Thursday, February 25, 2010

Arthur Sinodinos, Miranda Devine, and a summit to find new political metaphors ...

(Above: oh dear, is that a gesture worthy of Anne of Green Gables? Does wearing a shit-eating grin constitute a basis for true love? Could it just be a cleverly disguised lovers' spat? What to make of Abbott's grin jibe no laughing matter for Emerson? Yep, you've guessed it, true romance is just below the surface. Now read on ...)

It's hard being a commentariat columnist in search of a handy metaphor.

How's this for an opener?

Tony Abbott is a latter-day Muhammad Ali dancing around Kevin Rudd's Joe Frazier.

Yeah, that makes sense. Tony Abbott as a name-changing, military service-evading, trash-talking member of the Nation of Islam. Fits like a glove. All Abbott needs to do is change his name to Tony X and the makeover will be complete.

Oh wait a minute, I think all Arthur Sinodinos was trying to say in PM should box clever with GST is this:

He messes with Rudd's mind, taunting him on climate change, industrial relations and health.

Sheesh, it ain't half as much as Sinodinos has messed with my mind, as he clearly knows bugger all about Muhammad Ali and diddly squat about Joe Frazier. The Irish Dominican nun who used to worship Ali and belt nonsense into us would be appalled.

As a result, the rest of Arthur Sinodinos's column passed in an eye-glazing daze of anxiety, as I kept a look out for further silly metaphors, only to arrive at his notion that Chairman Rudd should front up to root and branch tax reform. Which somehow made me think Sinodinos was the Sonny Liston of commentariat columnists.

Oh and by that I mean no more than he can be knocked over in a couple of seconds by an invisible punch.

Over at the Herald, the metaphorical fun continued with Miranda the Devine, who clearly lives a rich fantasy life and isn't afraid to write about it. Overwhelmed and awed by the Tony Abbott juggernaut, despairing at Chairman Rudd's verbosity and pomposity, and lack of lucidity, she elevates Julia Gillard to the position of teasing heroine:

She (Gillard) and Nicola Roxon play the role of the pigtailed girls in school who gang up and taunt the naughty boy with the big ears who hasn't a hope of outwitting them. Roxon yesterday in question time, for instance, made raunchy ''balls'' jokes at Abbott's expense.

Yep, if you want a stereotype about a female politician - or just women in general - Miranda the Devine is your 'go to' commentariat columnist, and golly she's in good form in No romantic ending likely for the Julia and Tony show. But then she decides to go over the top and far away into the Canadian wilderness with Anne of Green Gables:

Gillard has described their relationship as the ''Punch and Judy show for Australian politics''. And when he became Opposition Leader last year, Abbott declared he would have to stop flirting with her.

She is Anne of Green Gables to Abbott's Gilbert Blythe. In the best-selling children's book, Anne and Gilbert meet at school and become instant enemies and rivals after he pulls her hair and calls her Carrots and she smashes a slate over his head.

Hmm, last time I looked, Gillard wasn't an orphan, though I suppose you could argue Barry in Wales, where Gillard was born, has a passing resemblance to Prince Edward Island.

Passing, like ships in the night, in much the same way as the Devine's outlook clearly reflects an unhealthy interest in bodice rippers:

From then on, a romantic frisson between the pair lasts through several novels until finally they acknowledge their love and marry.

No such happy ending awaits our pair.

Well not if the Devine keeps on writing about them in this way, brooding about romantic frissons and dreaming the dream of suburban housewives as they seek to resolve their unresolved sexual tensions through a romantic idyll.

I mean there's politics, and then there's abject metaphorical stupidity.

What's even more alarming is the romantic love affair between the Devine and Gillard:

The Deputy Prime Minister spoke so much sense in her speech, and answered questions with such verve and wit, that reporters leaving the Press Club could do little more than shake their heads in admiration.

Oh dear, talk about an unhealthy situation. Two women and a man, the kind of triangle which always ends in tears. Could we be heading for a long overdue re-make of D. W. Griffith's Two Women and a Man? With the Devine as the woman scorned?

Meanwhile, loon pond is clearing the decks of all metaphors, and making space for the commentariat columnists to go on a giant bush bash of Abbott - please get your axe handles ready - with the news that he's organising a conference for the brightest minds of a generation to produce the greatest ideas of the millennium.

Let's not worry about the unhealthy resemblance to Chairman Rudd's 2020 folly - after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this is just a policy roundtable and a think tank, a mini-summit, although attended by some of the deepest and smartest thinkers in Australia.

Sure, it will shake the tree, and apples will fall to the ground, or on heads, and produce shouts of 'eureka', and Abbott can hear and learn from great minds, and test ideas and indulge in vigorous debate (Use your brains at policy roundtable, Abbott tells Coalition), but shouldn't the commentariat columnists also dust off a few of their favourite adjectives?

Like blowhard hot air fest, all talk, no action chooks in a barnyard hoe down, grand standing dribble, gab fest, convocation of chatterboxes, gaggle of grandees out of touch with the real people, air and bubble heads in search of a free lunch, a political stunt bigger than Evel Knievel, and so on and so forth.

Oh it'll be a grand time, as Abbott roles out the fresh ideas derived from his collection of the best and brightest minds, and the smartest and deepest thinkers, and the sharp edged cynical minds of the commentariat columnists tear apart and ravage them as the stuff of political show ponies.

Why even now in my mind's eye, I can see Miranda the Devine noting how the teased and tortured Abbott and his mini-summit attendees are just hapless puppets to be tortured by the conniving, cunning, carrot-topped Gillard. So like a woman! Slate smasher!

Second thoughts, as we've ended back up with Miranda the Devine, we offer up this song as a guide to future columns, politicians and male-female relationships.

Anyone with a deep aversion to Glen Campbell should leave now, and turn out the lights as they go. No sense here, only nonsense, as it is every day on loon pond ...

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