I thought long and hard before throwing this in here. I don’t think many of us in Canada haven’t seen it yet, but it does boggle the mind and is definitely of the ‘fuminous’ realm.
It’s not so much that he did this, but it’s that he did it again! This is not the first time that Harper (a Christian fundamentalist, mind you) has taken to performing this song in public, and he knows how well (not!) it was received in the first place. This clip is notable because of its butchery of something beautiful, and because it’s the lowest order of shameless, predictable campaign trail pandering, to say nothing of the blatant hypocrisy of him singing it at all in the first place! That he would drag a poor, innocent child through this musical ugliness speaks volumes as well.
But beneath the obvious “dick move” nature of this event lies the troubling fact that Stephen Harper has a habit of deliberately doing things that he knows will piss people off, and that he seems to take great pleasure in doing so ( hosting the G20 in Toronto in 2010 comes to mind). I am quite convinced that the intention of using this song in a such an “offhand” way is an attempt to subvert and diminish the power of such a classic, important and meaningful piece of music through trivialization – a practice Harper and his ilk have used to great success in other matters. (Let’s not forget that political right-wingers are generally terrified of this song – it being perceived as a true anthem for the “Left” – as witnessed in Lennon’s assassination itself, as well as in the immediate post-9/11 move by Clear Channel [who own every radio station you listen to] to have “Imagine” removed from the playlists at all of their stations.)
A few years ago I personally had the opportunity to speak with someone who has worked on Harper’s media campaigns, but I don’t think that even he could have predicted then how completely venal Stephen Harper’s approach to campaigning has become.
If we think about what this clip represents we find that:
a) Someone thought this would be a good idea in the first place.
b) Someone very close to this campaign filmed the event.
c) Someone within Harper’s camp thought it would be a good idea to post it on YouTube. (Wherein it was promptly taken down, allegedly by Yoko Ono herself, and then – of course – put back up even more promptly.)
My apologies to your ears – a true low point in music history and Canadian politics; absolutely shameful: