For a man who inherited both wealth and celebrity, it is surprising how easily Justin Trudeau can be mesmerized by the rich and famous. It appears that his highest aspiration is to become part of that bright but vacuous fraternity.
Politicians are usually strident to listen to, even though they use many of the techniques employed by entertainers: they are always willing to perform, always keen to promote their own interests, and once the cameras are on, they are impervious to embarrassment and indifferent to grace.
Trevor Noah, the host of the U.S. satirical news program, “The Daily Show”, was invited recently to host the Global Citizen Festival 2018 in Johannesburg South Africa, where Noah was born and raised before moving to the U.S.
When hosting the December 2 event, Trudeau texted Noah with a pledge of $50 million to “Education Cannot Wait,” which provides education for women and girls around the world
Global Citizen Festival 2018, presented a lineup of heads of state, and more importantly for Trudeau, a stellar lineup of international celebrities, to mark the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
The festival’s objectives were to promote Mandela’s legacy by having countries and organizations commit to making substantial contributions to education and eradicating poverty around the world. Laudable objectives to be sure but something that could be done without the celebrity fanfare.
But like the proverbial moth drawn to the flame, Trudeau cannot resist the allure of celebrity fanfare and the outcome is as detrimental politically for him as the moth touching its wings on the mortal flame.
Even Trevor Noah, a relatively low-wattage celebrity, can tempt Trudeau to get in on the act, to let his guard down while offering a giddy, premature familiarity and hyped-up show business camaraderie.
In such brightly lit environments, Trudeau loses all discretion, often acting in a way that defies comprehension.
And this instance with Trevor Noah is a perfect example of a lapse in judgment, where the prime minister discusses foreign policy and unveils international aid over twitter.
“Hey @Trevornoah – thanks for everything you’re doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can’t be with you – but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women and girls around the world? Work for you? Let’s do it.”
This kind of hipster parlance, “Work for you Trevor, let’s you and me do this,” isn’t worthy of a prime minister and in this instance Trudeau squandered Canada’s moral capital in relation to Donald Trump, as in one clean sweep he surpassed Trump as the Twitterverse biggest buffoon.
Trudeau has been rightly criticized for behaving as if the pledge of $50 million was an act of his personal largesse and not that of all Canadians.
Ironically, he is also being ridiculed for appearing spontaneous when this $50 million piece of performance art was totally contrived as the pledge of $50 million was already established.