Which brings us back to the meaning of his socks.
May 4, after all, was not just the day of his summit meeting with Mr. Kenny, but also International Star Wars Day — a.k.a. #MayTheFourthBeWithYou, a.k.a. the day that thousands of “Star Wars” acolytes from around the world indulge their inner fan-geek, dress up like Jedis and announce to everyone in sight, “May the force be with you,” a now-classic line from the movie franchise.
So, while Mr. Trudeau’s choice of ankle wear may not have been meant to underscore his position on Irish-Canadian relations or a new trade deal with the European Union (the subjects of his meeting with Mr. Kenny), they absolutely signaled his membership in the group of unabashed pop culture fans.
Indeed, he posted a picture of the socks on his Twitter account with the words, “These are the socks you are looking for.” That’s another “Star Wars” reference, of course. As of Friday morning, the post had been liked more than 22,000 times.
The socks served to reinforce Mr. Trudeau’s image as a new-gen world leader: one plugged into the zeitgeist and unafraid to shed, or even poke fun at, some of the trappings of office. One who understands the concerns of much of the electorate. There’s nothing like bonding over a mass-movie phenomenon to convince a swath of voters that you share their value system.
Like Mr. Trudeau’s tattoo, his occasional shirtless photograph and his appearance on the cover of a comic book, the socks humanized him and communicated to anyone who saw the photograph of the two politicians in their giant leather wingbacks that, while Mr. Trudeau may occupy the executive chair, he is made in a different mode: politically and personally.
Indeed, almost immediately, the Twittersphere exploded with excitement.
Male politicians have been using their ties as talking points for decades — if you doubt this, consider that I once asked a friend who was a political fixer and who had worked on many campaigns in North and South America if candidates really spent as much time thinking about their ties as I thought they did.
He replied: “I cannot tell you the hours I have spent discussing tie color when we could have been discussing the peace accords.”
But this is the first time in recent years I can remember socks coming into play. Clearly, it’s a potentially effective accessory that has been overlooked. Perhaps it’s time we all start paying attention.