Sexiest MPs? Have we lost our focus?

I note that the Hill Times today published its annual “Sexy, Savvy and Best Dressed Survey”. The global economy is melting down and this hottie headliner is on lips of Hill staff and media this week. Lest this be a curmudgeon grumble piece on the state of news today (back in my day…), but really, there’s got to be more going on. Yet, the piece does come out in the middle of two break weeks on Parliament Hill, and at least Jane Taber’s belyingly-titled Hot and Not article is about politics.

But in the same issue that we find an a republish of an article by James Travers bemoaning the declining relevance of Parliament as a democratic body — “welcome to court government” — we find out that Rona and Helena have the best hair! I’m now flipping through these pages looking for the stock article on the under-representation of women in Parliament…

Perhaps they don’t want to show up given this superficial focus.

But most of this does amount to political theatre and pollsters will show you charts (with trendlines and error bars, no less) showing that focus groups are somewhat accurate in determining that Stephen Harper wearing a sweater holding a kitten softens his image and improves electability, that Michael Ignatieff needs to shed some ivory-tower arrogance by hitting the hamburger circuit this summer and that Preston Manning needed to ditch the glasses in order to get his message out to more Canadians. Issues and policies also rank lower among concerns among Canadians, but woah, what was he/she thinking wearing that to last year’s Hill Gala?!

Speaking to friends over at Macleans.ca, I’m told that last year among the most trafficked articles were those featuring photos of Julie Couillard. In fact, Julie Couillard ranked one of the highest related search terms for Macleans in 2008. In that case, “Julie Couillard”, “Julie Couillard”, “Julie Couillard”.

That said, you won’t find photos of Justin Trudeau or Ruby Dhalla’s leaked Bollywood movie here… but if you came here from Google looking for these things, stick around… I’ll see if I can entice you with a discussion on the finer points of whether provincial- or municipal-linked federal Senate elections better afford Premiers and Prime Ministers the required political cover and feasibility to move forward on reform of our bicameral system.

Hey! Where are you going? Come back!

Oh, all right…

Hot: TMZ and eTalk
Not: New York Times and the Globe and Mail

Comments

comments

  • http://stv.ca Mark Greenan

    Stephen, I might not agree with you on lots (many?) of policy issues, but you're note perfect on this blog.

  • http://www.thepolitic.com Sean Calder

    “Oh, all right…”

    LOL Too funny Stephen.

    That being said, there is certainly an element of truth to the idea that beauty engenders feelings of trust or a desire to be associated with it. Whether or not people want to accept it, we are inherently drawn to that which we find attractive, hence the root of that word. To attract, draw in. Image is extremely important in any position of public exposure.

    For example, I seriously doubt that Steve Buscemi would ever be able to attain a position of broad authority, or ever be able to play a romantic lead. It's why he gets all the “weird” roles. It's simply an unfortunate aspect of the human condition that we develop preconceived notions as to what should and shouldn't be based on our own tastes.

    And while I agree that “Hot” lists aren't critical issues on Parliament Hill, they certainly let those behind the scenes find out who's being watched, and why…..

  • http://www.conservatism.ca Paul Holmes

    I've built a filter into my RSS reader to prevent any articles that include the words “Justin+Trudeau”. So I'm unable to view the article you are referring to. But, ya, Peter MacKay is hot.

  • http://phantomobserver.com PhantomObserver

    Well, to be fair, last year's survey *did* come out at about the same time. And it's a fact of life that telegenics does play a big part of being an MP; people are more likely to talk with you if you're a looker than if you're a minger.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Well, yes. I took a psychology course in undergrad that presented data suggesting that this is true. This post was more to point out the ironies of conflicting Ottawa political press narratives.

  • Observant

    Unless Karlheinz Schreiber reveals to the inquiry that there was a woman called ‘Gerda’ thrown in with the $500,000, I’m gonna stop watching it on CBC … and so will the few Canadians who tune into the CBC …. fer keerist sake, give us a sex angle to the sordid Airbus mess or else stfu ya ol’ fart …!!!!!

  • Observant

    Unless Karlheinz Schreiber reveals to the inquiry that there was a woman called ‘Gerda’ thrown in with the $500,000, I’m gonna stop watching it on CBC … and so will the few Canadians who tune into the CBC …. fer keerist sake, give us a sex angle to the sordid Airbus mess or else stfu ya ol’ fart …!!!!!

  • Doozy

    Don't worry Stephen. You'll be on that list soon enough.

  • Carolyn Gardner

    Its the naked dress!!!

    Sex sells… especially in politics where sexy people are few and far between….

  • Doozy

    Don't worry Stephen. You'll be on that list soon enough.