ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Feschuk talks about Michael Jackson's nose
By Paolo Zinatelli
“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
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
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
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.”