Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Liberal brand selfie stick coming soon to s store near you?

Emoting 101: Decoding the gestures of the touchy-feely Trudeau era

Tristin Hopper
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

One thing’s for sure: Canada has just elected the most touchy-feely Prime Minister in its history. But the country will not be seeing just a measurable increase in the use of the words “love,” “caring” and “hope” in political speeches. Brace yourself for the surge in the following gestures on Parliament Hill.
Hand on heart

Plenty of Prime Ministers put their hands over their hearts during oaths or the singing of the national anthem. Trudeau has extended the gesture to that moment when a leader ascends to a lectern but the crowd refuses to stop cheering. U.S. president Barack Obama usually reacts to this by pointing his chin up and looking pensive. Tom Mulcair and Stephen Harper have endured with impatient smiles. Trudeau, however, manages not only a hand on his heart but moist eyes and a glowing expression, all delivered as a kind of silent “For me? Oh my God, thank you.”
Baby tricks

For reasons that science can never explain, there are thousands of parents who feel the need to thrust their young children into the arms of politicians. During the campaign, Trudeau made it a habit of happily accepting these babies, checking to see whether their knees locked and then balancing them on his hands for the cameras. Just as Jean Chretien made it a habit to pretend to choke people, this might become the signature move of the new Prime Minister. The new children of MPs, the offspring of visiting dignitaries, Make-a-Wish kids touring Parliament Hill; all will be perilously balanced on the hands of Canada’s G7 leader.
Prayer hands

As Trudeau delivered his victory speech on Monday, wife Sophie Gregoire seemed to look upon her husband with the zeal of a Pentecostal revivalist. Face contorted with emotion, she kept her hands pitched in apparent prayer. The Trudeaus aren’t known to be particularly religious, so this might simply be Gregoire’s “You did it, babe” pose. Indeed, attendees to the 2013 Liberal convention would have seen her made a similar gesture of genuflection during her husband’s acceptance speech.
Lots more PDA

Pierre Trudeau allegedly touched his wife Margaret in public a few times, although little photographic evidence exists. Justin and Sophie, on the other hand, are so kissy they almost warrant a PG rating. Politicians usually stick to a stage kiss with their spouses: Mouth closed, lips puckered and contact to last no more than one second. But the Trudeaus get into it with full-body embraces, hands-on-the-face, and even hands on the backs of heads. Another common move is the forehead touch: Both partners touch heads and briefly close their eyes in expressions of apparent ecstasy. At a Quebec campaign stop, even the romance-killing gaze of Stephane Dion wasn’t enough to stop the Trudeaus from a few-seconds of forehead nuzzling.

The selfie reach
As recently as Paul Martin, it was really weird for people to approach a Prime Minister and ask them to stand still as they awkwardly held a camera at arms length. And by the time smartphones came around, Harper had put selfies in that wide category of glad-handy things to be avoided at all costs. But Trudeau has thus far demonstrated endless patience with strangers and their iPhones, even taking a shot himself, arm stretched out in front of smiling fans, for maximum payoff. (The Liberals sell a party-branded selfie stick.)

The ol' shoulder touch
It’s hard to stress just how many petty complaints are directed at politicians. “My mail was late.” “My chest hurts.” “Nobody is hiring literature majors.” Trudeau, however, has an uncanny ability to put his hand on the shoulder of these petitioners and show a look of genuine concern until they’re done talking. This simple gesture of empathy could smooth over a lot of federal cockups in the years to come. Ottawa screwed up disaster response for your flood-stricken community? Shoulder touch. Veteran’s Affairs let you fall through the cracks? Shoulder touch. One of our MPs was caught with unseemly ties to construction lobbyists? Shoulder touch.

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