Aww Josh! What is that?
July 26, 2017 12:21 PM   Subscribe

We've talked about Justin Trudeau. We've talked about The West Wing Weekly. But have we talked about Justin Trudeau on The West Wing Weekly? [JT segment starts at 45:04]

PS. Justin Trudeau is also in Rolling Stone this week.
posted by jacquilynne (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This still aligns with my interests.
posted by Etrigan at 12:30 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


That Trudeau piece in Rolling Stone was riddled with the kind of minor errors that come from an outsider looking in, and by outsider I mean someone who doesn't understand the intricacies of Canada or Canadian government writing about the leader of Canada and the Canadian government.

It also reminds me why I cancelled my sub to The Economist - any time there was an article about something I was actually knowledgeable about, it was never quite accurate. Which led me to question the accuracy of everything I was reading as a non-expert.
posted by thecjm at 12:38 PM on July 26 [10 favorites]


I have been enjoying The West Wing Weekly quite a bit. I'm only half-watching the old episodes, mostly because I don't really need to, I'm familiar enough with each episode that I know exactly what they're talking about scene by scene.

That being said, I'm not a fan of the fetishization/objectification that Trudeau has generated in so much of the media. This is not limited to just the United States of America, but here in Canada as well. I find that a lot of people are more focused on these outside/on-the-surface parts of Trudeau as opposed to the types of policies and politics that he's actually putting forward as a Liberal.

It's scary how our own Canadian media is obsessed with his socks as opposed to something more worthwhile, for example, his funding of social services for Indigenous/First Nations communities. It's definitely problematic.

My own politics may be creeping into this comment, so I'll stop here and this is all I'll say about how I feel that Trudeau is being represented in the media.

If this is too much of a derail, feel free to moderate the hell out of this comment and have it removed.
posted by Fizz at 12:55 PM on July 26 [9 favorites]


Yah, I stopped taking the Guardian seriously as a newspaper after a series of articles about Canada which featured glaring errors, such confusing the Canadian flag with a marijuana flag, and referring to provinces as states.

I guess Canada exists in a sweet spot of comfortable second-tier status in the world that people can write articles about it to make their desired points about whatever, without worrying that they might be called on their rediculous lack of fact checking.

Anyway, I'm generally happy with how the Liberals are running the country, so I guess misleading hagiographic articles are a plus?
posted by Alex404 at 12:56 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Oh, man, I love WWW (found via FanFare) so much that literally the first thing I do on Wednesdays after I open my eyes is make sure the latest episode has downloaded to my phone. Totally shocked to see a current world leader as the guest this episode! I was a bit surprised that he actually answered the question about his thoughts of Washington right now in as much detail as he did. Expected him to punt on that question, especially given the lead in.
posted by Tentacle of Trust at 12:56 PM on July 26


thecjm, I had an interesting experience tangentially related to that with an author I used to enjoy reading. Sujata Massey writes crime fiction set in Japan (mostly) and involving a lot of what seemed like meticulously research and detailed descriptions of Japanese cultural artifacts and practices. I always assumed they were accurate details until there was a brief subplot -- no more than a couple of scenes -- that hinged on whether a minor character and his boyfriend and how they could not get married and be together in either of their respective countries. Except the minor character was Canadian, and gay marriage was long since legalized in Canada when the book was published.

So now, I'm left wondering if any of the other details in those books are also wrong. Does it matter if she described the source of fancy inlayed chests correctly? Not in the grand scheme of things, not relative to a newspaper or news mag, but feeling like I was learning something was part of enjoying those books and now I don't know if I learned anything at all.

At least Fake News is mostly pretty obviously fake. When you've got an overall reasonably accurate piece, but you can't know for sure if any particular details are correct, that's frustrating.

I wonder how much of the crappiness of that RS piece is a result of "print-based layoffs"?
posted by jacquilynne at 1:04 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


“No country would find 173bn barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

I wonder if the worst thing about Trump's presidency is how it makes people like Trudeau look progressive by comparison in most people's eyes.
posted by regicide is good for you at 1:12 PM on July 26 [6 favorites]


Yeah this is disturbing this fetishism of Justin. He was riding an anyone but harper wave and just because he looks pretty, takes great selfies, and can speak in coherent sentences doesn't mean he is a great leader. I wish we could get this celebrity personality thing out of our politics and the worship of him up here feels like to me a slippery slope into america-style politics which we just started to escape (maybe) in BC. He looks pretty and mouths the right words. I get a stereotypical "nice white male ally" whiff off of him.
posted by kanata at 1:19 PM on July 26 [6 favorites]


I find that a lot of people are more focused on these outside/on-the-surface parts of Trudeau as opposed to the types of policies and politics that he's actually putting forward as a Liberal.

There's an interesting bit in the Podcast about the fact that he sees his personal role in the government as being about reflecting positivity for Canadians. Around minute 49 he talks about how he views his team as responsible for the mechanics of government, while he's responsible for engaging with people and providing vision.

Which doesn't, of course, excuse the government or JT himself for their terrible record on substantive First Nations issues, pipelines, etc. But it does provide some insight into why he personally seems to be all hat and no cattle -- he apparently sees that as his role.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:41 PM on July 26 [8 favorites]


all hat and no cattle
Love that.
I mean, Harper was a scary evil robot so I'm good with Justin being as pretty and shiny as he wants, as long as he starts getting shit done. The broken election reform promise was pretty crappy and I think the #1 priority is to address and change the absolutely horrific way indigenous people in this country have been and are being treated.

I know the whole Rolling Stone piece is set up to contrast Trump and Trudeau, but it grosses me out a bit because it has that usual condescending "wow they are actually different people up here with their own thing going on" that so many American articles have (e.g. "Canada Day: it's their 4th of July!") It's not like a typical xenophobic thing, it's more a willful ignorance or patronizing tone that's especially egregious in articles about Canada: HEY IT'S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT COUNTRY OR SOMETHING. It reminds me of that Steve Martin line about "those French People. It's like they have a totally different word for everything."
posted by chococat at 2:24 PM on July 26 [7 favorites]


A neoliberal* capitalist in progressive clothing discussing a liberal fantasia that has demonstrably harmed progressive politics by emphasizing "reasonableness" and "norms" instead of political and electoral power. It's not just the Right that is beyond parody at this point.

*yes I know what it means.
posted by R.F.Simpson at 2:46 PM on July 26 [10 favorites]


A neoliberal* capitalist in progressive clothing discussing a liberal fantasia that has demonstrably harmed progressive politics by emphasizing "reasonableness" and "norms" instead of political and electoral power.

Came here to say this. Well said.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:22 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Came here to say this. Well said.

Is it though? Because I've been thinking about this comment and I still have no idea what it's supposed to mean. I would honestly appreciate an explanation.

Anyway, I listend to the linked interview, and I also thought it was interesting how Justin sees his role. To me it seems like a good approach, as long as he picks good people, which he also seems to have a talent for.
posted by Alex404 at 4:57 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I agree that there is indeed a problem with the degree to which Canadian media is performing a living hagiography of Trudeau. That said, I voted for him (not quite literally, as I am one riding over from his) and I don't yet regret it.

This interview makes him look good and thoughtful and I have no problem with it.
posted by 256 at 5:25 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


It's scary how our own Canadian media is obsessed with his socks

Wow, I think you and I read very different media as I have never seen a single reference to that or any of the minutia of his celebrity. But when it comes to politics I generally ignore most of the obvious optics / photo ops and look for the meat. If you want anti-Trudeau rhetoric read the Rebel - there it is mostly people calling him effeminate, weak and dumb. They don't even bother with his policies or lack of them unless it is about "terrorists" (which can mean anything to them from women to radical Islam depending on the day).

I think a large part of people's interest in Canada with Trudeau is much like Americans interest in Obama after he was first elected - he's actually approachable, seems to legitimately care and can delegate to good people. Trudeau is always accessible making him a much more appealing figure for the media. Remember what Harper was like? Harper is the anti-Trudeau in terms of personality - he had to control every phase of something, every statement was phrased as an attack or paternalistic or condescending or all three. He didn't even talk to reporters unless he controlled every aspect of the meeting. Say what you will about Trudeau, until the NDP can get their act together and get some decent candidates into ridings he's all progressives got.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:34 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


All you need to know about Trudeau (such as why he is on the cover of Rolling Stone) can be found right here:

Brazeau took a couple of standing eight-counts and looked frightened. The ref finally ended it in the third round, with Trudeau whaling on his defenseless opponent in a corner.

The victory was twofold: It showed that Trudeau could back up his words, and that the stereotypically weak-kneed Liberal Party could take a punch. Five years and a few miles away, Trudeau mischievously smiles when I ask how much of the boxing match had been planned out. "It wasn't random," Trudeau says. "I wanted someone who would be a good foil, and we stumbled upon the scrappy tough-guy senator from an indigenous community. He fit the bill, and it was a very nice counterpoint." Trudeau says this with the calculation of a CFO in a company-budget markup session. "I saw it as the right kind of narrative, the right story to tell," he says.

posted by My Dad at 6:08 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I was all for JT in the election. I am presently concerned that he's possibly running out of steam, maybe? He's not talking to Canadians as much (or the press is less interested... but I doubt that's the case). I haven't seem much mentioned recently of his pledge to keep his election promises, but I just found a tracker here, so we can still review these, at least. It might also be the case that he's just doing more of his work behind a desk now, rather than in front of the cameras, and so maybe they'll be a legislative record to back up the poster-boy appeal, when the next elections arrive.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:47 PM on July 26


It just seems to me the Trudeau government hasn't done much of anything at all, now that we're on the two-year mark. The only standout achievement so far seems to be refugee resettlement (which has been a success).
posted by My Dad at 8:22 PM on July 26


Trudeau's main accomplishment is that he isn't Stephen Harper. Now he's mostly doing his best not to be Trump. It'd be nice if the party set their goals a bit higher than that.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:17 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, this hot take on Trudeau by Jacobin is hilarious. Peak Jacobin!
posted by My Dad at 9:24 PM on July 26


I'm not sure who the Jacobin would have us elect. None of the parties measure up as far as they are concerned.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:16 PM on July 26


Is it though? Because I've been thinking about this comment and I still have no idea what it's supposed to mean. I would honestly appreciate an explanation.

Justin Trudeau is adored by American liberals in much the same way that Obama was. Trudeau is hip, handsome, and performs social liberalism very publicly ("I appointed a brown defense minister, so what if he tortured other brown people who live very far away?"). As Trudeau receives this hero worship, he actively undermines progressive ideals by encouraging the spread of global capitalism at the expense of workers (Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement), by selling arms to ruthless, dictatorial regimes in the middle east (2nd most of any country), by being very pro-oil pipeline, and by not attempting to remedy the oppressive conditions of Canada's indigenous population. In short, Trudeau is a wolf in sheep's clothing which seems positively delightful compared to the nativist devils cropping up around the globe (and leading the U.S.)

This liberal fawning over the niceties of Trudeau while largely ignoring his oppressive policies mirrors the fawning over the respectability politics of the West Wing. This fetishization of reasonableness overshadows a malignant unwillingness to obtain political or electoral power because of having played the game more honorably (after all, retaining their dignity is more important to those in power, for they will have no blowback from the oppressive policies of conservatives).

Both of these things are chronic problems within the mainstream liberal community. To have Trudeau on a podcast devoted to the West Wing (which yes, I watched it when it originally aired) is beyond parody. I could not imagine a comrade of the working class, of ethnic and racial minorities, and of oppressed genders both non-conforming and otherwise who would engage in PR for Justin Trudeau, nor can I imagine them getting sucked into the oppressive whiteness and misogyny of Aaron Sorkin's Good White Liberal Male fantasia of horseshit.

inb4 purity test
posted by R.F.Simpson at 12:26 AM on July 27 [6 favorites]


Thanks for posting that comment R.F. Simpson. I cannot favourite that hard enough. You summed up what I've been struggling to type the last day or so since this conversation began. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 3:58 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure who the Jacobin would have us elect.

A socialist.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:11 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting that comment R.F. Simpson. I cannot favourite that hard enough.

Seconded with vehemence.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:12 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


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