The Magic of Kellie Leitch’s Batshit, Beautiful Campaign Video
Spring has arrived early, my friends. There is only joy, where there was once only darkness.
It's so easy to be a negative piece of shit writing about Canadian politics in the doldrums of February. This is the absolute trough of the year; it is a nightmare month full of snow and darkness and Seasonal Affective Disorder and cabin fever. It's easy to let this darkness poison everything you see around you, especially given the spectacular calamity that is the world in 2017. But then Conservative leadership hopefulKellie Leitch posts a rambling eight-minute car-crash of a campaign video on Facebook and it's like Spring has arrived a month early.
Everything about it is so good, my friends. It is a pure video like what a child would make. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings the Lord hast prepared His praise.
The delivery is a true joy. Leitch is weaving and bobbing in front of a Canadian flag, throwing her hands up in strained exasperation, wistfully looking off camera for a time before she committed herself to being Rob Ford presents: Kellie Leitch, pausing jarringly in the middle of sentences for no reason. It is a stilted, over-coached look that could never be taught, it could only arrive spontaneously in single magic take.
The pacing is Shatneresque. It is the kind of delivery William Shatner gives if he is making fun of himself.
"Everywhere I go," Leitch chuckles coyly, leaning back to make space for the friendly folksy anecdote she's about to drop, "I hear the same message." She pauses and cocks an eyebrow and smiles.
She shrugs. "Canadians are proud of their country—[one mississippi two]—and their unified [beat] Canadian [beat] culture."
It goes on like this for EIGHT minutes.
But it's the cinematography that holds it together. It has the innocent touch of a first year videography student doing a class project on how to make the camera focus good. It slowly pans across the room before abruptly cutting into a closeup of Leitch while she's mid-sentence. Sometimes the lighting and colour composition changes dramatically. It's like if they hired Harmony Korine to shoot the Breitbart interview with Sean Spicer. It is a true classic of Canadian political videos.
You get so lost in the magic of Kellie Leitch's choreography that you almost miss the underlying message of the video, i.e., how to argue an emotional spasm of latent white supremacy into a coherent policy position that can somehow appeal both to militant rednecks terrified of difference and cultural liberals who love tolerance and gender equality. Leitch is trying to square the circle of contemporary Islamophobia, conjuring the spectre of the cunning yet savagely masculine Mohammedan that has haunted Europe's dreams since the Turk sacked Byzantium.
She urges supporters to read Vic Satzewich's book Points of Entry, a pro-immigration sociological study that the author has publicly suggested Leitch either doesn't understand or deliberately misrepresents. She does not expect them to read the book, because she does not take them seriously.
It is a hot, rollicking, condescending mess. She is trying so hard to explain to you, you fucking idiot, that it's important to screen immigrants for Canadian values. Do you know what quotas are, you degenerate redneck? Let me teach you. It's like watching an exceptionally bitter substitute teacher on valium give a remedial social studies class to a group of racist children.
It's a video like this that reminds you how how beautiful life can be. Some days everything seems dark and satire seems dead and there appears to be no escape from finding your life smashed to pieces at the intersection of personal depression and political despondency, but then this beautiful shining light appears, this soft vista on the vanished refuge of childhood, this moment where the human condition exceeds its own finitude and touches the Absolute and becomes art. This awkward, laboured video of a sad woman trying to sell her soul to people she very obviously doesn't respect—these are the spontaneous sublime moments that make life worth living through the cold Canadian winter.
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