Michael Brown is about racism toward "young black men". But American cops are equal-opportunity shooters. They use lethal force on young, old, black, white, male, female, with gay abandon. They shoot old white codgers who make the mistake of reaching for their cane during a traffic stop just as easily as they shoot black thugs high on marijiuana and the thrills of convenience-store theft.
The problem with American policing is not a race thing, and Obama turning it into one the other night did a real disservice to all the other victims of "officer-involved" officide.
As for the looting, as I said to John, it's like Muslims going bananas and killing a bunch of people over cartoons and teddy bears: Don't say Muslims are violent and irrational, or we'll kill you. Likewise, don't stereotype young black men, or we'll loot and burn the local convenience stores. Quod erat demonstrandum. The great Scaramouche makes a similar Islamo-Fergusonian connection, rather more elegantly, here.
~As for Jian Ghomeshi, "the impeccably liberal, progressive CBC radio host of plonkingly correct attitudes Tweeting out his support for #EndViolenceAgainstWomenDay all year long while cheerfully punching their lights out in his apartment every night", John mentioned that he's now dropped his $55-million wrongful-dismissal suit against the CBC and agreed in a court settlement to pay them $18,000 in legal costs.
A couple of hours after John and I spoke, Ghomeshi surrendered to Toronto Police and was charged with four counts of sexual violence plus one of choking someone in order to "overcome resistance". The last is serious business: if convicted, Ghomeshi could go to prison for life. As for the "sexual violence", what strikes me about the various accounts from his "girlfriends" is that his sexual violence is heavy on the violence, rather light on the sexual - if there's any at all: at least one paramour dated him for a year without any sex. His initial get-ahead-of-the-story statement and, indeed, his own lawyer in a lighthearted jest at a speaking engagement suggested the violence was just "foreplay". But au contraire Ghomeshi seems to be less interested in sex than in just beating women up for the sheer pleasure of it.
Among his fellow New Men, he still has his defenders, though. Colby Cosh wrote a wonderful piece on the problem with Jian Ghomeshi even when he's not pounding the crap out of the intern: the ghastly bloodless, passionless coziness of his show "Q". On the letters page of this week's Maclean's, Peter Feniak of Toronto wrote in to deplore Cosh's boorishness:
Ghomeshi, alleged dark sins notwithstanding, was consistently excellent in the host's chair. To rewrite that history in a fury and to spew fear and loathing toward what the writers sees as a Canadian arts community of 'tight-knit Anglo creatives' tells us nothing about Q, though it reveals serious issues of anger and envy on the writer's part.
Ah, right. Colby Cosh is the guy with "serious issues of anger", not the CBC feminist metrosexual breaking the jaw of some impressionable babe he met on Twitter. Lock up your daughters, Mr Feniak! Colby Cosh may be cruising for action tonight.
~I'll be back on the air after Thanksgiving, guest-hosting for Rush on America's Number One radio show. Join me for Open Line Black Friday behind the Golden EIB Microphone for three hours, starting at 12 noon Eastern/9am Pacific.
~And how often do you get to see a Rush guest-host and an NPR host on stage together? The Mark Twain House will be hosting me in Hartford, Connecticut on Monday, December 8th at 7pm, and my interviewer for the occasion will be "Weekend Edition"s legendary Scott Simon. I'm assured not all public radio hosts have the predilections of Mr Ghomeshi, so I don't think I'm in physical danger or anything. But it should be a fun evening. For more info and to reserve tickets, see here.
~As for those two Steyn CDs John Oakley mentioned, you can find Making Spirits Bright here and Goldfinger here - or save yourself a couple of clicks and buy our seasonal/non-seasonal grooves together at one low price here.