Why our politics is Brechtian

Luke Savage

I’m never quite prepared for how much I dislike the dominant mode of commentary on Canadian elections.

Just one day into the campaign and we’ve already been served the full menu of facile idioms familiar to anyone who’s ever worked on, reported on, or run in a Canadian election in the past two decades: the obsessive focus on horserace polling; the hyperbolic extrapolation of grand narrative from trivial detail; the absurd characterization of every speech as a “performance”; the excessive, almost hourly, hot takes on how the various leaders and campaigns are being perceived.

The common thread here? Because (in the social media age especially) everything about an election campaign is so heavily scripted, tabulated, and regimented – the leaders’ tours, the messaging, the reporting, and the punditry which is supposed to keep all of it in check – the whole affair takes on a peculiar performative quality, as if…

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