I was performing the quintessential 21st century activity of
surfing the web this evening while performing the quintessential
20th century activity of listening to the radio. It was the
wireless that told me about the death of Trudeau. Interviews with
his political contemporaries came close on the heels of the
announcement. I heard an interview with former cabinet minister
Marc Lalonde who said, "I don't think this is the time for
anecdotes." And yet, dear readers, that is all I have to
offer you: my anecdotal memories of the former PM.
I am in grade 3, and it's an election year. At school, a
friend asks me to chant with him, "We Want
Stanfield!" and we do -- arm in arm in front of the
school. A few moment later I realize that I don't even know
who Stanfield is, and while I don't have any real sense of
the issues, at least I have heard of Trudeau, and so
I am probably for him. We unlink arms, and I have not
participated in a political rally since.
Trudeau is on a VIA Rail train, dogged by reporters on the
platform. Through the window, he gives them the finger. It
was shown on all the 6 o'clock news reports, and I thought it
was hilarious. We had the kind of Prime Minister who felt it
was OK to make rude gestures at the press. This is such a
breath of retroactive fresh air compared to the politically
sensitive new-agers that line the halls of power these days.
We've all said it.
"Just Watch Me", 1970
|All I want is
what's coming to
me. All I want is my fair share.
I didn't see this interview until years after the fact,
but it's my very favourite. He's cavalier and chummy with the
reporter. Again, this is the kind of thing you don't see any
more, and maybe it just nostalgia that makes me smile when I
see it. Imagine Yugoslavian President Slobodan Miloscevic
saying, "How far am I willing to go? Just watch
me." It's chilling, not thrilling.
the interview (you'll need RealPlayer)
CBC Radio, The 1980s
CBC Radio used to have a half-hour drama of the macabre on
Friday nights. One story involved a television set that
showed broadcasts from 20 years in the future. One of the
things it showed was the coverage of Trudeau's funeral.
"He looks so old!" someone says. Sitting in my
room, listening to this, I was thoroughly creeped out. Well
-- I remember it to this day. And now I'm living in the TV
world, wondering: What the hell happened? How did I get so
old? (Moral of this story: Don't watch TV.)
I just checked the web to see if any of the international
media have taken notice. I'm astounded. It's the lead story on CNN.
It's on the front page of the BBC.
Australia has a piece.
Mr. Trudeau died this afternoon, 28 September 2000.