Charles Adler and Dean Blundell, on December 13, 2023, explore the implicit question Why Do [Some] People Hate Trudeau?
NB: The fearsome duo of Adler and Blundell applauds Adler’s moment of conversion. Adler once dismantled Premier Jason Kenney's well-documented Christian-type homophobia. Adler claims he's always hated Kenney’s homophobia, which was well on display when Kenney was in the federal government, which was well before Kenney was elected Alberta’s premier. . . but I quibble. In any case, listeners get it: Adler – not very humbly – offers progressive listeners the results of his epiphany, his humble conversion on the road to a liberal Damascus. I'm your guy, Adler declares. Good. He's our guy.😏
But the most important part of the Adler-Blundell discussion centres on the implicit question: Wherefore all the Trudeau hatred? Could the hatred come from something as simple as fatigue?
Certainly a democratic electorate can tire of a long-term government, and tire, too, of the party's leader. After years of one-party domination, the open-society’s voters may instinctively want a change, even if there is no specific reason or crisis prompting it.
And yet . . .. Voter fatigue, or the restless desire for a political turnover, doesn’t explain the venom directed against Trudeau personally. Some people "hate" him.
And it’s the force of the hate Adler and Blundell are wondering about.
Do the hosts have cred? Yes, sure. Most women appreciate good-hearted men—kind, serious, outspoken, curious, brave, and physically non-threatening men. For my money, individuals like Charles Adler and Dean Blundell effortlessly clear the bar. Women have no reason to criticize these two for holding their masculine perspectives. Men have the right to own their own perspectives. As do we all.
But their opinions (arising from their default masculinity) raise concerns. After all, theirs is not kitchen-table talk. Theirs is a public podcast; And it's an ear-popper.
The podcast in question begins with Adler and Blundell commenting on Trudeau’s good looks. Trudeau is indeed photogenic but hold on. I found I was feeling uncomfortable. Males feel jealous of Trudeau? Really? Huh. Interesting. At this stage, stomach churning, I was wondering whether to ditch this podcast and move to another show.
Now why was that?
The answer to a woman's discomfort with any discussion about good looks lies not only in our genes, but also in the remnants of last century's conservative culture. (Women are not immune to handsome. But that’s a tale for another day.) Faith and begorrah, the male glance has been objectifying the appearance of women since the dawn of sapiens. The feminine gets it. The long look, the assessment, the corollary of the assessment, all that staring can be discomfiting.
In twenty-first-century Canada, though, and we all know the rule because we've been well taught, progressive blokes are mannered to redirect their bold stares to the ceiling – to nurse their beers and choke back the 1930s hubba hubbas. Contemporary Canadian civility frowns on the public objectification of women.
For instance. On air, Blundell and Adler would not knowingly offend Adler's new-found progressive audience. Would they open their public conversation with a wolf-whistle? No way. Would they start dissecting the beauty of the photogenic Mélanie Joly? Doubtful. Very doubtful. Adler and Blundell know better than to publicly objectify women, especially political women. If they did go to lengths to parse Joly's pleasant appearance instead of her accomplishments and slip-ups, this listener can imagine many social-media users would blow a gasket. But what one must not do to Joly, one can do to Trudeau.
Adler and Blundell mildly insist they themselves remain mystified by the animus directed toward Trudeau. So what’s my problem? After all, Trudeau’s a man. Why would a handsome man be offended by being objectified? For one thing, we progressives understand the meaning of the old beauty trope. Beauty equals dumb. That is the law of masculine bias. Women struggle with it. In a world of default masculine perspectives (which some women hold on to just as tightly as some men), we have long understood that, in an Anglo-American patriarchy, attractive women need not possess more than their good looks – not wit, nor cleverness, nor political acumen – because more is greedy. And socially competitive. And intellectually competitive. Whoa. The feminine is as intellectual as the masculine? Can't have that, can we Canada?
Attractive women have always had an unspoken cross to bear: Female beauty equals female incompetence. The beauty bias and the halo effect shout out loud and clear in the podcast’s opener on Trudeau, and it's a bit shocking to hear the trope uttered and defended with some laughter but without any detectable hint of irony. Here we go: Trudeau is too good looking to have any smarts.
Surely that is not where this podcast is going. Oh yes. Adler allows he has met the prime minister, and, fulfilling the expectations of the beauty trope (conjoining beauty with lack of intelligence), the next segment of the podcast follows as naturally as night follows day. Adler implicitly concedes the trope exists, and must, in this particular instance, stand confounded. Trudeau seems smart enough, especially when he speaks French.
All right. It's established. Pretty Trudeau is at least as smart as Margot Robbie (one might say the jury’s out on the Canadian Ryans).
Why oh why don't they stop there? No sir. Deeper into the woods they go. Blundell introduces the subject of Trudeau's possible gayness. Is Trudeau gay? Could that be it? Maybe, or so the artful podcasters wonder, Trudeau's suspected gayness is why some voters hate him. Is "Fuck Trudeau" only subtext? It's a given that a man's gayness gives some good Christian and Muslim people good reason to hate him. Good. Good. Now we understand the venom. In short, we're treated to trope number two. Male beauty equals dumb AND gay. (Here, with a lengthy not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-that diatribe, Adler expands on his distaste for Kenney's homophobia.)
But to the point. How did Freud describe gayness in men? Gays are effeminate. Male homosexuality, according to early Freudian writings, could result from the failure of an individual to complete certain stages of psychosexual development. (Blame the mother, sigh.) Upshot: A gay man is an incomplete man. A gay man is well . . . well, he is too often . . .feminine. And we know what many ancient and mediaeval civilizations thought about the feminine.
Thanks Aristotle. Thanks Aquinas. Your unexamined masculine perspectives give rise to biased modern opinions, which, like ingrown toenails, painfully persist. Roughly five hundred years ago, Elizabethans believed in the Great Chain of Being. Guess where the feminine linked into the Great Chain? Not at the top, dear reader. The twentieth-century's Philip wasn't the English king because he was a Greek outsider; No, he wasn't the king because his title would have superseded the queen's. Ask Canada's Jordan Peterson where the feminine fits into society. Blocs of the feminine, getting feisty, have abandoned their second-sex status on the Great Chain but the backlash awaits. The thunder rolls. Evangelicals object to their growing power. By definition, or so they believe, the feminine must be subservient to the masculine.
Hatred of male gayness and hatred of the feminine go together like peas and carrots. In masculine-favoured Catholicism (until a recent pronouncement from Francis), overt homosexual unions remained unblessed. Islam beats all. Gayness is anathema to non-gay Muslims. Countries where citizens harbour hatred towards male homosexuals often exhibit similar sentiments towards women. In Nigeria, both homosexual acts and women's rights face restrictions. Against women and gays, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Iran share similar patterns of prejudice. The United States, to date, is terrible too. The US is tougher on women than on gay men but wait. Justice Gorsuch, for one, would like to make the rights of gay men as vulnerable as SCOTUS has made women's rights. Some red states try to put the heel of the boot to the feminine. Time will tell whether (and how) the feminine will strike back. The ballot box seems most likely. That's my hope, anyway.
So say it, Adler and Blundell. Say it out loud.
Some people despise Trudeau because he symbolizes and defends the feminine in governance. European male perspectives have historically inspired Canadian male-centric opinions, which for centuries have dominated our laws, policies, and courts. Property rights, unfair pay for equal work, and plain old civilities have been shaped by the masculine default. The feminine (madonna) is too good for politics. The feminine (whore) is evil. The whore-madonna complex is a doozy of a theory from . . .yes, him again
The whore-madonna complex is rooted in patriarchal cultural norms that historically sought to control and regulate female sexuality and undermine the feminine political soul. The madonna archetype aligns with the idealized image of a woman who transcends her earthly coil (she's a virgin mum, uh-huh), while the whore, the dictatorial evil one, she who tempts innocent men to come to her bed, has visions of power that dance in her head. In Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare plays with the so-called whore archetype. Simone de Beauvoir touches upon the masculine-feminine divide in her exploration of women's experiences and the social construction of femininity. But these days who in presbyterian Canada cares a whit about an old smarty-pants like the philosophical but gloriously flawed Frenchwoman de Beauvoir?
With much sarcasm but no apparent insight, Adler and Blundell wonder why Trudeau, a possible gay male, a possible dummy, a whore (evil dictator), a madonna (pretty stupid), is hated in some quarters of the country. Oh, come on. Canadian misogyny is real. Women-hating is alive and well and not just living in Paris.
Trudeau is hated because he represents the feminine perspective.