I’m not a psychoanalyst, but I can say with some confidence that the recent spate of Conservative party attack ads, trying to position Justin Trudeau as some dandy whose wrists are too delicate to prop up the weight of Canada’s mighty economy (“…in over his head”, in their words), are part of a rich, dumb tradition of asserting masculinity in politics. The most recent ad, which ran last week on radio stations across the country, goes as follows:
Note the pregnant pause, as the voiceover really lays into that “thinks he was…born to be prime minister”, as if to suggest Justin Trudeau is infantile and entitled. The quote they pull from him is so blatantly designed to paint him as privileged and (by association) feminine (?), that the little pixie-dust sound effect they use is kind of redundant. Alas, the Conservative Party of Canada isn’t known for its tact, and it’s in the party’s best interest to use base signifiers like pixie-dust and pregnant pauses to communicate some sort of feminine inability—the less nuanced the debate is, the more likely the party’s voter base is to make a knee-jerk opinion about the young Trudeau.
But why, why all this emasculation? Who’s Justin Trudeau but a young, attractive (as far as Canadian politics goes), affable, well-spoken fella with a pedigree and name that’s still darling to the Canadian public? Ah, I see, I see.
Given the blatancy with which the Conservative Party is advertising itself, I would like to propose an idea. Do away with all this fancy “radio” stuff, and these large complicated concepts like “economics” and “job creation” and really cut to the kernel of this whole ad campaign.
For the consideration of the Conservative Party of Canada, a children’s book—Stephen Harper and the Damsel Economy, a Pop-up.
Let’s open it up and take a look, shall we?
See Stephen Harper ride an ATV.
See Stephen Harper play hockey.
See Stephen Harper drink a Guinness.
See Stephen Harper drink an Alexander Keith’s.
Drink, Stephen Harper, drink.
See Stephen Harper drill into something with a power tool.
See Stephen Harper take aim at something with his rifle.
It’s plain as day: Stephen Harper is a masculine man!
A masculine man is necessary to balance the economy.
Stephen Harper’s opponent, Justin Trudeau, is encircled by some kind of fairy dust, and is therefore not a masculine man.
Stephen Harper is just the kind of masculine man Canada needs to save its fragile, coquettish economy.