The Overeducated Grumbler

by Terris Schneider

illustration by Tyler Crich
illustration by Tyler Crich

  Over the years, there have been certain Much-Music and MTV Canada VJs who I get giddy over because they are awesome Canadians.

  Dan Levy, a beloved Canadian TV personality, has been one of those Canadian VJs that I liked. I thought it was cool that him and Jessi Cruickshank made The Hills After Show on MTV Canada popular. I realize that The Hills was not exactly the greatest TV show, but the fact that a Canadian network was known for their after show for an American TV show is quite cool. Plus, I’m a huge Degrassi fan and his appearance in the movie Degrassi Goes Hollywood put him in my good books.

  Then something terrible happened. I was reading an issue of Flare, and saw that Levy had written an article called Cents and Sensibility (good Jane Austen pun). I had never read any of his writing before — I didn’t know he wrote at all — so I was excited. Unfortunately, the article disappointed me. While I agree that people should appreciate things and enjoy themselves when they indulge, the gist of the article really seemed to bash spoiled people and claimed that they don’t appreciate the things that are given to them.

  The worst line, the one that got me all worked up was in reference to his high school trip to Europe. He claimed that many of his classmates were only there because “their parents wanted the summer off, and travel, money and luxury were as common to them as the McDonald’s McNuggets they opted to eat over the impossibly delicious Italian fare.”

  First of all, generalize much? I get that a lot of spoiled kids are stereotyped as being numb to the things that are given to them, and he probably came across a bunch of vile, whiny rich kids in his lifetime, but it’s not really fair to say that about everyone.

  What some may not know about your fellow grumbler is that I had a difficult time in my early twenties, and my parents helped me out a lot financially during this period. My parents have always been generous, but I’ve always appreciated them and the opportunities they have given me. If you take a look at my brothers, both are even more overeducated than your fellow grumbler. One is a screenwriter for a film studio in Florida, the other is getting his PHD in I/O psychology (I don’t really know what that means either). Both will eventually support their poor writer sister and allow her to live in their basements. Both are doing extremely well for themselves, are mature, well-adjusted individuals, and grew up to appreciate things and not be spoiled jerks, despite what they’ve been given.

  Also, am I to believe that Levy hasn’t been given anything? His dad is Eugene Levy and more than likely this had some influence in getting him his current MTV VJ role. Sounds like he had some advantages that other broadcast journalists did not.

  This article just seemed self-indulgent. To rant about how well brought up he was and how everyone should be this way showed a stuck up attitude I didn’t expect from Levy. However, I feel a little bad saying these things about him. Part of me still adores that lovable face that would tell me about all the gossip on The Hills. Sigh.

  To put myself in a better mood, here is a list of some of my favourite VJs of all time. I was born in the late ‘80s, so grew up watching MuchMusic in the ‘90s. Most of my picks are linked to my nostalgia:

1) George Stromboulopoulos: First, he hosted my favourite MuchMusic show of all time that turned me into a indie music nerd, The Wedge. His bromance with Rick the Temp also made me smile and I enjoyed watching them banter back and forth. Then he went on to host his own show which hit a new demographic and made news interesting for young people. Also, fair readers, I touched his butt at a talk he did at UBC when I was in first year. He was very polite about it.

2) Ed the Sock: Only in Canada would a sock be a celebrity. I loved Ed the Sock because he grumbled about all the garbage music videos and shit that came out. Listening to him rag on everything probably subconsciously inspired this column, or led to its sarcasm. I used to count down the days until the Fromage series that came out around the new year.

3) Nardwuar: I need not explain this one. Nardwuar is a Canadian treasure.

  Canadian VJs will always hold a special place in my heart, and my love for Dan Levy as a VJ continues to run deep. It’s just his writing that needs an attitude adjustment.