Professor Christopher Dummitt of Trent University presents Mackenzie King’s Secret Life and the Decline of Deference in Canadian Politics.
The story of Mackenzie King’s secret life – including his spiritualism and his bizarre love life – became front page news for decades after he died. Weird Willie King became a posthumous CanCon celebrity, migrating from the history books to novels, poetry, plays and even a three-part CBC docudrama. This talk revisits the Weird Willie phenomenon and asks, why did it happen? In particular, the talk highlights one of the surprising reasons for the public’s fascination with Weird Willie King: the spread of Freudian ideas in the postwar decades and how this shaped Canadians’ views of politicians and their private lives.
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