Iggy on “22 Minutes”

Another attempt to humanize Ignatieff (aka “the John Cusack of Canadian Politics”). Kinda cute, if not that funny.

The behind-the-scenes version can be viewed here.



Filed under Humour, Michael Ignatieff

16 responses to “Iggy on “22 Minutes”

  1. Granny

    RT…that girl is not very funny at the best of times and I heard from a guy who had to carry Cusack luggage etc…in the hotel in Montreal while he was making a movie there that he is a real pr@@k…..I could not believe it because he always seemed so ‘down to earth’ in his movies and seemed to be such a cool guy…..this guy said he was a real ‘diva’…whatever they called men that act like divas….I stumble with words around you RT as I know you are the master….anyways he is an a@@hole…..I think Iggy is doing the best he can as he is out of place and that will make him a good PM..one that does not come out with a lie on the drop of a hat or make up a story for votes…..thats what we are badly in need of in Canada.

  2. Granny — I’m kind of surprised to hear that too, because like you, I figured he was a fairly “normal” guy rather than a spoiled prima dona. But who knows? That’s one guy’s impression…

    As for Iggy, I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt and impute good motives to him. In this particular context it’s always nice when politicians can demonstrate they’re good sports and have a sense of humour. Some regard it as superficial and irrelevant, but I don’t think it’s an altogether unimportant thing. Nobody wants to think their representatives are so detached or lofty they can’t have a bit of fun and be self-deprecating.

    p.s. You don’t have to bowdlerize your comments here. I don’t care if people swear as long as they use it appropriately and don’t go overboard with it.

  3. Navvy

    It’s funny, in every piece I’ve read on Ignatieff, most recently Don Martin’s interview with him, the writer always says he’s passionate, straightforward and seemingly honest. Yet he’s consistently portrayed as aloof, out of touch and full of it and it has hurt him in the polls. Harper, on the otherhand, is disliked by everyone who has ever spoken to him, demonstrably full of shit and openly disdainful of, well, everyone, and Canadians don’t care. Is it just because the bar is so low for him?

  4. Navvy — Odd contradiction that, isn’t it?

    I’d put this test forward to be considered: Ignatieff has written several books about his world view and sometimes controversial opinions out there (within different contexts — a lot of them to do with his own family experiences and their broader implications) and Stephen Harper has… repeatedly claimed he’s writing a book about hockey. A subject he pretends to be something of a “scholar” about, but nonetheless a sport he never actually played because he was too asthmatic. Instead decided to run a lot (which seems a bit counterintuitive for anyone familiar with that ailment… but never mind that weird discrepancy in the official bio…). Of course, the last time he tried going running, he scared the local children around Sussex Drive with his ridiculous security detail and the whole project had to be abandoned.

    At the end of the day these considerations aren’t all that important but they do offer up some insight into the authenticity and human nature of our leaders. Personally, I kind of like the fact that Obama can sink a basketball shot from way out with “nothing but air” (or for that matter, throw a gutter ball while bowling and laugh about it).

    It’s a dismal media trope, I know, but there’s something to be said for showing some spark of human life beyond the façade of power.

  5. jkg

    The problem is that the narrative set out for Ignatieff crosses partisan lines; the social democrats are expressing their disdain as well. This results in a self-reinforcing feedback system with the media operating as a major catalyst. For example, as of right now, the Harper Government is mired in imbroglios that, should they have happened in the waning years of the Liberals, would have drawn far more ire. The difference is that alongside logos on cheques, Ignatieff’s mistakes as Liberal leader are under a lot of exposure and scrutiny. This almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ignatieff must preoccupy himself with his poor yet somewhat exogenously determined image; this will make any misstep or party misfortune far more injurious in this context and dilutes any attempt at his role as HMOO. Then, in light of the Harper government’s blunders, it places more downward pressure on Iggy because he is now feeble in the eyes of the electorate.

    Similar patterns like this have happened before with other leaders of the opposition. People made mincemeat out of Stockwell Day, though somehow I always thought that wasn’t too difficult. In all these cases, it illustrates one point: A leader must control his or her image from the beginning because as soon as detractors are able to define even the initial frame of references, you are screwed. The “Just Visiting” ads defined Iggy from the beginning, and it forms the basis from which a lot of people evaluate him.

    It is rather a paradox, on the one hand, political maneuvering that borders on the Machiavellian is derided as power hungry, a meme that has stuck with Liberals, yet on the other, any failure of that is considered to be a flaw or weakness. Further, the success that the CPC machine has earned from employing very analogous tactics go unexamined and sometimes applauded because they are successful (though in the latter case, most of those people are probably cheerleaders for the CPC).

    In any case, Ignatieff has failed thus far in pushing back against this and bypassing it convincing the electorate of his abilities and the Liberal party. I hope he is in it for the long haul because it will look like a good couple of years; that is, of course, the Harper government doesn’t do anything extremely underhanded and stupid…

  6. JKG — I’m going to stand by the contention that the poll results at the moment are not so much a reflection on Ignatieff (or Harper… or Layton for that matter) as they are simply a reflection of apathy, disinterest and a widely shared aversion to the prospect of another election amongst the public at large. In other words, it’s more an affirmation of the present status quo than anything else.

    There are no terribly salient or contentious issues on the table at the moment. Certainly the economy is foremost in everyone’s mind, but things are shitty all over, so while its front and centre it doesn’t really count. Besides, there are mixed signals on that score with some signs of recovery, and I’d suggest that the majority of people are willing to give the Conservatives’ “Action Plan” (that was urged on by the Opposition parties) a bit more time to fully work through the system in order to come to fruition and see if it’s performing as promised.

    The window of opportunity for an election this year has already come and gone, so forget about that. It’s generally recognized that Ignatieff’s ploy to vote down the government at every opportunity was just posturing more than anything else — essentially, just repositioning himself and putting some daylight between the Libs and the Cons for a future showdown. As I’ve said before… maybe a wise strategy to build up a degree of credibility when it comes to differentiating the two parties.

    In politics, as with everything else in life, patience is a virtue and the phony panic over Ignatieff’s leadership position just because the Libs are lagging in the polls at the moment is overblown. That’s just media agitation.

    How about we get some actual policy positions on the table before worrying about who is going to be the person to front them? I’m more interested in the cart than the horse pulling it. So far, there isn’t much and there’s a case to be made for just sniping at the Conservatives for the next long while if one accepts the premise that an election isn’t a desirable thing.

    So fine… keep taking pot-shots, carping, whining, and being bothersome pests… all the stuff Opposition parties are supposed to do in making life generally miserable for the government of the day. “Keeping them honest” as some like to style it. If the polls are in the doldrums through that process, oh well… it doesn’t really matter. Popular support comes and goes. Besides, a lot of polling is bullshit anyway.

    What’s more important for the Liberals is to fix their base, improve fundraising efforts, craft a solid platform and agenda… work on how they plan to frame that and sell it to the public, then attempt to either come to terms with those not on board, or simply purge them from the caucus. In most cases pragmatic compromises can be made. Sheesh! It’s not rocket science.

  7. Omar

    which seems a bit counterintuitive for anyone familiar with that ailment…

    As a life long asthmatic I can tell you that physical exercise often produces no adverse disease symptoms as the exertion generated will produce adrenaline that opens up the bronchial tubes. I’ve always been amazed that I can play a couple of hours of tennis without any complication whatsoever, but a simple sneeze can tighten my chest and restrict my breathing. I remember having asthma attacks as a kid being rushed to hospital for a shot of adrenaline (no rescue inhalers in those days!) to basically produce the same result.

  8. Omar — That’s interesting. Guess it’s one of those “your mileage may vary” things.

  9. Omar

    I think so. Over the past ten years or so, weighing less, exercising more and quitting smoking all led to my basically living a life without relying on medication for my asthma. Although for H1N1 preparation (i’m not taking the vaccine) I have been taking Advair (inhaled steroid) for about the past 6 weeks. If my experiment fails I’ll attempt contact from beyond. 😉

  10. Not taking the vaccine either. To be honest, I’ve always quite enjoyed the symptoms of influenza, especially those weird chills, fevers and aching, shuddering bodily sensations. Certainly much better than a common cold which is just dreary, snotty and generally awful. I’m betting this new strain won’t kill me, but if it does that certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world. Well, for me, maybe… but that’s the way it goes. Easy come — easy go.

  11. jkg

    a reflection of apathy, disinterest and a widely shared aversion to the prospect of another election amongst the public at large. In other words, it’s more an affirmation of the present status quo than anything else.

    That is what I am curious about, especially given the slide in the Liberal poll results. If they are not informative of the individual performance of any party leader, what explains the widening between the Conservatives and the Liberals? I would like to chalk it up to the general weltschmerz as well, but I cannot discount the fact that there is a lot of attention towards the misfortunes and challenges facing the Ignatieff and the Liberals and that might be just be simply oppourtunistic timing on part of the media, as you say. I suppose this is because there is nothing else contentious and as you say, the economy is altogether bad so collectively people are not extremely concerned, just lethargic and mildy morose.

    What’s more important for the Liberals is to fix their base, improve fundraising efforts, craft a solid platform and agenda

    That is why I hope this “Not a Leader: Iggy Edition” meme starts to wear out and the poll results are as transitory as you surmise. It is clear the Liberals need to have substantial time to rebuild and look inward while still being in opposition. Right now, it is a Morton’s Fork of sorts because if Iggy goes on the attack, he will be lambasted for not developing policy but if he decides to develop policy, he will be criticized for not opposing enough.

    I just wonder if the Liberals decide to play the waiting game, they will continue to be eroded by negative popular sentiment that is being made to spill over. It is bad enough that the Liberals’ popularity are near or under Dion’s levels.

  12. Omar

    There likely is no more unhealthy place to be than in a lineup of hundreds of stressed out strangers waiting for hours on end to get a vaccine for health protection. File H1N1 under the Avian flu and SARS scares that really, for all intents and purposes, amounted to nothing. As Charles Barkley would say, “I could be wrong, but I doubt it”.

  13. JKG — I’d suggest that the widening gap can be attributed to the weltschmerz you and I both alluded to, which as I interpret it is simply an entrenchment and hunkering down for the moment — a “wait and see” sentiment to sit on our collective hands for the time being. It’s a cautious vote of confidence on the part of people in the present arrangement, so naturally free-floating independents are going to slide their stated support to the Conservative side of the dial for now and quite probably park it there for the winter. (So chill out, Libs… cool your jets for a while.)

    Fact of the matter is that there’s always a base of 25% between the Cons and Libs, with 15% for the NDP and 10% for the Greens (aka, none of the above). Factor in another 25% that are frequently “undecided” and/or “independent” you’ve got the whole mix there. So the numbers shift around a bit this way and that — the entrails aren’t that difficult to figure out. Again, polling isn’t exactly rocket science.

    Is there disaffection with Ignatieff? Well, he’s not exactly a charm-magnet, but then neither is Harper, so we need to put these things in perspective. If I was polling, I’d always balance it off with a “Do you even give a shit?” question to provide a more realistic frame of reference.

  14. jkg

    I’d always balance it off with a “Do you even give a shit?” question to provide a more realistic frame of reference

    LOL! I can just see it now on the next At Issue Panel with Mansbridge’s sultry voice “Now, according to the polls, the Conservatives are in a major lead, but after controlling for the “Fuck this shit,” it appears they are in a dead heat with the rest of the parties. Thoughts Allan Gregg?”

  15. Omar — I don’t have the time or patience to wait for hours in line for a flu shot of dubious efficacy to prevent an infection that by all accounts is no worse than the usual annual round of viral influenzas from the Orient. Besides, last year, something like 2,500 people here in B.C. died of “normal” flu, so I don’t see what all the panic is about.

    My daughter was telling me that when she came back from the gym, they were giving it out at the nearby mall and people were lined up outside the building. Ridiculous. On the news they were saying that in Toronto they apparently had to shut down places dispensing it because they were overwhelmed and ran out of doses.

  16. On the swine ‘flu vaccine: As an asthmatic, I’m going to get it. My reading suggests that a) this is more virulent than the usual flu and b) if not for myself, then I should get it to protect people around me.

    On the polls. I agree that disaffection is the major cause. However, there’s another. Simply the fact that no party is providing a credible alternative to the godawful hacks currently in charge.

    A clear and definite platform that provided visible options to current policy would do a tremendous amount for the Liberals, particularly in areas such as the environment.

    Instead, they’re set up as “Tory-lite.” When the question is asked “what would you do differently,” the response seems to be “Just what the conservaitves are doing, but more.”

    The NDP can afford to present strong alternatives because they’ll likely never have to live up to them. And the Bloq … is the Bloq.

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