December 3 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 53  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Feschuk talks about Michael Jackson's nose

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

“I’m supposed to probably say it’s an emotional manifestation of my inner soul,” says Scott Feschuk on his new book Searching for Michael Jackson’s Nose and other preoccupations in our celebrity-mad culture.

However, the real reason for writing the book came in the mail one day. “I got a staggering Visa bill,” he says. Needing to pay off his credit card, and with no other discernible skills with which to make money, the National Post’s TV critic decided to write a book.

“It took me a couple months [to write],” he says, explaining this is a long time, as he usually writes fairly quickly. It was a good way to pass last winter, Feschuk explains.

The original title of the book was Celebrity Genitals (which later became a chapter in the book). At a reading at a College St. bar in Toronto, Feschuk and some friends did a reading of that chapter. “In a way, that is what the book is about,” he says, adding that celebrities have gone from no coverage to ubiquitous coverage in the media.

It’s no longer the media exposing celebrities, but celebrities exposing themselves to the media — by opening up their homes for example, Feschuk says.

The name of the book was eventually changed because his publisher hated it. His wife came up with the current title. “It’s a metaphor for our fascination with celebrity culture,” he says.

“I didn’t want [the book] to be a collection of old columns. That’s lame,” Feschuk says. So he took his best columns and worked at night on new ideas. The result was Michael Jackson’s Nose.

Feschuk has had an interesting career. From his humble beginnings as Editor-in-Chief of The Gazette more than a dozen years ago, he has also written for The Globe and Mail and now the Post.

His first job after The Gazette was with The Globe, he says. “I did their summer program and covered [writers on] leaves of absence and maternity leave.” At the end of that summer it looked like he was not going to get hired on full time, and was set to take a job with The Daily Racing Form in California.

He’s always loved the track, he explains. “[So I thought] I might as well do it when I’m young and poor.”
However The Globe came knocking before he took the position and hired him for their Edmonton bureau. It was there where he met future Post editor Ken Whyte. “We used to go out and have lunch at The Globe’s expense,” Feschuk laughs.

Five years later he was hired on at the Post and became the paper’s politics and film writer. He was in that position for two years before he was asked to stop writing moving reviews. “I was pissing off the advertisers. They didn’t want me to write anymore,” Feschuk says, adding he was too negative in his reviews.

When the idea for a TV column was pitched to him, he was hesitant at first. “I actually don’t watch that much TV,” he admits. But he accepted the job because in part, it allows him to work from home and look after his two young children, ages two and four.

“I don’t watch every show [like some TV columnists],” he says. “That would be hell to me.” Instead he chooses the show he wants to write about, tapes it and in between dropping and picking up his kids from daycare, watches it and writes his column.

Not a bad job at all. As a TV critic, he explains that he gets a fair share of mail. In fact, he breaks it down into four categories.

“I get fan mail. I get TV questions, like ‘Why isn’t The Jeffersons still on TV?’... I get hate mail. And I get hate mail about Rebecca Eckler,” he says, in reference to another Post columnist.

In the end there’s one simple explanation to his job. “The reason I’m still here is because I like having a forum where I can write whatever the hell I want.”

 

 

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