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Politics, Ideology and the Technosphere 3: Autobiography, Social Media and the Banality of Revolution

The Shawinigan Handshake (1996). Image Source: Wiki.
In 1996, the Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien, strangled an anti-poverty protester Bill Clennett, who got in his way at a rally. Chrétien hails from Shawinigan, Quebec, and his stranglehold became known as the 'Shawinigan Handshake.' Oddly, this display endeared Chrétien to the Canadian public, because it made him look manly and tough.

It also made him seem accessible, like a character down at the pub, who is a known quantity in the local town. By 2001, Chrétien had been prime minister for eight years and he had two more years to go before he would finally step down. There was a world-weariness about his government. Perhaps that world-weariness made him seem even more accessible.


At that time, Canadian visual artist Chris Lloyd began sending Chrétien dozens of e-mails about Lloyd's daily life. The PM never answered, of course, and the e-mails were collected and self-published in a several volumes, including a 200…

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