"Where were you when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saved the world by donning an obnoxiously racist costume?" That's what our children, and children's children, will no doubt be asking in the decades to come.
To be sure, nobody will be able to definitively answer that question since the PM apparently made such a regular habit of dressing up in blackface that his courtiers just came to accept it as something he just did. But as with any Canadian Heritage Momentâ€¦ moment, historical accuracy, or any kind of accuracy, isn't what's important here. If it were, we would remember Dr. Wilder Penfield, and not the "I smell burnt toast!" lady.
Just as Trudeau's media defenders want us to focus on Trudeau's record with respect to race relations like that's something to sneeze at instead of obsessing over more obnoxiously racist costume photos than it should be possible for one person to even have, we should be focusing on the overall impact of this scandal, beyond how it landed Canada's rep in the toilet. Again.
(Hey, does anyone remember when this election was supposed to be about facts and truth in newsvertising? Me neither.)
History will no doubt record that #TrudeauBlackface will be the turning point in the long war against populism. The moment where centrists around the world decided that the way to prevent racism from spreading was to do obnoxious racism themselves! Appeal to, and win over, racist voters by speaking directly to their concerns in an empathic way. Classic triangulation!
In this horse race election which will be decided in a few key battleground ridings (which we know nothing about because our intrepid journalists are more interested in following Scheer and Trudeau around like lemmings), it is critical that the Liberals pull every single vote, and that 4% of votes that would otherwise go to Maxime Bernier could make all the difference.
More than anything, the #TrudeauBlackface strategy will strengthen national unity by reassuring Quebeckers concerned about the loss of their culture that they can just go steal someone else's. Not only that, but it provides a solution to the thorny problem posed by Bill 21: if a teacher wants to wear a turban in a Quebec school, all they have to do is say it's part of an Aladdin costume.
In the vote-rich 905 suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area, some journalists went out of their way to find a few Canadians of colour who didn't think the PM dressing up like Mr. Popo from Dragon Ball Z was that big of a deal, and a Liberal-friendly pollster put out a survey that all but exonerated Trudeau. Meanwhile, influential pundits like Ed The Sock called the whole thing a distraction, said he liked Trudeau better now that he lost his halo, and thanked Canadians who might be miffed about Trudeau singing Day-O with a sock stuffed down the front of his pants for "choosing Canada." This is what is called "creating a false consensus", and is there anything more Canadian?
But most importantly, the #TrudeauBlackface strategy relies on Intellectual Dark Web wannabes to rush to Trudeau's defence, calling on conservatives to resist the temptation to "cuckoo cancel culture" even when no conservatives are calling for Trudeau to be cancelled. When Ben Shapiro comes out to say that Trudeau shouldn't lose his "PM spot" because he wore blackface, you know that populism's time is up. Wait, wasn't Ben Shapiro guilty of a Canadian hate crime? Exactly why we shouldn't cancel people because the Liberal Party of Canada might need them to get re-elected someday!
Was this what Drake, that poet laureate of the Canadian streets, meant when he braggadociously boasted that he "could turn your boy into the man"? That in order to defeat what you most hate, you must become what you most hate? Maybe that's why Drake ended up at the centre of his own blackface scandal. And maybe that's the lesson that Canada will teach the world that like Trudeau, we cannot be concerned with accuracy, or living up to the standards we set for others, or even with distinctions between black or white, if we are to choose forward.
Photo Credit: The Guardian
Written by Josh Lieblein