“I’d like to send the world a tweet, to keep it company …” — with slim apologies to Michael Jackson and Coke.
It used to be the money. But in our brave new Snapchatting Kardashian world, it’s the tweet. A celebrity tweet is a verbal selfie: high virtue-signalling value, ace self-promotion, cloyingly charming. Aims for Harvey Levin (TMZ) but will settle for Samantha Bee (whatever).
It turns out Donald Trump is not the only world leader with a fancy way with Twitter. In olden times, people used to learn about “foreign aid” (that’s what it was called in the Middle Ages) through something called the Estimates Committee (defunct or buried in Omnibus swaddling). Sometimes foreign policy was even announced in Parliament (a building in Ottawa currently under severe renovation intellectually and externally).
Modern prime ministers — well, one modern prime minister — don’t do it that way anymore. I don’t know if the PM has a Hashtags and Hipster Committee but it sure looks like that lately. For out of that Buenos Aires (sweet airs meets sunny days) assembly, launched on the taut wires of Twitter, came the following:
Hey @Trevornoah – thanks for everything you’re doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can’t be with you – but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women & girls around the world? Work for you? Let’s do it.
Before getting to the novelty of using Twitter as a high-stakes cash dispensary, we should explain what GlblCtzn — apart from being vowel allergic — is. Essentially, it’s a latter-day version of the ’80s rock-star-infested Save the World/End World Hunger exhibitions. It is a gathering of the celebrity-elect (Beyonce was there) in one of their “giving something back” spasms. A lot of show, and lot of tell.