Features | Awards

The Hannah Arendt Award for Embodying the Banality of Evil

By Joel Elliott | 9 December 2010

Stephen Harper singing rock n’ roll at a Conservative Caucus Party

Halfway through a decidedly Canadian Anglophonic version of a Proclaimers track by our honourable Prime Minister and his band (?), whoever was working the camera moves into the crowd and dwells on Harper’s slightly bemused wife and a couple of other Torys shifting awkwardly in their seats. Those who live on this side of the border and have nothing better to do will probably remember these exact looks from a mere 24 hours ago when newly-elected mayor of Toronto Rob Ford opened his first council meeting with a speech from Don Cherry, who wore his pink blazer for all those “pinkos who ride bicycles.”

Or at least so I thought, until the party actually stood up and started clapping along when he got up from his piano to sing “The Seeker,” and I realized these people’s lives don’t actually get any better.

This performance is so close to what you would expect you can almost just close your eyes and have it play out in your head, like a scene from The Office, but not funny. Harper can’t sing, but he doesn’t need to be able to. Nero made his horse senator. People who ride bikes are usually Communists. The guitar player has this look like “Yeah I’m playing with the Prime Minister, no big deal, I just love music.” Harper is the kind of guy who would feel obligated to play a couple instrumental bars from “Imagine” because John Lennon was an important musician, but not sing any of it, because John Lennon was also a Maoist.

He also looks like he is physically unable to actually let loose, like maybe a PR person who never goes out in public thought this would be a good move for his image, but actually he’s just crunching numbers in his head the whole time.

Also, Conservatives can’t clap, which is funny.

:: Watch the video at CBC.ca