We have a new government in Canada this week, and a new prime minister who snowboards and has spent real time living in Whistler. I find that promising because there are lessons in life that are best learned only through time spent in the mountain. Over the course of a season it's hard to miss the intrinsic value of watching the sun sink into a ridge of pristine snow-covered parkland, or the improvised camaraderie of helping people who have crashed on a ski run. The mountains are in charge and so they bring out the best in us.
As such, the download of the week is a YouTube video filmed in 2001 with Whistler legend Crucial Mike Jefferies interviewing a pre-politics Justin Trudeau about working with the Canadian Avalanche Association (Trudeau's brother Michel perished in an avy in 1998), the upcoming 2010 Olympics, Ross Rebagliati's gold medal, and the legalization of marijuana in Canada. Trudeau comes across as a normal, happy dude and earns his Whistler loc card by knowing Crucial Mike lived in a van. To top things off there's a cameo by Johnny Thrash! It's good clean fun and the future prime minister shines.
But this little video is also pretty noteworthy, locally, because Crucial Mike is no longer with us and his unique sensibility will be near-impossible to replace. Thankfully, we have preserved nuggets of his mountain wisdom in Johnny "Amsterdam" Zaritsky's National Film Board-funded classic Ski Bums, but it's nice to see him again in top form.
The other notable thing about the Trudeau chairlift video is that it barely made a blip on the national media because politics has become inundated with digital evidence of almost everything imaginable: videos, photos, tweets, posts, security cams... Times have changed, and the revolution will not be televised, it will be streamed to your phone. This election was our first real look at what crowdsourced transparency and the digital age can do to politics.
And it isn't reassuring. The 2015 election saw some interesting shit dredged up from candidates' past and personal lives and not all of it was as fun-hearted as a couple buds out for a rip on a sunny day in Whistler. The golden MVP award surely goes to the Conservative candidate filmed pissing in a customer's coffee cup while on an appliance repair call. The Liberal and NDP parties had major issues as well, although neither of their leaders was photographed hugging an admitted crack fiend just days after telling the world "pot is infinitely worse than tobacco."
By the time HBO late-night wizard John Oliver turned our election into 15 minutes of near-perfect (Mike Myers is not looking good) comedic reporting and racked up three million-plus shares on election day, it was obvious times had changed. (Note to self: avoid running for office and do best to remind society that yes, people do and say dumb shit when they are young, and often even when they are not.)
So while I won't miss the continuous inundation of politics, the take-home lesson here is that although the way we consume information has been democratized to a point where it can almost be considered full-time surveillance, we should all still be who we are, prepared to admit mistakes but also not afraid to stand up for good old-fashioned fun (which doesn't include pissing in people's coffee cups).
Speaking of, the Heavy Hitting Horrorfest Live-Feed Peepshow is happening at Garfs on October 30th. That's a shameless plug for my own event (transparency!), but it also means that there's no time like the present to check out the new Guillermo Del Toro gothic chiller Crimson Peak, now playing at the Village 8. Del Toro's visual imagination is unmatched and Crimson Peak is the perfect primer for Horrorfest. The rich-but-cold look of this film is essentially perfect and Del Toro's design is so epic it makes up for the fact that the story is actually pretty B-Grade. Like yell-at-the-screen-stupid style B-Grade. A big, glossy, beautiful flick like this will only make next week's local low-budget masterpieces seem all the more charming.
And "charming" is so hot these days. I'm a Green Party kinda guy but I find hope at the thought that this country now has a prime minister who can throw a method air on his snowboard, perform an adequate transceiver search and probably even knows the value of always having a valid Fresh Tracks Breakfast ticket in his jacket, just in case. Now let it snow, snow, snow.