Sunday, July 30, 2017

Justin Trudeau and the Tall Poppy Syndrome

I've mentioned this before, but sometimes I feel like Gulliver must have felt in the land of the Lilliputians.

And can't help wondering why if Canada is so big, why are so many of its people so small.

And the latest example of that is the reaction of so many to this fluffy magazine story.

For if the way the Con clown Lisa Raitt reacted made her look ridiculous. 

Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt said the Rolling Stone cover story on Mr. Trudeau – which asks “Why can’t he be our President?” – could have an adverse effect on trade dealings with the “mercurial” Mr. Trump, who has been known to act “on a whim.” 

“This is a serious misstep by the Trudeau regime. They should have just taken a breath and not sought out this publicity this time because I don’t think it’s helpful to the overall goal of our country, which is a free-trade deal,” she said in an interview.

Or like an absolute idiot...

The reaction of others, including some so called "progressives" was equally idiotic.

Like this deranged rant from James Wilt in Canadian Dimension. 

Immediately following the article’s publication on July 26, many of Canada’s leading pundits and journalists exploded with territorial incredulity, pedantically noting that it’s the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (not “Mountain” as originally suggested in the article), the Saint John River (not “St.” John River) and the Liberal Party (not the “Liberty” Party). 

Such corrections were, of course, warranted. But there was a far more troubling aspect of the profile left untouched: that the article “Justin Trudeau: The North Star” was, without any exaggeration, unabashed propaganda.

Which being almost as long as the Rolling Stone article itself, was much ado about nothing.

As well as being an even better example of propaganda trumping journalism. One that didn't seem to recognize that fluff is fluff.

And that some people have it and some people don't...

And while Wilt accuses the article's author, Stephen Rodrick, of being a "godawful writer."

He's not exactly Shakespeare himself.

For example, in an introductory graph, Rodrick writes that Trudeau’s “dark hair is a color found in nature. At home, there is a glamorous wife and three photogenic children, still not old enough to warm his seat at next week’s G-20 summit or be involved in an espionage scandal.”

What colour is not found in nature? The human eye can incredibly perceive around 10 million distinct colours. A vast majority, if not all, could be found in “nature.” So what is Rodrick even suggesting? If Trudeau’s hair is the colour of delicious 85 per cent dark chocolate, then say as much!

And expecting a magazine aimed at young people in the United States to be as policy oriented, or as boring as Canadian Dimension, is totally absurd.

Barely anything in this piece actually addresses material policy issues. Instead, it moves steadily along the rails of Liberal communication strategies, up the rolled up sleeves of Trudeau’s shirt and down the rapids of stolen Indigenous waters that he paddled with his father.

And borders on insanity.

Which is why I'm glad to see the Toronto Star describe the kerfuffle over the Rolling Stone article as just another example of the tall poppy syndrome. 

Somewhere in the Canadian psyche is a residual puritanism, a cast of mind H.L. Mencken defined as the haunting fear that somebody somewhere might be happy and doing well. 

Even 150 years after Confederation, it remains a national pastime to scan the landscape for tall poppies, ensuring none of us get above ourselves. 

We admire success. But too much flamboyance in the achieving of it, any straying from a sort of Sidney Crosby “aw-shucks-another-trophy” in response, elicits a chorus of school-marmish clucking.

The kind of school-marmish clucking one might expect to hear from these silly old Trudeau haters...

Who can't seem to tell the difference between Trudeau and Stephen Harper, love to portray the decent Justin as a monster, and our country as a hellhole where hope goes to die.

And like Wilt can't seem to understand that everything is relative, and that those who can't remember the past are condemned to repeat it...

How quickly we take the favours of fortune and elections for granted. Until recently it was the United States that had the cool, progressive president, while Canada was led by a chap of surpassing gloom and resolute unhipness.

In the last two years, that’s reversed, utterly. Canada is led by a feminist in flashy socks. America is presided over by an erratic tweet freak. As the good Dr. Hook sang, “it’s all designed to blow our minds . . .”

You know, I'm not sure where this tall poppy syndrome came from, but it's probably the legacy of colonialism. 

Where Canadians were told over and over again that being Canadian could NEVER be as good as being British.

And all I can say is they can shove that one where the sun don't shine eh? 

Deliver us from those ghastly gloom birds, and Harper lovers, who would take us back to the past, and wish us to be as miserable as they are.

And give thanks that at a time like this one, in a time of Trump.

Justin Trudeau is our prime minister... 


  1. Anonymous2:23 PM

    So it's propaganda? What exactly is it trying to accomplish other than to show Americans that a better world is possible? So terrible.

    1. Hi anon....the Rolling Stone story was a harmless fluff piece, and calling it propaganda was totally ridiculous. As I said in my post, I thought Wilt's story was anti-Trudeau propaganda, which made the whole exercise both ironic and hypocritical...

    2. Anonymous11:11 PM

      America isn't a nice country and we can't have nice things. Sometimes it takes the jesters to tell the truth: Jimmy Kimmel pointed out the obvious reason why people thought "Obama"-care was to be avoided like the plague, but loved the Affordable Care Act. Your Rick Mercer talked to Americans once upon a time, and also found them seriously lacking in the intellect department. 9/11 has long passed; this is now Trump's country, and I for one think a revival of that great series is long overdue from Canada's Jon Stewart. It'd certainly give Deplorebel Media a run for their (hopefully dwindling) money.

      Is our peoples learning? No. We've only gotten worse since Shrub and have perhaps hit the point of no return. We're proudly ill-educated, arrogant, mean, and we take a perverse, sadistic pleasure in violence. There are as many guns in this country as there are people -- roughly a third of a billion. Schoolteachers are viewed as agents of some kind of subversive communist fifth column. Racial minorities, immigrants, women, and LGBT are spat upon as undesirables (except for women, but only in the sense of sexual desire) the same way they were in 1930s Germany. People believe Hillary Clinton ran a Haitian child-trafficking ring out of the nonexistent basement of a pizza parlor, that she eats fetal tissue in Illuminati witchcraft rituals, that Barack Obama is the Islamic antichrist, and that Justin Trudeau himself is secretly gay, that Sophie had the kids with Sacha, that he was born in Cuba by an affair between Margaret and Fidel Castro, and that he, too, is a "Muslim, Marxist tool of George Soros."

      That's why a Justin can't be our president. Castro conspiracies aside, he really did once hold a job that Americans view as the epitome of a professional blasphemer and satanic magus: he was a schoolteacher! What sort of wicked sorcery is this "quantum computing," the modern-day Cotton Mathers of Fox News will ask? "Real Americans" are deranged morons no different from backward theocracies in the Middle East, with a Bronze Age paranoid mentality and space age nuclear technology. Those who aren't part of this club are objects of suspicion: "coastal elites," "Obamunists," "bluepilled," "social justice warriors," "secular progressives," and far worse. It's always been this way; it just got dialed up to 11 during the Cold War and especially after September of 2001. I mean heck, we had our chance at a Pierre in 1960. Then someone else had their "shot" at him in 1963. Need I say more?

  2. Anonymous3:29 PM

    That Canadian Dimension article is a joke. It's a perfect summation of what's wrong with some progressives in this country. Like those two old Con jobs who believe that Trudeau is worse than Harper Wilt is totally out to lunch. As you said, how soon they forget.

    1. Anonymous5:10 PM

      Those two old Con jobs should be expelled from Progressive Bloggers, I'm sure they would be welcomed with open arms at the Blogging Tories.

    2. Hi anon 3:29... The Canadian Dimension story was a joke, and almost unreadable. And as for those two old Trudeau haters they are out to lunch. My guess is that they are both suffering from depression or early Alzheimer's and get a boost from bringing others down. I have told them both that destroying hope is to play into the hands of the Cons, but they aren't smart enough to understand..

    3. Hi anon 5:10 I don't think they should be expelled. I enjoy some of their posts, and we need all the Canadian progressive bloggers we can get. However, if they continue to attack Trudeau in what can only be described as a violent manner, they can expect to be attacked for playing into the hands of the Cons...

  3. Anonymous3:59 PM

    I think much of that hysterical anti-Trudeau stuff comes from bitter NDP supporters. They can't forgive Trudeau for outflanking them during the last election campaign. They think the only way they can win is by attacking him, and I think they'd rather the Cons won the next election than Trudeau. Sick.

    1. Anonymous10:31 PM

      Sounds like the Bernie die-hards who'd rather Trump win to "burn the place down and start the revolution" (looking at you, Susan Sarandon) than vote for "She-Wolf of Wall Street" Hillary. Congratulations, you got what you wanted: The wholesale destruction of the United States and probably Western civilization. Sometimes I think they sympathize with Russia too and forgot that it's not their vaunted Soviet paradise anymore. A vast far-left conspiracy, one could say, in a destructive horseshoe arrangement with the far-right. Even Buddha said the middle path was the way to go.

    2. Hi anon. 3:59....I try not to attack any of the progressive parties, but I'm afraid that bitter NDP supporters are probably responsible for much of that anti-Trudeau hatred. Instead of inspiring Canadians they have somehow concluded that the best way to increase their support is to try to destroy Trudeau. It's a huge mistake and the main reason they are going nowhere...

    3. Hi anon 10:31...,yes I'm afraid there are some similarities. The alt-leftists in this country would rather have the Cons win the election than support the hated Trudeau. A lot of NDP supporters do support Trudeau, but the hardliners hate him far more than they hate the Cons. This is particularly painful to me since I voted for the NDP in the last election. But the party I knew is deader that a Dodo, so I won't be making that mistake again...

  4. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Slapping ourselves on the back for getting rid of Harper won't ensure that Trudeau lives up to his promises. There's nothing wrong with being disappointed when Trudeau abandoned electoral reform, refused to undo the damage Harper did to our environmental laws, and reneged on his promises to dial back the powers of the security services under C-51 and reform the hopelessly corrupt NEB. It's only by insisting that he do better that we get progress.

    As Obama said to his supporters, "Your job is to hold my feet to the fire... so, you need to be out there everyday raising these issues, telling us when we’re doing the right or wrong thing. My role is to be President of the United States, and your role is to be a strong voice for people who aren’t always heard."

    We can't be a strong voice for people who aren't always heard if we refuse to criticize the PM, Simon. Is Irudeau better than Harper and Scheer and all the other Con orcs and weasels? Sure, but that's only clearing the very low bar of basic humanity. But this country is facing very serious issues of climate change, social inequality and political stagnation, and Trudeau's status quo, minimalist approach isn't going to cut it. Focus your efforts where they'll do the most good, not on the unhinged and irrelevant antics of the Cons.

    1. Anonymous10:54 PM

      He's been in office for what, a year and a half? Harper had a decade to ruin the country, just like Bush had 8 years, plus Gingrich's hijacking of Clinton and then the Reagan De-Evolution that lasted for 12 -- for a grand total of 28 YEARS of GOP destruction that Obama couldn't just wave a magic wand and clean up overnight. I don't think it's so much an outright refusal, as a steady track forward and an acknowledgment that "real change" doesn't happen in the span of a bathroom break. He's not slamming on the breaks. He's just not going 420 km/hr in a thickly-settled zone! :)

      Justin also knows that there's plenty of orcs and weasels downstairs who'd salivate at the opportunity to jump on enough disaffected folks in the northern equivalent of "flyover country" if, for example, he went full-scale Al Gore and "phased out" the tar sands by the end of his first term. (Think of an alternative horror scenario where Rexxon met with Scheer in Alberta to "enrich the province" by selling the resources to Rosneft!) Coal country went for Trump for much the same reason: Hillary said (albeit not as eloquently as Bruce Springsteen) "those jobs are goin', boys, and they ain't comin' back."

      Even the RS article says that his "temperate" actions trying to mitigate environmental and indigenous concerns with those of the folks in the oil-rich Western provinces and the pipeline companies, has a lot to do with "paying for the sins of his father" -- the N.E.P. had a lot to do with Pierre being suddenly and memorably unseated in 1979, and Justin knows this. I'm sure he'd love to do like Jimmy Carter and put solar panels (or Elon Musk's solar shingles) on 24 Sussex and Rideau Cottage, if not every single home in Canada. But he can't, because he doesn't want to throw oil country under the bus -- lest they throw him under a flammable tanker.

      C-51 and the Five Eyes arrangement is one of those "if we don't do it, someone else will" problems (e.g., China and genetic engineering, the Soviet space race) that, again, Canada has to make do with because of its political and geographic proximity to the increasingly chaotic U.S. and Mother England, among the rest of the partners. (Blame the U.S. and Bush for kicking the hornet's nest in the Middle East that started all these problems with terrorism in the first place.) I'm not happy about things that Snowden revealed about "No Such Agency" either, but suffice it to say the onus must fall on the user to protect his/her own privacy online so that the security services have the ability to thwart terrorist activities before they turn catastrophic. Use VPN, don't sign up for social media and, if you can, dump Windows for Linux or, heck, even a Mac. Google may not be your friend, but there's information at your fingertips for how to protect yourself while the authorities go after who needs to be gone after. Neo-Nazi groups are being targeted along with ISIS sleeper cells. I don't want the government to not be able to stop those guys in their tracks.

      Give Justin a chance is all I'm saying, to paraphrase John Lennon. Yeah, he's not perfect, but no one is -- and it hasn't even been two years. He's juggling a balancing act involving a lot of disparate groups so as to avoid a repeat of the earthquake in the U.S. No one is going to be 100% happy with him, hence why he titled his book "Common Ground" -- a compromise is exactly what he's trying to reach. As I call it, The Heart of the Deal.

  5. Anonymous9:31 PM

    That Canadian Dimension story is one of the dumbest stories I have ever read. Do they pay the guy who wrote it by the word? That magazine is just a propaganda rag for the loser Dippers. But guess what, I just saw one of those Con jobs trying to publicize it on Twitter. Takes one loser to recognize another.

  6. Hi anon 4:56....As I have said over and over again, I am not against criticizing Trudeau, what I am against is claiming he is worse than Harper, and encouraging an atmosphere of violence which has reached disturbing levels in this country. I also think that Trudeau has changed this country in many ways in the less than two years he has been in power. You may not care about his support for LGBT Canadians, but I do. You may not care about his support for women's rights but I do. You may not care about the way Trudeau dismantled Harper's new bill that gave him the right to deport any Canadian immigrant who wasn't born in this country. But this immigrant and millions of others are both happy and grateful. And the list goes on and on. Trudeau may not be perfect, but he is NOT worse than Harper as some alt-leftists claim. He has improved this country's image in the eyes of he world, and for that deserves credit not abuse. I don't care whether the Liberals or the NDP or the Greens rule this country, but I am determined to keep the Cons out of power, and will attack anyone who makes it easier for that to happen...

  7. Hi anon 9:31pm...Lorne Warwick is promoting that Canadian Dimension story on Twitter. Ha ha ha that's hilarious, what a loser. I have no idea why insists on making a fool of himself, but I suspect it's just his way of trying to endear himself to the monstrous mound of misogyny and homophobia. They are definitely a couple, and spend every day lubricating each other...

  8. Anonymous11:39 PM

    Simon, that is the most adorable picture of young Justin and his legendary papa, bonding on a nature trip as only a father who dearly loves his son can. I often wonder what Pierre, were he alive today, would say of the bizarre arrangement the world is in (he'd certainly have little if anything good to say about Trump), and of the relentless, petty, and oftentimes downright vulgar hatred directed at Justin and literally everyone in his family. I do recall the wonderful Maggie saying in an interview she was disgusted by what she correctly described as "bullying attacks" on her son. (She's also said -- and quite aptly, I believe -- that Trump has serious psychological issues and, for his own sake and that of the country, needs to get professional help.)

    The cons and their useful-idiot Dippers getting all up in arms about nontroversies like Magazinegate, Khadrgate, Castrogate, Elbowgate, Albertagate, Socksgate (the supposed "insult" of wearing Ramadan socks to Toronto Pride), Nannygate, and so on and so forth, makes them look ridiculous. They think Justin has more Gates than the Microsoft founder's family reunion, so many that he could hook them all together, build a wall around Canada and make the cons pay for it. When it's actually just the Jobsian "reality distortion field" they've constructed around themselves, like a bunch of Marcel Marceaus in an invisible box.

    Add to that the unhinged Rebel Media cult and their fellow travelers coming up with bizarre hallucinations about the "Trudeau Illuminati" and we're talking about a really bad trip. Geez, it's not like he colluded with Russia to get elected or anything... not that there's any world leaders who might have done that... These aren't the orange droids we're looking for...

    I mean, come on, disagree with him if one must, but do they have to try and "destroy" him like he's worse than Saddam Hussein and that infamous Austrian guy combined? He's a father, a son, a husband, and a brother who will grieve for his youngest sibling for the rest of his life and assuredly treasures the kid brother he still has. A schoolteacher, beloved by faculty and students alike. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy all around, and yes, there are a LOT of us in America who would love to have him or someone else of his caliber as president (technically, we did for 8 years prior, and miss him dearly already). Why must they pick on him the way they do? Not to be that guy from YouTube with the infamous Britney video, but all I want to say when I hear the peanut gallery start shrieking again is "Leave Justin Alone!"

    1. Anonymous7:44 AM

      Whoever you are yankee, you are wise. We are so fucking lucky to have Justin Trudeau as our leader, if trump doesn't cause nuclear holocaust, I believe Trudeau will be considered one of the greats in our history.

  9. Anonymous1:16 PM

    As the American Anon above listed the various nothing-burger "-gates" associated with Trudeau, I've noticed there really is this need to just tear him down from seemingly all political corners. You're right Simon, tall poppy syndrome seems to be in full force and I really don't understand why. He's exactly the kind of photogenic and charismatic leader I wanted the Liberal Party of Canada to have since Stephane Dion. Since 2006, I was convinced that the only reason Harper won any elections was due to the failure of the Liberal Party to have any kind of cohesion and presence. Dion and Ignatieff were complete duds, so much so that they made Harper look like a charmer and Harper came off more robotic than an AIBO.

    It's time to strut our stuff, Canada. JT is exactly the kind of ambassador we need at this critical moment. Yes, he is a politician and will not fulfill all his promises. Goes with the territory. His shaky handling of aboriginal affairs has me particularly concerned. However, don't dismiss his accomplishments. It's going to take more than a year and a half to reverse the damage done by almost a decade of Harper.

    Hold him to account, but do it right, as you do, Simon.