Monday, December 13, 2010

Stephen Harper and Vladimir Putin are Singing From the Same Songbook

Though not exactly musical propaganda, there appears to be an attempt by Harper and Putin to recreate Stalin's "cult of personality", as both of these leaders recently "treated" their flock to a bit of entertainment.

Harper ... hmmmm ... rocked out at his caucus Christmas party, while Putin treated a crowd to his best Fats Domino.
Is there no end to Vladimir Putin’s talents? The Russian Prime Minister already has a reputation as an accomplished fighter-jet pilot and Siberian tiger-hunter, and is a black belt in judo. Now you can add jazz crooner to the list.

The 58-year-old former KGB chief stunned an audience at a charity event on Friday that included Sharon Stone and Kevin Costner with his rendition of Blueberry Hill ...Putin, described as ‘alpha-dog’ in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, is reported to have sung patriotic songs to a group of Russian agents after they were expelled from America in July. But before Friday’s show in St Petersburg, his musical prowess had not been noted. His spokesman said he learned the lyrics to Blueberry Hill as part of his English language studies.
So maybe if Harper learned how to fly fighter-jets, hunt Siberian tiger and gets a black belt in judo, we might not think he was such a doofus.

My favourite political idol performances though, are Jack Layton's Party For Sale or Rent and Bob Rae's Prorogation Song.



  1. But let’s try to see things from Stephen Harper’s perspective. Yes, he abruptly shut down the institutions of our democracy over the holidays for a second straight year. (Once more and it will become a Christmas tradition on par with watching It’s a Wonderful Life and trimming Mike Duffy.) And yes, he didn’t even bother to cross the street to visit the Governor General—he just picked up the phone and ordered the No. 2 from Rideau Hall: prorogation with a side of crazy bread.

    But you have to remember the holidays are a tough time for the Prime Minister. He gets very emotional and cries when he watches How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I mean, seeing the Grinch wuss out like that in the end . . . it gets to a guy. So let’s give the PM the benefit of the doubt and explore his reasons for shutting down Parliament. Surely his decision will then make sense.

    Claim: the government needs to “recalibrate” its agenda.

    This makes perfect sense. It’s New Year’s. We all feel the urge to “recalibrate” our lives. And we all use the powers entrusted in us by centuries of parliamentary convention to take two full months off to do it. (I, for one, am currently vacationing in St. Barts. This column was “written” by an iPhone app.)

    And remember: it takes a formidable amount of time and manpower to embark on an elaborate process to gauge the viewpoints of parliamentarians, stakeholders and experts and synthesize this into an executive analysis that can be ignored when March comes and Harper goes and does what he was going to do all along.

    But government recalibration is about more than fostering the illusion of consultation. The Prime Minister needs time for:

    —Personal recalibration: Harper’s charisma simulator has been offline since 1983. Plus, the charm of his little singsong at the National Arts Centre is starting to wear off. Happily, it’s nothing a travelling one-man musical can’t solve: Stephen Harper is Stephen Harper in So Lifelike I’m Almost Human! (You try and tell MC Hammer you’re not available for breakdance practice because Parliament is in session.)

    —Ministerial recalibration: Harper took so many trips overseas last fall that several of his ministers need to be emasculated all over again. That takes time. And yelling. And, for reasons better left unexplained, puppets.