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I don’t remember us discussing my career—like most beguiling solipsists, Jian had a way of drawing the conversation around to himself.

We stopped at his car, a tiny vintage pastel-green sports coupe.

And then, as if it were the most normal thing in the world, he said, “I’m going to this orgy tonight, do you want to come? I’d learn later that even Jian’s apparent lack of a filter was carefully calibrated for maximum effect. tour and Jian would write me long, tortured emails from the road, asking for career and dating advice.

He was self-involved in a way that would have been insufferable—one of those people who drone on at the party about their own tedious existential struggles—if he hadn’t also been so culturally literate and charismatic.

Also, he spent quite a bit of time buttering me up.

I visited him a couple of times in Cabbagetown and he was rather house proud, pointing out new pieces of expensive furniture, the gleaming wood floors and his collection of Persian rugs. He’s often spoken of feeling like an outsider because of his Iranian background, and I believe that being born on the fringes of the dominant Canadian culture fuelled his ambition. I didn’t have much to show for myself back in my 20s, but I did have a column in the country’s most respected newspaper.

For Jian, a self-conscious immigrant kid who’d grown up feeling like a nerd and dreaming of David Bowie, that kind of status mattered more than anything.

For all his agonizing over ratings and “audience reach” at my farm that summer night, we both knew he’d found his medium on CBC Radio.

As Jian’s star rose, and we both got older, the age of many of the girls he dated stayed the same. What’s startling about the allegations against Jian is not that a seemingly law-abiding person is accused of doing terrible things. It’s the way Jian wove the most cherished and sacred liberal values of Canadian society into an ingenious disguise that he used to hide in plain sight.

” I don’t recall actually saying no, only both of us bursting into laughter as though the whole suggestion had been a big joke. Long before he was a household name in Canada, he was a master of calculating what other people wanted and presenting them with it—so long as it didn’t conflict with his own ever-pressing desires. Although I can’t recall the specifics now, I remember that the emails went on and on and were full of unfulfilled longing, which would prove to be a perpetual theme for Jian.

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