The celebrity of Justin Trudeau
On September 22, 2013, I was doing what most mid-20s males do on a Sunday evening—navigating the internet for cat videos. I happened to be reading through posts on my Twitter feed from disgruntled unpaid interns and Apple fanboys culturally obligated to fork over their worldly possessions to obtain the newest iPhone.
Being somewhat of a political junkie, my Twitter feed is often dominated by pundits and politicians who are keen on sharing the latest exploits of both party and power. It was not out of the ordinary to find MP Carolyn Bennett retweeting messages sent from Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s Twitter account. What was most unusual was the content of his message.
In what can only be described as a cheap marketing ploy the Liberal Leader had tweeted about a contest to win a dinner with the burgeoning celebrity politician.
I found this message odd. In step with an era where MTV has forgone music videos in favour of reality shows—and the once-elusive 15 minutes of fame is within reach to anyone with access to a smartphone and the internet—the Liberal Leader has seemingly chosen to cheapen his party and himself.
Of course, a certain demographic of Canadian mothers have jumped at this opportunity like a fish to water The chance to rub hands with the Liberal’s dreamy last-resort-leader is akin to throwing a bone to a malnourished pit bull.
Something seems condescending about winning the opportunity to eat with Trudeau. In a time where the Occupy movement has made an international point of the fiscal woes of a diminishing middle class, escalating youth unemployment, and our cultural aptness to incur increasing amounts of debt, it seems somewhat demeaning to offer supporters merely a chance to shoot the shit and eat some ribs.
Let me be clear, the contests winner is not obligated to eat ribs. According to the contest rules published on the contest’s official webpage, the grand prize is a BBQ dinner with Justin and four guests of the winner’s choosing. The estimated value of the prize: $999 CAD. Reading through the contest rules and regulations gave me vivid flashbacks of watching contestants on the Price is Right duke it out over the retail value of toasters.
I’m not opposed to fundraising efforts made by any political party. I am opposed to fundraising efforts that completely miss the mark. Fundraising efforts should coincide with the promotion of a party’s priorities and not on its star power. The web page fails to mention any of Trudeau’s political priorities. Not a single political point is mentioned! The ordeal boasts an air of elitism best captured by American celebrity culture.
Political fundraising ought to be deeply rooted in the merits of one’s of political vision. By focusing on Justin’s celebrity, we cheapen the political process by prioritizing party purses over broad constituency engagement.
In either case, I hope I can share these views with Justin. Perhaps we could chat over BBQ.