The commentariat from time to time like to make comparisons and draw parallels between politicians and fictional characters to illuminate on the personality of the public figures. However, in the case of Justin Trudeau the two types of fictional characters commonly linked to the prime minister by pundits have woefully missed the mark.
A couple months after the last election, former National Post columnist and now Prime Minister’s Office staffer Michael Den Tandt mused about which Star Wars character Justin Trudeau was in his “Sunny Ways v. the Darkside”. In the hagiographic puff piece–published in The Walrus, a magazine and registered charity heavily connected to the Liberal Party of Canada no less–Den Tandt suggested Justin Trudeau is a heroic martyr the likes of “…Star Wars, not to mention the narrative spine in the mythologies of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, Joshua, King David, Osiris, Superman, Joan of Arc, [and] King Arthur…”
Many pundits have been sculpting elevated Augustus statues of Trudeau column after column, but this deification took a gigantic leap of faith and logic to accomplish, turning a blind eye to the real man’s scant accomplishments and work ethic in the past before seeking Canada’s highest office. But just as absurd as the comparison of Luke Skywalker to Justin was, even more absurd was right-wing provocateur and journalist Ezra Levant’s dull hatchet job in his weak linking of Trudeau to Derek Zoolander. In the movie Zoolander (2001), Ben Stiller plays a moronic model who is “really, really ridiculously good-looking.” Other than their supposedly Adonis-like good looks and love for the camera and fame, Trudeau and Zoolander have very little in common. Trudeau obviously demonstrates high emotional intelligence, political savviness, and–errr–umm–ahh–some charisma. Zoolander’s simply a pinhead.
As the struggling and beholden-to-Trudeau Canadian media continue to generally lionize our PM as they beg for a $350 million bailout, many Millennials continue to fall for Trudeau’s cheap charm and cliches while he sells out our futures with crippling national debt. Fortunately there’s a character from our generation’s formative years bearing a striking resemblance to our PM who will likely resonate with younger readers, hopefully enlightening (red pilling, awakening, etc.) them on Trudeau’s true character. Weaving together this fictional character’s uncanny likeness to Trudeau should help cut through the sheer phoniness of the current narrative of cheery Trudeaupia, revealing an underlying cautionary tale of charming deceit.
J.K. Rowling’s second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, has an infamous main character called Gilderoy Lockhart. The narcissism and arrogance of Lockhart leads to the over-confident charlatan placing others in danger because of his own ego and ignorance. Lockhart is figuratively and practically Trudeau’s doppelganger. In honour of Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary since Rowling first lit a fire in the imagination of millions, let’s look at how one of Rowling’s magical and memorable characters mirrors the Canadian PM. I’m sure Trudeau will appreciate the comparison, after all he is a huge fan of fantasy worlds.
First, on a superficial, appearance level these two dandies are cut from the exact same colourful cloth. Trudeau loves showing off his snazzy socks. Lockhart loves strutting around in his flashy robes. Trudeau showing off Star Wars socks. Lockhart donning “forget-me-not blue” robes. Trudeau wears rainbow socks. Lockhart wears “robes of aquamarine.” Trudeau in pink Nato socks. Gilderoy in “sweeping robes of turquoise.” Trudeau in yellow skulls and crossbones socks with purple backgrounds. “Gilderoy Lockhart, wearing robes of palest mauve today, came striding out.” Justin Trudeau striding out on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan pulling up his pants to show off red and white maple leaf socks, later holding up gifted Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest socks. “…Gilderoy Lockhart was walking onto the stage, resplendent in robes of deep plum…” Trudeau showing off tone-deaf and mismatching Pride- and Ramadan-themed socks. Lockhart wearing “lurid pink robes” for his tone-deaf Valentine’s celebration.
Adding to their foppishness, both Trudeau and Lockhart flash pearly white smiles constantly and have immaculate wavy dos they make way too much ado over. In Rowling’s second book Lockhart is constantly referenced as caring a lot about hair: “Harry saw several of the Lockharts in the pictures dodging out of sight, their hair in rollers,” and “… but Miss Hermione Granger knew my secret ambition is to rid the world of evil and market my own range of hair-care potions…”
Trudeau similarly takes great thought and care for how each lock of hair on his head is placed. The media have even taken a deep interest in his personal hair stylist and “much-envied mane.”
Of course, being two dandies, the cameras love them and they love the cameras.
Shortly after being elected PM, Trudeau went and did a photo shoot with Vanity Fair. Trudeau constantly basks in the limelight, doing vapid interview and photoshoot after vapid interview and photoshoot: Yes Theory, Vox, LIVE with Kelly and Ryan, BuzzFeed, Maclean’s, VANCITY BUZZ and Facebook, The Daily Show, GQ, and SKY (Delta airline) to name a few.
In some of these vacuous appearances Trudeau takes vapid quizzes answering questions like “Sunrise or sunset?”; “First line of poetry that comes to mind”; and “Best gift you’ve ever given?”
In Lockhart’s first class he gives out a pop quiz to students with questions like “What is Gilderoy Lockhart’s favourite colour?; “What is Gilderoy Lockhart’s secret ambition?”; and “What, in your opinion, is Gilderoy Lockhart’s greatest achievement to date?”
(Thank you to the video-editing wizardry of my friend Aaleya Waslat, Instagram @aaaleya)
Trudeau also can’t resist taking selfies with adoring fans, no matter the occasion. At the funeral of former finance minister Jim Flaherty Trudeau thought it was appropriate to take a selfie at the somber occasion. Trudeau defends the constant selfies under the pretense he’s engaging with everyday Canadians, but obviously it’s superficial engagement and a great marketing ploy for himself. Every time Trudeau takes selfies with groups of Canadians they share the pictures with their hundreds/thousands of friends (voters) on social media, building the PM’s brand of being a supposedly down-to-earth guy who cares about everyday Canadians. All it takes for the PM is a hello, smile, and click. Trudeau also has his own personal photographer–almost like Colin Creevey stalking Harry Potter with his camera, except Trudeau revels in it–shadowing him and staging pictures like the “photobombing” of a prom in Vancouver or having the Globe and Mail take a picture of Trudeau’s photographer taking a picture of Trudeau signing a picture of himself. (In the movie version of the second book, Lockhart in the flesh can be seen standing in front of a picture of himself painting a picture of himself.)
Then there are the actual photobombs of weddings, etc.
Trudeau also clearly likes to rub elbows with other celebrities to gain more star power. In Davos he hung out with Bono and Kevin Spacey. Perhaps Trudeau personally requested his rock-star friend headline on Canada Day instead of a Canadian act so they could be seen hanging out again. Then there are also the New York City appearances, like the picture-only availability for a workout at a boxing gym.
Furthermore, when events should be about others, Trudeau has a knack for making it all about himself. The last two Pride parades in Toronto have been all about how Trudeau attended. A terminally ill Gord Downie’s last concert became a photoshoot for Trudeau. The last press gallery dinner Trudeau was outshone by the new CPC leader Andrew Scheer, so he ran up to shake hands at the end of Scheer’s speech in a desperate attempt to get the spotlight back on himself. Many of Trudeau’s jokes at the dinner fell flat–like ironically saying Scheer would turn the Conservative’s colour from blue to beige–because when someone is so self-conceited and cocky they don’t come across as funny. The scene is very similar to a cocksure Lockhart underestimating his opponent and “assistant” Professor Snape only to be bested and knocked over during a combat demonstration for his new dueling club. Bet on a narcissistic Trudeau trying to make tomorrow’s Canada 150 celebrations all about himself as well.
Lockhart similarly has an insatiable hunger for publicity and being the center of attention. When Lockhart spots the famous Harry Potter walk into his book signing he has Potter dragged up to the front so he can have himself photographed next to The Boy Who Lived for the Daily Prophet:
“‘Nice big smile, Harry,’ said Lockhart, through his own gleaming teeth. ‘Together, you and I are worth the front page.’”
Lockhart also loves jumping into photos. When he sees a fan of Potter’s snapping shots he butts in.
“‘Come on then, Mr Creevey,’ said Lockhart, beaming at Colin. ‘A double portrait, can’t say fairer than that, and we’ll both sign it for you.’”
At the beginning of the book Mr. Weasley and Lucius Malfoy get into a brawl. Instead of being appalled, Lockhart is excited about the possibility of extra publicity. “‘He was pleased,’ said Fred. ‘Didn’t you hear him as we were leaving? He was asking that bloke from the Daily Prophet if he’d be able to work the fight into his report — said it was all about publicity.’”
Lockhart similarly fancies himself a comedian, but his self-inflated ego and humble brags fall flat as well.
“‘Me,’ he said, pointing at it and winking as well, ‘Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, third class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defence League and five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award — but I don’t talk about that. I didn’t get rid of the Bandon banshee by smiling at her!’
He waited for them to laugh; a few people smiled weakly.”
When Potter has to do detention, Lockhart insists his punishment be helping him answer his fan mail. During the detention Lockhart lectures Potter on fame, “Fame is a fickle friend, Harry.”
During tragedy Lockhart also tries to make it all about himself. When the caretaker’s cat is petrified, Lockhart suggests they go to his office and wants to be the hero. “Lockhart, looking excited and important, hurried after Dumbledore.”
Both Trudeau and Lockhart obviously don’t let their fame go to their pretty heads; Both enjoy “prattling” on about their greatness and fans.
Lockhart: “He and his school fellows will, in fact, be getting the real, magical me.”
Trudeau: “I talk about how I’m a feminist as often as I can. And every time I do, it gets huge reaction. And media reacts and the Twitterverse explodes–and things like that–because here I am saying ‘I’m a feminist.'” (Vox interview)
Lockhart: “I know, it’s not quite as good as winning Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award five times in a row, as I have — but it’s a start, Harry, it’s a start.”
Trudeau: “It was like–I came in and the woman who was in–who I took the picture with–recognized me, but the one who was taking it didn’t. So I sorta smiled, she took the picture right away and I kept walking and counted down in my head, ‘Three, two, one,’ and I heard ‘Oh my god!'” (CBC’s “Face to face with the Prime Minister”)
Beyond Trudeau and Lockhart having haberdash and balderdash in common, the similarities only multiply when looking even closer at the two. Both were briefly teachers of English and drama. Although Lockhart is officially the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, after his initial lesson goes disastrous he spends the rest of the school year reading from his books and getting Harry to re-enact Lockhart’s stolen tales of heroism.
“Since the disastrous episode of the pixies, Professor Lockhart had not brought live creatures to class. Instead, he read passages from his books to them and sometimes re-enacted some of the more dramatic bits. He usually picked Harry to help him with these reconstructions; so far, Harry had been forced to play a simple Transylvanian villager whom Lockhart had cured of a Babbling Curse, a yeti a head-cold and a vampire who had been unable to eat anything except lettuce since Lockhart had dealt with him.”
For those unfamiliar with Trudeau’s bio, he spent a few years teaching English and drama in British Columbia.
Both Lockhart and Trudeau use their talents in storytelling and acting to embellish and inflate their own past credentials.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Lockhart incessantly cites his “autobiography” Magical Me. The opening scene introducing Lockhart is of him peacocking at his book tour. The irony of his autobiography’s title is that Lockhart isn’t all that magical, constantly misfiring and miscasting spells throughout Rowling’s book. On top of this, it’s later revealed Lockhart stole and took credit for others’ work and heroics.
Similarly, while Trudeau was running to become PM, he released his own “autobiography” Common Ground. The irony of the title is that Trudeau has lived a life of incredible privilege and affluence, having nothing in common with the middle class he purports to be relating to and championing. Most of the book spends time puffing up his relatively mediocre c.v. and discussing his experience travelling across Canada. Even the cheer-leading Althia Raj admits Trudeau’s credentials are pretty thin in her biography of the PM: “camp counsellor, white water rafting instructor, bungee jumping coach, snowboarding instructor, bouncer, high school teacher, radio host, engineer school dropout, grad school dropout, not-for-profit administrator, public speaker, member of parliament.” Although Trudeau has graced much of the ground across Canada (something most Canadians don’t have the luxury of doing) where everyday Canadians live, Trudeau in all other respects is on a different planet than the average citizen. Adding to the parallel with Lockhart, Trudeau on his book tour takes full credit for his autobiography, “I worked and reworked and I wrote–and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always loved writing. I’m proud that every word in there is mine and in my voice.”
But a Toronto Star article tells a different story: “The actual writing of the book was a group effort. Trudeau sat down with various interviewers (including the National Post’s Jonathan Kay), and then the taped recollections were sorted by editors and advisers. Once all the stories were woven together, Trudeau himself grabbed ‘stolen hours’ on weekends or at the end of workdays to put the manuscript into his own voice.”
The likeness only becomes more uncanny from there. According to Fandom, Lockhart had “tremendous ability, and he was cleverer than most of his classmates, but he had a bad flaw in that he would not try unless he was the very best.” His bio also reveals that Lockhart also planned to be Minister of Magic (the wizarding world’s equivalent to PM).
In Common Ground Trudeau explains his bouts of academic laziness and failures on his own aversion to put forward effort unless he was perfect.
“But at the same time, I knew that I did face a real challenge: I was stuck with a mildly crippling form of perfectionism, as in the phrase ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good.’ A light panic gripped me whenever I sat staring at a blank page. … I chose not to try nearly as hard, so why should anyone be surprised when my marks failed to match [my father’s]?”
After receiving degrees in English literature and teaching, Trudeau would later drop out of engineering program and a master’s program in environmental geography. Yet Trudeau maintains he’s still brilliant without having to try.
“I knew I was more than capable. Whenever I took a high-stakes one-off standardized test, such as the ones administered by Brebeuf to new applicants, the results were top-notch. On the SATs I took in my last year of high school, I scored 1400, putting me in the top 5 percent. This was good enough to get me into arts at McGill, despite my erratic grades. A few years later, when, mostly on a lark, I sat for the Law School Admission Test, I cleared the ninety-eighth percentile.”
The humblebrags carry throughout, all the way to the end in Trudeau’s acknowledgements: “They were all extremely patient about working around the craziness of my schedule and adjusting to the impossible pace I keep.”
Lockhart is equally grounded.
“I was a Seeker too. I was asked to try for the National Squad, but preferred to dedicate my life to the eradication of the Dark Forces. Still, if ever you feel the need for a little private training, don’t hesitate to ask. Always happy to pass on my expertise to less able players…”
What adds to the hilarity is that both Lockhart and Trudeau are not really experts at anything except being celebrities, yet they feel the need to vaingloriously retell stories about themselves and lecture seasoned professionals on their fields of expertise as if the cocksure amateurs are the experts’ betters.
Trudeau, before becoming a politician (and after), was a professional public speaker. For thousands or tens of thousands dollars Trudeau would be paid to speak at events hosted by charities and school associations about his “expertise” in teaching and the environment. Many times he would be speaking to teaching professionals with decades of experience, meanwhile he only had a few years experience himself. As for the environment, Trudeau only studied the subject for a year, yet he felt comfortable taking money to lecture others on the subject.
Lockhart, throughout Rowling’s second novel, gives unsolicited advice to other teachers on their subjects. Lockhart tells the potions teacher how to make potions. He tells the Herbology teacher how to plant mandrakes. He tells Hagrid how to do his groundskeeper job.
Once Trudeau became Canada’s PM he has continued to go to summits and conferences lecturing on subjects he likely knows very little about, especially in comparison to his audience. It’s kind of ridiculous for Trudeau to take the stage to lecture business leaders and economist as if he’s a wiz on the subject.
So how do these dandies get away with their phony pretentiousness?
They both use charm to distract from their ineptitude and flaws.
Lockhart uses his wand to cast memory charms on real heroes to wipe their memories of their daring feats, then publishes books appropriating their stories.
Trudeau uses the media to cast memory charms on the public. The fawning media publish puff piece after puff piece about him. Much of those in media are partial to Trudeau because of the promised money he is pouring into their industry that’s in flux. He also grooms journalists for lucrative PMO jobs, ensuring they’ll be on their best behaviour. As the saying goes, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” And boy is the tune cheery. When Trudeau remembers lines about quantum computing and tells reporters he really hopes someone asks him about it before a press conference, and then recites his rote explanation about it instead of answering a reporter’s actual question, the seals clap and report the staged publicity stunt as if it was spontaneous brilliance. The media are fixated down on what Trudeau wears on his feet than up where he’s placed them.
Trudeau’s and Lockhart’s charm and fame results in them breaking rules because they think they are above the rules and can get away with it.
Gilderoy explains how celebrities are above the law to Harry: “Celebrity is as celebrity does, remember that.”
After Trudeau was called out for staging the “photobomb” Vancouver jogging picture the media initially lapped up his response was, “Look, I do things.”
He sure does.
Who can forget Trudeau mysteriously disappearing off the face of the earth to go to the billionaire Aga Khan’s private island, the head of a charity lobbying Trudeau’s government? Or the time Trudeau crossed the floor in parliament to physically drag someone to their seat because the opposition was holding up his precious time? Or the time Trudeau called another MP “a piece of shit!”? Trudeau also has a horrible attendance record at parliament because he’d much rather be out doing publicity, stroking his own ego, rather than doing actual work and responding to difficult questions from the opposition that are supposed to hold him accountable. But don’t expect the compromised press to point that out. Trudeau even wanted to change the rules of parliament so he wouldn’t have to attend as much. During the cultural appropriation brouhaha Trudeau got a free pass for his aboriginal tattoo and costumes he’s worn over the years.
Lockhart doesn’t follow the rules either. When the teachers at Hogwarts are supposed to be escorting children in the passageways after several attacks on students, Lockhart ditches his class to “prepare my next class.”
“‘Prepare his class,’ Ron sneered after him. ‘Gone to curl his hair, more like it.'”
Both men have many adoring fans, and a majority appear to of the female persuasion.
In Rowling’s novel many females are enamoured by Lockhart. He plays it up, like sending a personal letter to Hermione. In turn, even the brilliant Hermione becomes spellbound by the fraud’s charm, overlooking his many blunders.
“‘He just wants to give us some hands-on experience,’ said Hermione…” and “‘Rubbish,’ said Hermione. ‘You’ve read his books–look at all those amazing things he’s done…”
Watching Trudeau in interviews you can see many of the women goggling. All he has to do is say sweet nothings like “I’m a feminist” and “It’s 2015” and they’re putty.
In reality Trudeau has made many of his female colleagues do his dirty work and can be quite nasty to female opposition MPs, like sticking his tongue out at them. Trudeau has fall gal MPs, given fool’s errands doomed to fail like the electoral reform debacle.
Lockhart similarly has Hermione clean up his mess when he releases pixies into the classroom that wreak havoc while he runs away.
Then there is also the patronizing way Trudeau tries to be a white knight. His affirmative action plan in making skewed gender quotas is an insult to women and men equally. And then there are the hokey statements like, “Hey Snapchat, there’s lots of things you can do to be a better feminist as a man, but here’s a simple one. Don’t interrupt women–ahhh–and notice every time women get interrupted in conversations.”
Thanks for that enlightening advice, Romeo.
It is this arrogance and ignorance of Trudeau and Lockhart that leads to both of them putting others in danger.
Lockhart isn’t actually experienced at combating evil creatures, but he pretends he is. Throughout the novel his ineptitude gets others hurt. Lockhart wrongly believes Hagrid is the one behind students being petrified. His actual inexperience against the dark arts and his foolish belief that the danger has been removed results in more students being attacked. When Harry breaks his arm during quidditch, Gilderoy fails to cast the right spell to heal his arm, instead making the bones disappear entirely.
Trudeau claims to fight for the middle class, however his best friend and top adviser was behind the green energy schemes in Ontario that contributed to fracturing the manufacturing sector in the province. Instead of helping restore manufacturing, a backbone of Canada’s economy, Trudeau is now implementing nation-wide carbon pricing that will help this essential sector disappear.
Lockhart, in his ignorance, signs a permission slip for Hermione to take out a restricted book from the library. She uses it to create a potion that backfires and results in her being bedridden for weeks.
Trudeau, likely in his ignorance, signed off on his top two staff charging taxpayers over $207,000 in moving expenses. A pittance in the grand scheme of things, but it showed Trudeau’s lack of respect for the public purse and foreshadows what his fiscal ineptitude will bring in the future. Trudeau is set to sign off on a government infrastructure bank to get loans from private investors to fund government work projects to ostensibly help stimulate and grow the economy. In reality, the scheme will result in Trudeau’s fellow one percenters bilking taxpayers with above market interest rates and their companies doing jobs way above estimate costs. The rich will get richer off the backs of taxpayers, the government projects will not leave any lasting growth to the economy, and with a–already out of control–ballooning deficit fit to burst Trudeau will have to raise taxes on the already squeezed middle class to pay for the squandered billions. Add in an economic downturn and the national debt could become as unmanageable as Ontario’s.
When Trudeau tries to fix what he has broken one can see it going very much the way it did with Lockhart.
“He rolled up his sleeves, brandished his wand and bellowed, ‘Peskipiksi Pesternomi!’
It had absolutely no effect; one of the pixies seized Lockhart’s wand and threw it out of the window too.”
Canadians should remember and heed the wise words of Dumbledore come next election.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
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