Sex / Social issues

Radio Killed the Radio Star: The Dean Blundell Show


Actually, to be honest, I have never heard of “The Dean Blundell Show” but recently it has come under public scrutiny for allegedly derailing a criminal court case with its GAY on-air commentary. Both Siri and Internet are in agreement that “The Dean Blundell Show” is a radio-program on Toronto’s 102.1 the Edge, a show repeatedly censured by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council for its HOMOPHOBIC views. The show is hosted by Dean Blundell and Billie Holiday—beyond that, no other information is pertinent or interesting to any of our lives.

dean blundell homophobicROCK ‘N ROLL! Super-cool messy stroke effect typeface! Woah!

For the first time, in over a decade-long history, “The Dean Blundell Show” seems to have actually done something relevant, as some of its slurs are being considered as grounds for mistrial in the ongoing Toronto court investigation of Joshua Dowholis. This raises the question: Who the fuck still listens to the radio? Usually, I like to think I have better things to do than protest the derivative drawling of some middle-aged bigots (from the radio no less!), but it seems I do not—plus the whole thing kind of reminds me of an episode I watched on television’s The Good Wife.

Derek Welsman is a producer and occasional personality on “The Dean Blundell Show.” He recently served as foreman on the criminal jury of Joshua Dowholis, a Toronto GAY man accused (and later convicted, though still awaiting sentencing) of sexually assaulting two other GAY men in the fall of 2011. Based on my knowledge of the judicial system, as evidenced through my reference of The Good Wife, I understand Derek Welsman, in his position as foreman, was responsible for facilitating the cooperation of fellow jurors, and ultimately reading the September 27th verdict, in which Dowholis was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault, and two counts of confinement (i.e. Welsman had a small but coveted speaking role).

In case you were wondering, the Canadian Justice System prohibits jurors from disclosing the content of their deliberation. Welsman, the foreman juror, discussed Dowholis’ trial on-air once while it was still active, and twice after the verdict (annotated – ostensibly for purposes of humour – with very bad GAY jokes). According to the Toronto Star, Welsman was approached during the trial by the prosecution, a lead detective, and even the judge with concerns for his discriminatory on-air views (essentially, he was given a firm talking to), but no further action has been sought. The radio station has since removed the broadcasts from its online archive.

An over-excited Welsman, it seems, could not contain himself, and bent the law on several occasions to gossip about GAY RAPE, which the radio-show reduced to “a few guys, some aggravated sexual assault, a couple of bathhouses, some lube, four Dutch clogs, a stuffed Buffalo, a metre stick—stigmata of the anus”. Hmm. Due to the HOMOPHOBIC nature of these comments, which establishes preconceived bias towards the accused’s sexuality, Dowholis’ defence is now seeking judicial inquiry into allegations of jury misconduct. In legal terms, Derek Welsman pissed in the jury pool, which now jeopardizes the unanimous conviction of a sex offender, as it could be argued Welsman prejudged the case, or perhaps even attempted to sway other jurors via the archaic means of radio (but the latter is unlikely due to obvious reasons of obsolescence).

The Toronto Star prepared a Greatest Hits compilation of said slurs, which it has deemed vile and explicit. The quality of humour is in line with your basic locker-room HOMOPHOBIA; on a level I situate between grades nine and ten.  In the broadcasts, Welsman is in conversation with Dean Blundell and Billie Holiday, the show’s hosts whom I have likened in my mind to less interesting and headless versions of Dr. Claw and Lynndie England, respectively.

dean blundell homophobic the edgeGAY ART.

In the compiled broadcasts, “The Dean Blundell Show” attempts to riff off Dowholis’ criminal trial, in a variation on HOMOPHIC classics, such as the thriving-in-prison joke, the deviant-slut-was-asking-for-it joke, the crude-but-clever backdoor joke, the victims-were-stupid joke, the who-gives-a-shit-about-gay-stuff joke, and even a topical 50 Shades of Gay joke (which I thought was a bit of a dive). Did I mention this was a criminal trial for sexual assault? At one point, the radio-personalities even joke about ANAL discharge, subsequent to one of the assaults, asking Welsman if it resembled salmon mousse. As the public airwaves begin to fill with cheap, unharmonious laughter, at the expense of sexual assault survivors, I slowly bang my head against a wall. I think it goes without saying that Olivia Benson (as played by Mariska Hargitay on television’s Law & Order: SVU) would be terribly disappointed by their lack of compassion. In a broader context these implications also carry a heavy burden on survivors of sexual assault, who may now be hesitant, when coming forward, for fear that a member of their attacker’s jury is as insensitive and loose-lipped as Derek Welsman.

A couple months ago, before the Joshua Dowholis trial even began, “The Dean Blundell Show” received its fourth reprimand from the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council since 2009—this latest scolding was for calling the sport of wrestling GAY. The toughened council decided, this time, it would pull a page straight from my mother’s handbook, and forcefully asked “The Dean Blundell Show” to write a letter promising it would never do it again. As I and my mother can both attest, this strategy never works, and just as I was unable to stop binge-drinking throughout my TWEENS, “The Dean Blundell Show” continues to propagate notions of HOMOPHOBIA to literally tens of people who still listen to the radio. What’s even more damaging is that despite numerous complaints and sanctions, the Edge which according to its website is “one of the most powerful and influential new rock radio stations” (ostensibly in the universe) continues to disregard this sensational and problematic behaviour as “silly” and “not serious.”

dean blundell homophobic GAY

Again, the details of Welsman’s mess do not interest me, nor do I know enough to presume Dowholis’ innocence or guilt. What perplexes me, however, is that Derek Welsman and by extension “The Dean Blundell Show” are able to get away with such conspicuous acts of discrimination (to the point of breaking the law), and to this date have had the singular penance of writing one note paying lip-service towards reformation. WTF!?

I’m starting to think that perhaps these comments represent a psychic excess within society’s suppressed subconscious, a narrative of oppression (or stupidity), seemingly above law, and projected unto scapegoat-vessels like Derek Welsman and Rob Ford (who might I note also has suspicious ties to this increasingly evil-sounding radio). This narrative is enabled by society, or rather preserved as though it were god’s will, because deep down it reflects a tiny fiber of public consciousness, an internalized entitlement. I submit to you—the White Male Slob narrative, one which is unfiltered, privileged, crass, and unashamedly derogative (like the hetero-sexist uncle, no one ever silences during the holidays) The White Male Slob narrative is synonymous with power, and enacted almost exclusively but not limited to gouty rich white men (even the GAY Dan Savage, who I posit shares insidious ties to the radio by virtue of his insufferable podcasts and problematic views). This destructive narrative, acts under a guise of public drunkenness good-humour, but secretly operates as a self-policing border, protecting the normative by dividing what is normal from what is abject.

The public shaming of queerness, via HOMOPHOBIC jokes made on-air, contributes to this notion of normativity, by carrying the statement that difference is not tolerated or safe within public airwaves. Even minor pejoratives, such as stating “that’s so GAY” in public, serve to exclude queerness from normative spaces. These spectacles of punishment (to invoke Foucault) no matter how big or small encourage other so-called deviants to adjust their behaviour. For if one fears the threat of public embarrassment on “The Dean Blundell Show”, one may think twice with regards to his or her own exhibition of sexual deviancy (or at least their next trip to the bathhouse).

To conclude, I think the joke is on “The Dean Blundell Show”, because it exists on an apparatus, which people only listen to when they’re in remote areas or doing something boring. I say let the White Male Slobs have their radio, entomb the gentleman’s club within the archaic airwaves of faceless oppression.  Leave things like television and civic responsibility to the informed adults.

[Insert the classic faces-made-for-radio joke].

You May Also Want to Check Out:

How I Became a “Hook-Up Lesbian”

Adventures in Exercise: It’s Gettin Hot in Herre (Bikram Yoga)

4 thoughts on “Radio Killed the Radio Star: The Dean Blundell Show

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