Rolling Stone magazine is the latest American media outlet to fall under the hypnotic spell of Justin Trudeau.
The Perfect Prime Minister got the full Rolling Stone cover treatment this week, an occasion that had much of the Canadian news media in full snicker and guffaw mode. The article, some 6,000 or so words, was at the least complimentary, at worst fawning. Clearly, writer Stephen Rodrick was enamoured of Trudeau, but it seems that few journalists who come in face-to-face contact with Trudeau don’t fall under his spell. For Trudeau, “listening is seduction,” wrote Rodrick, a line that seemed to particularly vex Canadian media commentators. “His dark hair is a color found in nature,” is another line from the article that really seemed to anger some people, but clearly that just a jab at Donald Trump and his otherworldly hair hue. The online version of the story had a couple of truly egregious errors (the Liberal party became the ‘Liberty’ party; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called the ‘Royal Canadian Mountain Police’), and some that were open to dispute. The National Post, which of course hated the article, was quick to mock errors in the story, so quick in fact that one of the alleged errors they pointed out – about the spelling of the St. John River (“It’s Saint John River”, the paper sniffed) – was incorrect, forcing the paper to correct its own correction.
I found the article to be not quite as fawning as it has been portrayed. Yes, it’s plenty complimentary, but it fairly pointed out flaws in his character,
and contained a dollop or two of scepticism, pointing out that Trudeau’s official photographer always seems to be around when Trudeau runs past a wedding party (left), or does something else lovable. The things that seemed to really rile up some people were not the fault of the writer. The cover headline, “Why can’t he be our president?”, was obviously not meant to be taken seriously. (Fox News commentators loved that one.) And being called “the free world’s best hope” was a little over the top. OK, a lot over the top.The reaction in Canada to the article was just oh, so Canadian. “Oh, he’s not THAT good,” seems to be the reaction from many in Canada. There was little mention in the article about domestic issues that Trudeau has failed to deliver upon, but why would Americans care about Canadian domestic issues? Rolling Stone has done some very good political reporting (look up anything by Matt Taibbi, or read his collection of columns during the U.S. election, Insane Clown President), but it’s not exactly The New York Times, so let’s not get too excited one way or another about this story. This is the same publication that put regularly puts sensationally untalented people on its cover.
Trudeau can be genuinely annoying, and his track record in government is spotty at best. But the underlying premise of the article is a cry of regret that Canada has a progressive, forward thinking, thoughtful leader, and the U.S. has … Donald Trump.
And speaking of Trump …
I wish I could go one week of writing this blog without mentioning Donald Trump. I’m sick of the guy, and I’m even sicker of writing about this freak. But every week, it’s a new fiasco, or, in the case of this week, a series of fiascos.
The week began, as usual, with a tweet. Out of nowhere, Trump announced that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the U. S military. The announcement flabbergasted pretty much everyone, including the guys who actually run the military in the Pentagon. The outrage was immediate, and predictable. TV news and late night comedy easily dug up Trump the candidate saying he was the best friend of the LGBTQRSTUV (sorry, got carried away there) community, revealing yet another layer of his deep hypocrisy. (As an aside, Stephen Colbert on his late night show pounced immediately, of course, and quoted Caitlyn ‘Don’t Call Me Bruce’ Jenner as saying that there are 15,000 transgender people in the military. Actually, most estimates are closer to 1,500 to 6,000.) This tweet should have been enough to satisfy the media for a week, but the Trump White House was just warming up.
On Thursday, the new communication director, Anthony Scaramucci, unleashed a vulgarity-filled attack on his fellow White House workers, in terms so vile that Tony Soprano himself would have considered to be over the line. If you haven’t read it, you can read it here … but it’s not safe for work, or anywhere else for that matter.
Scaramucci would have been fired in any other organization on earth, but the Trump White House is unlike any other organization on earth. As the week ended, Trump fired his chief of staff, the hilariously-named Reince Priebus, replacing him with a former general. Oh, and just in passing, the Republicans failed again to repeal Obamacare, thanks in large part to Sen. John McCain, coming off his sick bed to cast the decisive no vote.
I’m pretty sure there was some other stuff, but who has time to keep up with all the comings and goings in the White House? Not to worry, though … it will all be over in another six months or so.
June Foray, 99, one of the most famous female voices in cartoon history. She was Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Granny from any number of Warner Brothers cartoons, and many others.