Jian Ghomeshi’s new podcast, The Ideation Project, is not so new anymore. In fact, as of this writing, it is exactly 6 months old, having kicked off with its first video, “Exiles”, on April 10th, 2017.
And so, the official Ideation Project website has had time to attract some attention mainly through word of mouth, and the Ideation Project Youtube channel has, over these past months, garnered some subscribers. How many? I don’t know, I can’t actually see how many because Youtube is either concealing that number or it’s so low it hasn’t even registered.
In any case, the videos are gathering some views, and, if you check out the like / dislike ratio, most people seem to authentically enjoy this content, unless they’re all people paid to say ponderous things, which, these days, is not out of the realm of possibility. They could also be bots. Thoughtful, opinionated bots.
The comments for these videos do seem real enough, I guess, with plenty of praise for The Ideation Project’s ideas, and the format in which they are presented.
There are, so far, 13 episodes, and we are still in Season 1, apparently. The concepts behind the episodes focus on social commentary on a variety of issues, including social media, multiculturalism, societal critiques, and philosophical musings that would seem to be on Jian’s mind on a given week.
The productions are not extremely elaborate, but there is surely some amount of effort behind them, including original music composed by Jian which you can listen to separate from the podcast itself. For fans of Q, this is definitely not Q, the CBC show Jian used to host before he was fired.
Although The Ideation Project is not a mega blockbuster success so far, I would certainly not call it a failure either. Indeed, considering what Jian Ghomeshi’s past few years have looked like, I would wager he considers The Ideation Project some type of minor victory in the grand scheme of things. After years of allegations, trials, and being forced to duck and cover, getting a few likes here and there on Youtube might feel like some type of exoneration.
On the other hand, online reviews of The Ideation Project, most of which surfaced shortly after the podcast was launched, do not speak favourably of Jian’s relatively new creative endeavour. From what I’ve read, they range, generally, from “meh” to “barf”. It seems that Jian’s controversial trials were fairly fresh in the minds of many of these reviewers as they wrote scathingly of the former Q host’s latest audiophile effort. There is a definite tone of “Get lost, creep!” to many of the reviews, either overtly or subtly.
Also, Twitter has blown up over the past several months with people reacting negatively to the return of Jian Ghomeshi in any way, shape, or form.
Now, if you’ve ever heard Jian on Q as the host, it’s hard to deny that he was a consummate interviewer, and him and his team on CBC were responsible for a show that was extremely well put-together and much beloved at the time in their home country of Canada.
The episodes that you can still find online of Q, with its multitude of fascinating guests, are definitely worth listening to on their own merits.
Of course, The Ideation Project is not a podcast that features guests, but it has some of the same production values as Jian’s previous show, including, mainly, his voice, and his observations. Aside from that, the format is quite different, and, depending on your personal opinions of the topics, either bland and trite, or timely and intriguing. It also depends on how much you paid attention / care about the past 3 years or so, with Jian being taken to trial over a series of upsetting allegations.
There are certainly people who, no matter what the courts eventually decided, will not be giving Jian Ghomeshi a second chance. To them, he is the lowest form of scum and can, from this point on, do no right. There are, however, other folks who consider the court’s decision to be the final word, which is to say that Jian is not guilty and, hence, should be treated as such.
The bottom line is that none of these opinions of people who love him or hate him for what they think happened actually address whether his new podcast is good or not.
Personally, just looking at the podcast for what it is, it’s not bad. The concept behind it is good – just a thought-provoking look at some topical ideas set to music and with a sort of stream-of-consciousness visual format.
Some people seem to think that Jian’s “rhymes” are cringe-worthy, and I, as someone who doesn’t really like slam poetry or beat poetry, would mostly agree, except for the fact that I do find what he’s saying to be otherwise relevant, so the rhyming I would say is…passable? No, it’s not what I would call “dope”, but some people even seem to like this AABB style. Go figure.
Podcasts, by their nature, I think are meant to be taken fairly casually, in the same way that talk radio is just something to listen to and ponder, not exactly rate it like it’s the new Star Wars movie.
Add to that the fact that The Ideation Project is just one podcast in a huge sea of other interesting new podcasts popping up all over Youtube, and this fact in and of itself is going to mean that it will have somewhat limited reach.
I think, at this point, that the real deciding factor on whether many people will like or dislike this podcast is what they think about the creator, since he is still so divisive to a lot of people. For those of us who weren’t sucked into the drama surrounding Jian, and don’t care to either idolize or vilify him at this point, this podcast might be interesting.
Rating: Not Bad