Campaigns, crackpots and colourful characters

Article by Lauren Rosewarne /
Larvatus Prodeo  /
August 16, 2010 /

Link to original unavailable /

Getting roused enough to blog about the election has been difficult. Amidst sterile speeches and predictable press conferences and those delightfully dodgy dowries, summoning creative juices has been hard. Hard, but not impossible. Something keeping me buoyant, something making the whole thing strangely bearable are the characters. The sharp-tongued, the psycho, the strange. When so many seem straight from central casting, there are those few pollies who, fabulously, are in a complete league of their own.

Truth be told, loony Latham lost me long ago. There was the incident with the taxi driver and the temper and the broken arm. And the one with the photographer and the temper and the fast food restaurant. I’ve fallen for alcoholics, I’ve fallen for drug addicts, but thugs are just… thugs. And yet, while Latham’s talents are likely better suited to the vowing-vengeance Chaouk family than federal politics, by no means am I lamenting his return.

With no qualifications in psychology, dubbing someone insane is out of my skill set. Signs however, are clearly there. From his strange stroking allegations against the PM to his Nelson Muntz-interview technique, he’s a delightful plot twist. And that twist was beautifully described by yet another favourite election nutjob, Barnaby Joyce.

My preferred Sunday morning TV fare involves Rage when the playlist is good or NBC’s Dateline when the case is gory. Last Sunday however, I gave ABC24 a go. And was duly rewarded. There, the reliably ridiculous Barnaby asked the host whether he watched Days of Our Lives. And the host, in perfectly ABC-style, looked incredulous. And batty Barnaby, in the style of every man unable to own his perverse penchants, stammered through an explanation of watching DOOL in his crazy hazy uni youth. And then he charmed me. Barnaby offered the perfect Salem/Election 2010 connection: Stefano DiMera.

Known also as Phoenix, the thoroughly Transylvanian Stefano has survived plane crashes and car bombings and drownings and heart attacks. And he’s organised kidnappings and surgery follies, secret doors and baby swaps. And Barnaby, in that wonderful Barnabian way, likened the resurrections of DiMera to the reappearances of Rudd and Latham; ghosts of Labor past.

Ridiculous and hyperbolic but so thoroughly apt, Barnaby had me at hello. I like loose cannons. I like unvetted comments. I like failed attempts at humour. And I love the crackpots. No, I wouldn’t vote for them and I don’t want them next to me on a tram or in a lift, but my do they bring a certain special something to the table.

© Lauren Rosewarne