Monday, August 08, 2005

Ga-Ga Over the G-G -- But Not in a Good Way

One obvious thing that most people were tasteful enough not to mention about the new Governor-General's appointment is that Michaëlle Jean is pretty good-looking for a middle-aged woman. I think I've mentioned before that she wouldn't be out of place on MusiquePlus or MuchMusic.

However, I don't think I'd go as far as Sylvain Bouchard, a radio broadcaster in Ville de Québec. His thoughts on Jean have him in hot water:

"Michaëlle Jean has always been one of my fantasies," Bouchard said in French, before going on to elaborate in a graphic way.

The veteran radio announcer is known for having a provocative style, but listener Martin Gaudette said this attack went too far.

"Attack"? I think that's a wrong word, implying the GG has negative traits. Mr. bouchard's fantasy may be gaudy, somewhat creepy and certainly in bad taste, but "attack" is the wrong word for it.

The comments were "shameful, sexist and unacceptable," Gaudette wrote in his complaint to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which regulates radio and television broadcasters across the country.

The CRTC says it will be several days before the validity of each complaint is studied and a decision is made about how to proceed.

Meanwhile, Bouchard insists he didn't mean any harm, saying he was trying to compliment a woman he really likes.

Y'know, if the CRTC has any brains, they'd leave this one alone. I think we can take it as face value that Bouchard wasn't trying to insult or intentionally demean Ms. Jean. (His comments say more about him than they do about her.)

And since she's been a public figure for a while, she's fair game for fair comment. While it's true that the office of G-G demands treatment with some decorum, this is a more relaxed society; it's taken for granted that public figures don't automatically have a right to dignity.

So it'd be silly for Mr. Bouchard to lose his job because he says in public that he has fantasies about good-looking middle-aged women. That's the price we pay for the concept of "freedom of speech" to operate.

However, I wouldn't expect him to receive any invitations to Rideau Hall anytime soon. There are limits, after all ...