In the Canadian election, Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party has unveiled the centrepiece of its platform:
A re-elected Liberal government with expand the Learn To Camp program.
Under the Learn To Camp program, every Canadian will be provided with a tub of boot polish, a novelty turban, a jewel to stick in your belly button, and genie slippers with curly toes, and trained how to swish across a Vancouver ballroom while asking other guests to tally your banana.
Oh, wait, sorry, that was last week's Justin story. In America a ten-minute phone call to some fellow in Kiev is all the pretext you need for two years of multi-million-dollar investigation. But in Canada the news that the Prime Minister has spent half his adult life as the world's wokest mammy singer is just a blip in the day's news cycle, soon to be supplanted by a genuinely eye-catching scandal such as whether or not the Tory leader had a valid license from the Insurance Councils of Saskatchewan or the Canadian Association of Insurance Brokers back in 1997, or 1978, or whenever. You can understand why the Canadian media would rather stampede after the Andrew Scheer scandal: what journalist with a nose for a great red-meat story wouldn't prefer chasing down the officially approved accreditation from the Department of Paperwork's archives than, say, the fruiterer who supplies the Prime Minstrel with his trouser bananas. Was Justin accredited by the Minstrelsy Council of Quebec or the Canadian Association of Burnt Cork Fetishists? Would that make the story more interesting for the CBC et al?
The Toronto Star, like all good government-subsidized Canadian media, has been doing its best to neutralize the mammy songs. The most potentially damaging of the three (so far) blackface incidents is the middle one - a grainy video from the 1990s showing Boy Justin capering about like an ape. So the Star set its crack investigators on the story and tracked down a much better version of the video, and conclusively proved that Tories were misleading the public when they claimed that the Prime Ministrel in blackface, blackarms, blacklegs and blackwhatever-other-appendage was wearing a T-shirt with a banana on it. After all, the banana would imply Justin is a racist who likens black people to monkeys. Whereas prancing around in full-body blackface waving your arms and sticking your tongue out implies no such monkey-like slur.
So the Star's new HD minstrel video is of sufficient quality to show that the banana on the T-shirt is, in fact, the beak of a toucan. Unfortunately, the new video is also of sufficient quality to show that the banana is instead stuffed down Justin's trousers. That risks suggesting the Prime Minstrel is exploiting old white neuroses about the black man's sexual prowess. But don't worry - The Toronto Star is only a day or two away from a full-page exclusive asserting that the Negro, impressive though his endowments be, pales in comparison to the average Quebec high-school drama teacher: When Rastus makes the mistake of appearing on stage next to Justin, he's the one who needs the banana. Not for nothing is Quebec's provincial dialect called joual, derived from cheval, as in horse.
Why are Canada's media prostrating themselves before Justin's Mandingo shtick? Well, because they're minstrels, too, going through the charade of journalism. It started in the first few hours of the scandal with the lockstep agreement on the neologism "brownface", a curious coinage to describe a black-and-white photograph with not a pixel of brown in it. By the evening, commentators were lining up to assure us that the Prime Minstrel was not "racist", merely a man of poor judgment when young (ie, thirty - or older than the woman Paul Wells damns as "hate-clown Faith Goldy"). 2001, we were told, was another era. Oh, come on, don't look so skeptical: Back then, blacks had to ride at the back of the Queen streetcar and sit down the far end at Tim Hortons; on Quebec's poutine plantations an oppressed people would comfort themselves by moaning Negro spirituals such as "Fracking's in De Cold Cold Ground" and "De Bytown Races" ("De Bytown ladies sing this song, oh, doo-dah day, eh?"; and popular vaudeville artistes such as Bryan Adams would routinely black up to sing "Have You Ever Really Loved a Mammy?"
I doubt even the Soviets or Pol Pot in Year Zero or the Taliban after detonating those Buddhist statues would have felt entirely comfortable about such a brazen reconstruction of the day before yesterday. Yet the Prime Minstrel, after his first day-o culpa nosedived into the orchestra pit, returned the following afternoon to adopt the Clintonian defense: Everybody does it. That's why his serial minstrelsy makes an excellent teachable moment, if not for him than for the rest of you racist losers: Who among us can honestly say he never blacked up in the 1980s ...and in the 1990s ...and in the 2000s? Yes, you, Gordie McKinnon of 27B Strathcona Gardens, I'm looking at you. We are all guilty.
As Justin would sing, come, Mister Tallyman, tally how bananas they are: By the second day's "At Issue" panel, the only thing at issue was apparently what the Liberals needed to do to move on from this scandal. Er, hang on, couldn't we first enjoy the scandal per se for a day or two before moving on? I mean, forget about the larger meaning: It's just deeply creepy on its (literal) face. Blackface is called blackface because you black your face: Generally speaking, all other skin is obscured by big floppy ties, white gloves, etc. Not until Justin came along did any minstrel opt to black his trouser-sheathed calves and thighs. That's to say, Justin is blacker than Jolson. That's not a twenty-minutes-before-the-party "Gee, you know what would made this costume even more fun?" whimsy and a scramble for the half-empty jar of Kiwi at the back of the cupboard; that's a trip to Canadian Tire for the biggest bulk purchase of shoe polish they've seen in years. Not a moment of madness, but an elaborate and well planned act.
What does that say about our anointed Blackface Dauphin? The identity-politics left obsesses about race and gender and orientation and non-binary genitalia all day long to a degree that cannot be entirely psychologically healthy. It is not surprising to learn that its most hardcore practitioners require after-hours outlets: The Attorney-General of New York, for example, a "superhero" on race and sex issues according to network rube Samantha Bee, liked to go home after the show and slap around his "brown slave" until she called him "Master". More benignly, the exploitation of tribalism, in Canada as anywhere else, leads all but inevitably to ethnic condescension: I once heard young Justin's wily old predecessor, Jean Chrétien, refer affectionately to his Sikh supporters as "my turbans". Possibly Chrétien's multiple turbans and Trudeau's singular turban are mere degrees of privileged paternal appropriation. Or perhaps my old comrade from The National Post, Raymond De Souza, is right when he posits a more straightforward narcissism: If you're Justin, you're the star and everybody else is a mere prop in your dressup show.
But golly, before the Canadian media "moves on" - indeed, gallops on - couldn't we have contemplated the sheer weirdness of Canada's head of government a while longer? On the election debate stage, he will be the only blackface devotee. Likewise at the G7 summit. And indeed at the G20. And Nato. If I'm not entirely confident about making the same claim of the Commonwealth Conference, it's only because Her Majesty's biennial beano has commanded the presence of some rum coves over the years, but nevertheless I am certain that Justin with his thrice-confessed blackface has worn it more than all the other prime ministers combined.
His splendid isolation, his solitary retro-kinkiness on the eve of the third decade of the twenty-first century, is surely worthy of examination. Instead, my old chum Evan Solomon was too busy interviewing Bernie Farber, frothing away because some supposed Pegida supporters had signed the petition to get Maxime Bernier into the leaders' debates. Hang on, man, you're shilling for The Black & White Minstrel Show's "Because It's 2019" special: micro-aggressions for me, but not even macro-aggressions for thee and thine?
Meanwhile, the CBC instantly came down with the world's most chronic case of post-minstrel syndrome: tedious spinmeisters gaming out how to put the minstrelsy behind. Isn't that a priority for the Liberal Party? And oughtn't the priority for the news media be the actual story? It took an American magazine to break it, and a London broadsheet to track down the shocked eyewitnesses; isn't there any aspect of the actual "news" Canada's government-accredited press corps would like to "report"?
Apparently not. Even now, they'd walk a million miles for one of his smiles (or at least dinner with his consigliere), which is 999,999 miles and 1,759 yards more than they'd walk for one of Andrew Scheer's. It is a few years since I was last interviewed by the CBC's Rosie Barton, but I can't believe some of the halfwitted panels she's presided over in the last fortnight. Now that the Liberals are strongarming Andrew Lawton from all campaign events, what I wouldn't give to see Rosie interviewing the Prime Minstrel just half as forcefully as she interviewed me. Instead, I fear she's pining for Justin to get out the old burnt cork and give her a chorus of ...well, go to 1.16 below:
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, including Mark's take on Quentin Tarantino's latest, a celebration of Johnny Mercer's first great train song, and The Wall Street Journal's view of the US Supreme Court and the Mann vs Steyn case - complete with a choice excerpt of Steyn on stage. If you were too busy ordering extra bananas for Justin's jeans this weekend, we hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week commences.
Programming note: Tonight, Monday, Mark will be on the air with Tucker Carlson, coast to coast across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. We hope you'll tune in.
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