Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Political Distractions

Canadians can't help but notice what happens south of the border. As our rockstar Prime Minister, Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, famously told them:

“Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping 
with an elephant. No matter how friendly and 
even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, 
one is affected by every twitch and grunt” 

Canada has spent so much of its existence defining itself as "NOT American" that it is often difficult to define what we are. In fact, defining ourselves has become a bit of an entertaining national pastime. 

There have been beer commercials:





Music videos:





Comedy sketches:





Even t-shirts! But I'm not wearing one of those ones today.



Today's shirt was a fundraiser/promotional shirt for an event run during the US midterm campaigns in 2010. Not run by any political contenders (although I'm pretty sure they'd win by a landslide if they ever chose to run) but by the comedians, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Jon Stewart's The Daily Show (really needs no introduction but anyway... ) is a comedic news broadcast, drawing from timely real world events while The Colbert Report presents as a right-wing pundit show with Stephen Colbert playing/satirizing the Bill O'Reilly-type conservative anchorman personality.

Together, Stewart and Colbert hosted their respective "Rally to Restore Sanity" and "March to Keep Fear Alive". At the same time. At the same venue. With the same audience. According to the Wiki, over 200,000 attended while over 2 million watched the live broadcast on Comedy Central. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the world got their American news updates from Comedy Central these days.

**self-edit** I originally digressed at this point into a long-winded musing on the state of Canadian and American politics and government. In revising, I realized that I'm as guilty of talking/typing out of my butt as the next blogger and have decided to stick to stuff I feel more confident expounding on: TV.



This summer USA Network ran a mini-series called "Political Animals" starring Sigourney Weaver as a Hilary Clinton-esque character in a fictional Democratic administration. Great cast, clever writing, some really creative plot twists. The timing of the production, above all, was phenomenal. What a way to spark the collective imagination! What red-blooded American wouldn't want to see Ellen Ripley kicking butt and taking names in a perfectly tailored suit?  Meanwhile, the Bill Clinton-esque character was superbly executed as "Bud" a philandering, beloved former two-term president (played by CiarĂ¡n Hinds who is cropping up EVERYWHERE these days) and Chelsea got re-imagined as twin sons - one, an overachiever who runs his mother's campaign and the other, a troubled, openly gay dreamer. Throw in a journalist with her own personal politics to maneuver and shenanigans abound.  My main criticism about "Political Animals" is probably that it was a little heavy-handed pitting Berg against her younger, scary-pretty, co-worker/counterpart once again making the point that women just can't get along in the workplace.

The series ended on a real cliff-hanger and I was looking forward to a second series but word is that they are currently "on the bubble" which is disappointing.

So yeah, today in a nut-shell: Canada has a sense of humour about itself; Comedy Central is tops in the news business; I can't write coherently about politics; and Sigourney Weaver would be an awesome president.

Peace out.