Puffingate 2008 and notaleader.ca
I'm not that young nor the hippest cat on the block, but this latest example of bowing before middle-aged squareness is a bit much.
Dion's weakness is that he is perceived as weak and indecisive; in other words, not a leader. So how best to exploit that? With an entire website mocking him! Thus, a puffin defecates (to use the aghast term of national media writers) on his shoulder; you can play as Dion in a game of "Street Debater" against "The Russian Bear"; or generate Liberal policy in a slot machine. I was already laughing when the preview page came onscreen, asking, "Do you think it's easy to load websites?" And be sure to visit the blog that Dion's dog, Kyoto, generously maintains on the site:
"After howling for two years about wanting to have an election, Stéphane didn’t even have a plane ready for the start of the campaign. Zut alors!..I’ve been trying to explain to Stéphane for so long that if he’s going to keep barking about taking over the big dog house on the Ottawa River, you better be ready for the fight."
I don't know about you, but I'm having trouble working up some outrage over "Dion's Dog Blog." And anyway, have you ever heard of a partisan website where you can actually design your own attack ads? Me neither.
More importantly, in responding to the website, Dion allowed himself to be baited by the Tories. What Dion should have done is, oh, I don't know, created a website portraying a giant hawk picking up Harper and dropping him into a lake. Or Harper in a scavenger bird outfit "picking at the carcass of Canadian health care following Conservative neglect" or something. Or a flash game involving Harper, a buzzard, and projectile vomiting. Or Harper dressed up as the villianous Vulture. Anything! Instead, Dion responded to the accusation that he was an "out of touch" academic by criticizing the Tories for encouraging the "prejudice that an intellectual is not a human being." And then he made it worse, scolding "I hope they will learn from their mistake."
I think that Kate does have a point: That the extent to which this site is actually reaching its target audience is doubtful.
"Your web designers and your web audience are two different demographics. Just because the guys behind the scenes writing code are in their twenties, does not mean that the people searching for political content are."
But so far notaleader.ca is the funnest part of this campaign, and the source of what is sure to be the campaign's goofiest controvery.