Why Dean Blundell is the Everyman’s Whipping Boy
On Jan 6, one of my favorite radio personalities was fired for Homophobic remarks and ‘Offensive On-air jokes’. R.I.P The Dean Blundell Show, of 102.1 the Edge in Toronto. The Edge has remained on every car stereo i’ve owned and driven. Their taste in music was (and arguably, still is) right on par with what the youth and young adults of today want to hear (hooligans!) and their mix of hard rock with EDM, Indie and occasional hip-hop made me rarely seek another station.
Along with their music, there was the added bonus of the radio personalities. As a teenager, their off-color humor and monotone sarcasm aligned perfectly with my developing mind. I wanted to be Josie Dye’s best friend, blaze with Barry Taylor and ask Bookie and David Cross everything they know about music. But the best of all was my morning drive to school/work and listening to The Dean Blundell Show.
The Dean Blundell show was actually a three man group comprising of Dean Blundell, Todd Shapiro and Derek Welsman (former contrbuter Jason Barr). It ran from 2001-2014 when it was cancelled because of the above mentioned ‘Homophobic remarks’ and ‘Offensive On-Air jokes’. We’ll go ahead and ignore the second part of that, since the show ran for 13 flipping years, fueled solely and completely by offensive jokes.
Being Homophobic is incredibly close-minded and old-fashioned. Religious fanatics and gay-fearing individuals need to relax, and above all realize the pointless ‘war’ against gay people having rights is as effective as the war on drugs. Being homophobic is almost seen as a mental disorder these days; most logical people either don’t care or fight in the favor of equality. Not to mention with so many high profile people coming out of the closet like Ellen Page and Anderson Cooper, the taboo has flipped from being gay to being against gay.
In September 2013, Dean Blundell and Derek Welsman made homophobic remarks on air about a rape case Welsman was a juror in. The comments they made were pretty cringe worthy, and i’ll spare you. They definitely deserved to be punished, issue an apology and have their metaphorical, if not their literal, wrists slapped. But to be fired? And Especially with that as the reason?
The Dean Blundell show has taken the piss out of every race, religious denomination and sexual preference. Blundell was reprimanded in 2010 for mocking Justin Bieber, something everyone from my mother to his own takes part in at least once a day. He attacked everything from Biebers fans, to Biebers pre-pubescent appearance, stating things like “Save your energy for puberty” and calling Bieb’s a ‘Chugger’, a slang term for male prostitutes for those of you… unfamiliar with the world of male prostitutes?
Alright, so Blundell has no shame. But his material is barely authentic; One article slams Blundell for drawing attention to Bieber’s feminine features, calling him a ‘He-she-it’. Is Blundell directly attacking the LGBT community? The article suggests, but neglects to point out that a website Dedicated to lesbians who look like Justin Bieber (Yup, its a place: http://lesbianswholooklikejustinbieber.tumblr.com/). Yes, Blundell lacks tact. And that’s also exactly what he’s been paid to do for 13 years. Did his Bieber fueled rant mean he hates gay people because they might look like Justin Bieber? No, but he knew that calling Justin Bieber gay would insight the most hilarious of reactions from Biebers predominantly female followers. The guy is paid to push peoples buttons, and he was damn good at it.
In his statement after his firing, Blundell points out that if he was as homophobic as people claim, he wouldn’t have had so many LGBT community guests on his show over the years. This was seen as a Paula-Deen-like excuse (“I have plenty of black employees!”), but its fact. Blundell may have sounded hateful, but was he actually? He hosted a variety of people on the show, and they all knew going in and during that he was likely to mock them and they came armed. Every guest on that show had the equal opportunity (see what I did there) to turn Blundell’s own frat-boy ‘hate’ around on him and make his viewers laugh at his obvious lack of culture. How many of those guests left threatening to sue? Few, and the show is broadcast live so major scuffles and verbal throw-downs would have been noted if they had happened. They also ran some off-color competitions too, like Find Todd a Fiancée. Where were the angry pro-marriage riots then? Where were the ‘protectors’ of the sanctity of marriage during a competition where Todd would (theoretically) marry a random chick decided by votes?
No, Blundell and his show are controversial, but not homophobic. There’s a difference between saying things and believing them, like when you meet anyone of racial denomination who can tell you the worst jokes of their ethnicity. I’ve had incredibly wealthy, hard working 5th generation Canadian ‘black’ friends reel off the most cringe-worthy lazy N-word black jokes for anyone listening. My lesbian friends joke loudly and brashly about muff-diving like its the next Olympic sport, and are too prudish to change in front of other women at the gym. My completely straight, often married male friends will threaten their other straight, often married friends about shoving cocks down their throats during poker games. Blundell isn’t alone in his shock-jock sense of humor, and his following was comprised of that demographic almost entirely. Shortly after Blundell was let go, The Edge posted statistics that its listeners had dropped by 50% during that time slot (sorry, Fred). Why? Is it because Dean Blundell’s listeners were all homophobic, white supremists cleverly hidden in Toronto, one of the biggest cultural mixing pots in the country? No, it’s because all of his dark humored listeners have disbanded to find another show they can relate to. In this day and age, everything is so forced towards being politically correct that it drains the color and passion out of any real fight. All one has to do to support a cause these days is Like a page, show up in a faceless crowd or post on a personal blog. Do you think Blundell would have had his wrist slapped if Justin Biebers fans didn’t care enough to be upset? He was crucified for everything from bullying to hating gay and transgendered people, but all I got from his rant was that he really didn’t like the Biebs, a feeling most Canadians reflect. He’s a mocking a pop star, not a random average child with developing self-esteem, and furthermore Blundell is in his 30’s— Did anyone really see his rant as anything either than the next generation being appalled with the current?
Apparently so. You can’t throw around controversial subjects for too long without one angry PTA mom breaking through. Todd Shapiro (the sexy bastard) was let go in spring of 2013 for comments made, and Jason Barr was let go in 2010. It was only a matter of time before the axe fell on Blundell, especially since he had been the last man standing of the old radio-show DJ’s my generation had grown to love from the Edge. It’s no longer considered cool to joke about anything controversial, unless you first preface it with ‘you know, i’m not homophobic/racist/hateful, but…” and while that brings me relief from the people who are actually homophobic/racist/hateful (they’re awkward to talk with..) it makes me sad that we can’t have an understanding in society of what is meant in jest and what is a deep-seated belief.