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Our first Hot Trudeau pic. People were mad we said he drew 'Doonesbury'


Guys, this is probably just going to make you cry and wish you were in Canada, where the healthcare is single-payer, the beer is very good, and the government will soon be distributing free weed to everyone (we may have the details a little fuzzy), but here's one more thing to make Americans pine for Canadaland: Their prime minister isn't merely a hunky hunk, he's also a big ol' nerd who reads books, and even more than just the one.

We learn this via the Twitter feed of our favorite billionaire, Nick Hanauer, who has this ridiculous notion that if the vast numbers of lower- and middle-income people had a fairer share of the nation's wealth, that would be far better for America than tilting the economy to favor the one percent -- and it would be better for the one percent, too, since if people were less poor, they'd buy more stuff and coincidentally not be in the mood to erect any guillotines. Hanauer tweeted this informative snippet Trudeau posted Monday to the Q & A website Quora, in answer to the question "what are your five favorite books?"

Hanauer's value-added comment: "I'm moving to Canada for sure now."

Oh, but is this Trudeau guy ever a nerd. Admits he has little time to read for fun and adventure anymore because he's always keeping up on policy, but look at those favorites: Nerdstuff through and through. You've got your Stephen King of course, and your Neal Stephenson, the master of erudite cyberpunk who gave us Snow Crash (the main character is a guy named Hiro Protagonist), and your Tad Williams, who goes more toward the sword-n-sorcery stuff. The two novels Trudeau names are also science fictional -- Ready Player One is a dystopian SF story about adventures in virtual reality, which is a far preferable place than the dying overheated Earth of 2044 that Donald Trump is helping to build right now. And La Part de l'autre is a 2001 alternate-history affair (never published in English as far as we can tell) about the life of a young man named Adolf H. who in 1908 gets accepted to the Vienna School of Fine Arts, becomes a painter, and never bothers with politics. But he does meet a nice doctor named Freud who helps him work through some issues.

Sure, we could wish Trudeau had included Kurt Vonnegut in his list. So it goes. And Trudeau is probably violating some kind of Canadian Content regulation by not mentioning Margaret Atwood, eh?

Now, obviously, Hanauer tweeted this for the nonfiction listing, justifiably delighted to see that sexxy Justin Trudeau is a fan of The Gardens of Democracy, a 2012 book Hanauer co-wrote with Eric Liu, about how we'd do well to shift our political and economic metaphors from images involving machinery -- a decidedly Industrial Age model in which regulation and taxes slow the economic engine -- toward more organic ways of thinking, as they outlined in a 2012 op-ed synopsis of their thinking:

Economies, as social scientists now understand, aren’t simple, linear and predictable, but complex, nonlinear and ecosystemic. An economy isn’t a machine; it’s a garden. It can be fruitful if well tended, but will be overrun by noxious weeds if not.

In this new framework, which we call Gardenbrain, markets are not perfectly efficient but can be effective if well managed. Where Machinebrain posits that it’s every man for himself, Gardenbrain recognizes that we’re all better off when we’re all better off. Where Machinebrain treats radical inequality as purely the predictable result of unequally distributed talent and work ethic, Gardenbrain reveals it as equally the self-reinforcing and compounding result of unequally distributed opportunity.

See also this nifty way of rethinking metaphors for what government does:

[C]onsider spending. The word spending means literally “to use up or extinguish value,” and most Americans believe that’s exactly what government does with their tax dollars. But government spending is not a single-step transaction that burns money as an engine burns fuel; it’s part of a continuous feedback loop that circulates money. Government no more spends our money than a garden spends water or a body spends blood. To spend tax dollars on education and health is to circulate nutrients through the garden.

Yep, Canada's prime minister is reading hippie economics from a Seattle venture capitalist (Hanauer) and a former Obama advisor (Liu). That's pretty groovy.

But don't you miss having a president who you could be confident actually read books? Not that man in the White House, who when asked what he's reading, panics and blurts out "All Quiet on the Western Front," which he probably skipped reading in high school, too.

What we'd really rather do, if we could, would be to get a bottle of Labatt's 150 ale and talk books with Justin Trudeau.

OK, it was an April Fool's joke about Canada's 150th anniversaire.

As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden. There will be growth in the spring!

[Nick Hanauer on Twitter / NYT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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