Overlooked Quotes From Jian Ghomeshi’s 1982 (Part One)

Two years ago, then-CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi published a memoir.  Entitled 1982, it mostly focuses on his first year of high school.  It’s not a very good book.  Ok, there’s a sweet chapter about him & a friend meeting two members of Rush outside a recording studio, an amusing Gowan observation, some welcome Persian insight & occasionally charming parental anecdotes, but overall, it’s unamusingly repetitive, self-indulgent, often asskissy and remarkably patronizing.  Ghomeshi often explains things based on the faulty presumption that his readers are all complete idiots.  (We know what a tape deck is, jackass.)

But in the aftermath of damning media reports (mostly from the Toronto Star & indie journo Jesse Brown) that led to his recent arrest on multiple sexual assault charges, the book can’t help but be read in a whole different context today, particularly the following 51 quotes:

1. “Can you even remember a time before you were creeping photos of ‘hot’ people on Facebook?  Barely.”
(Prologue, p. xiv)

2. “I knew what a whorehouse was.  I knew it was a place were hookers worked.  It was probably a house full of sexy whores.  I knew this because I had seen something similar on the Friday-night Baby Blue Movies on Citytv when my parents were upstairs.”
(Chapter 1, p. 14)

3. “There were no ‘crack-whore’ streets or red-light districts…I wish I could say that Thornhill[, Ontario] has since devolved into a dangerous ‘hood filled with hookers & crime-ridden back alleys.  I wish I could tell you that my old stomping grounds have become bloodied and busted.  That would be cred.  But I can’t.”
(Chapter 1, p.19)

4. “[My mother] seemed to overlook the minor detail that my name was Jian and I was the only ethnic kid on the street, other than the Olsons.  And the Olsons were black.  And black wasn’t really ethnic.”
(Chapter 2, p.26)

5. “You probably know that song [Dan Hill’s Sometimes When We Touch] and that end part [“I wanna hold you till I die/Till we both break down and cry/I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides”].  And that sentiment would strike a very poignant chord in therapy sessions a couple of decades later.”
(Chapter 2, p.33)

6. “We didn’t have text messages or Facebook or IM-ing or DM-ing or BBM-ing in the 80s.  Communicating with someone you liked involved high-stakes exposure and risk.”
(Chapter 3, p.49)

7. “Forbes was probably about six feet tall, but he seemed even taller because he had a spiked mohawk hairdo atop his six feet.  He had army pants on & a white tank top.  In later years, this kind of shirt would be referred to as a ‘wife beater’.  But at the time it was just a tank top. Or ‘white shirt with no sleeves’.”
(Chapter 3, p.56)

8. “…I was a different kind of unique…I didn’t really fit in…My search for appropriate role models often came up empty.  And being myself didn’t seem a very appealing option.”
(Chapter 4, p.68)

9. “Mitch Toker carried a knife & had a reputation for being ‘wild’.  I had secretly hoped that Mitch would hook up with my older sister, Jila, when I was in Grade 7.  That way, he would have to like me so my sister wouldn’t break up with him.  I tried to get them together on at least 3 occasions.  But one day, when Jila came to meet me at Toke’s house on our way to the mall, Mitch made the wrong move.  Seems that as Jila was waiting outside, Mitch called down to her while hanging out of one of the upper windows with no clothing on.  Jila did not witness his whole naked body, but she could certainly see his bare chest…She [later] explained that she had not been impressed with Mitch’s insistence upon ‘dangling from the window & displaying his naked torso’… Things didn’t look too positive after that for a Mitch & Jila romance.”
(Chapter 6, pgs.121-2)

10. “John Ruttle wanted to ask Valerie Tiberius to go to the Journey concert, but he didn’t want her to feel like it was too much of a date.  He wanted her to think it wasn’t a date, even though he wanted it to be a date.  You see, if it felt too much like a date, she might say no.  I learned that this was often the case with girls.  They wanted to be taken out, but if it seemed like it was a date, it might create too much pressure and ‘expectations’.”
(Chapter 7, p.133)

11.  “Mothers are natural arbiters of people you want to date.  Or people you think you want to date.  Or people you want to take on a date but are trying to do it in a way that won’t be considered a date so they won’t say no.”
(Chapter 7, p.135)

12. “Experiencing a loss can make you forget about putting on airs.  Maybe that’s what happened after I lost my Adidas bag.  [Forbes threw it at Joan Jett during her set with The Blackhearts at the 1982 Police Picnic concert at the CNE.]  Or maybe it was a genetic predisposition to react calmly to catastrophe.  My father had a knack for bringing calm to a storm.  He could react with impressive composure when truly horrible things went down…My father could be calm when we needed him to be.  Maybe that had rubbed off on me.”
(Chapter 8, pgs.163-4)

13. “I should explain that by ‘a drink’, I mean a Coca-Cola.  Actually, I mean 2 Cokes…I know that ‘a drink’ sounds like alcohol.  That’s why I said it.  That would be cool.  But this wasn’t alcohol.  And whether it was alcohol or not, I liked the idea of taking care of Wendy and showing her I could assume control.”
(Chapter 8, p.165)

14. “…that was the image I had of goth guys in the summer of ’82.  Non-eaters.  Maybe I thought real goths would have some rule confining them to consume only cool & gross things like human blood or imitation human blood.”
(Chapter 8, p.166)

15. “[The Talking Heads] were like Bowie.  Especially David Byrne  Just like Bowie, David Byrne would have had trouble fitting in on any given day in Thornhill.  He was artsy & odd.  And Bowie was odd.  And knowing this gave me confidence.  Their existence meant I wasn’t weird.  Or rather, that I might be weird, but that it was okay.  Or that it was acceptable to want to be weird.”
(Chapter 9, p.180)

16. “One other essential tenet of the Theatre Troupe experience was sex.  That came with the territory, too.  Sexual cross-pollination seemed to be part of the burden of being a dedicated theatre student in [Room] 213 [of Ghomeshi’s Thornhill high school].  This was not mandated by the teachers, of course, but developed quite naturally amongst those enrolled in the program.  Almost all of the students dutifully obliged in the sex part.  I was a novice in this area, but eager to learn.  The truth was, I was generally too intimidated to act on anything with the older Troupe members.  Not yet.  That was all way beyond me at this point.”
(Chapter 9, p.183)

17. “My replies [to my father] were generally delivered in a patronizing tone.  That was important.  It demonstrated that I was ridiculing his mistaken ideas.”
(Chapter 9, p.184)

18. “To tell you the truth, notwithstanding some silly moments, it was in Theatre Troupe that I got much of my greatest high school education.  It was in Troupe that I truly learned to question everything.  The news.  History.  Ideas.  Traditions.  Laws.  And this questioning came in very handy.  I would later learn that questioning everything is called ‘critical thinking.'”
(Chapter 9, p.187)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, December 6, 2014
2:03 p.m.

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Published in: on December 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] the end, Overlooked Quotes From Jian Ghomeshi’s 1982 became a three-part series.  Collectively, it has generated close to 1400 page […]


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