Sunday, April 08, 2007

Today's CBC silliness:Justin Time

The CBC web site has two pictures of federal Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau in his role of Talbot Papineau in the Copse's show about Vimy. I know the story of Talbot Papineau, the bi-cultural scion of one of Quebec's great familes (He was descended from the family of rebel leader Louis-Joseph Papineau and was closely related to Quebec natinalist Henri Bourassa). Talbot Papineau, who was killed in the Paschendaele battle, was believed to have a great future ahead of him. He was viewed by some people of is day, and after his death, as possible Prime Minister material, a sort of French Canadian Willy King.
I don't know why the CBC cast Trudeau in this role. Maybe they couldn't find a real actor. Was Ben Mulroney not interested? Perhaps they thought the Trudeau name would generate some public interest in the film. I suspect, though, the producers believe history may sort of repeat itself. Trudeau II, I suspect, sees himself as sort of a Talbot Papineau, except for the part where he has a close encounter with an artillery shell. Or perhaps not. Maybe he just did it for fun. It's hard to know how much Trudeau nostaligia is cultivated by Justin, and how much of it is thrust upon him by people who can't imagine life without Pierre Trudeau and need a new Pierre.
The whole thing is icky. Talbot Papineau deserved to have his part played straight. Trudeau, who could be on the campaign trail in a couple of weeks -- and whose political ambitions were certainly no secret to the folks at CBC -- gets exposure that few other candidates get. And the CBC continues its slavish worship of all things Trudeau, linking the Trudeau name to Vimy.
There's a picture of Trudeau II on the CBC web site illustrating a section on descendants of Vimy soldiers. Trudeau II didn't have ancestors at Vimy. But those little connections eventually get hard-wired into the public mind. Justin Trudeau the War Hero... now, there's an image I thought I'd never see.

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