Because I am a politically astute member of society, never happier than when watching Parliament Question Time and certainly not an ignorant boob who gleans her political insights from talkback radio and pages of the newspaper left by the bog roll I recently had a bit of an argument about our former Prime Minister Paul Keating. Yes, that’s right, and when I’m not having intelligent conversations about politics I’m reading books with long works in them and listening to Wagner while I do it.
Keating, as regular readers will know (Hi, Mum) is a favourite of mine for a slew of reasons, at least one of which is the brilliance of the Keating musical which might strike you as wrong but is nevertheless The Truth. Anyway, this argument centred around some of Keating’s notorious put-downs. He’s not, my opponent who shall remain nameless to protect his identity but two drinks will buy you his name and address, a very nice guy. Look, my opponent said, have a look at some of the things he says to other people. Some of it’s kinda personal - who SAYS that in Parliament?
This, to my mind, was no argument. In fact my opponent seemed to be arguing my point, if somewhat circuitously. I have always had a soft spot for smart bastards. I don’t mean just guys that are smart but guys that are smart and… well possibly kinda smarmy or arseholey about it. I know, I know, this isn’t healthy thinking but it’s about as close as I get to fancying Bad Boys. Give me Keating in a suit with a crisp comeback over some tool with tatts and a bike anyday. So Keating’s smack talk and his ability to run rhetorical circles around most of his opponents delights me.
Is this a good reason to like a politician? Maybe not. Is it a good reason to like a boy? Oh C’mon, it’s practically the ONLY reason to like a boy.
But what do I know – most of The Keating Years is filled, for me, with memories of trying to find a pair of glasses that made me look less, rather than more, retarded than I am; lusting after my brother’s friend for an embarassingly long time; and pretending I understood integration in maths. Over to you, readers: what do you think? Argumentative bully or genius? I give you Keating…
On John Howard:
1. “What we have got is a dead carcass, swinging in the breeze, but nobody will cut it down to replace him.”
2. But I will never get to the stage of wanting to lead the nation standing in front of the mirror each morning clipping the eyebrows here and clipping the eyebrows there with Janette and the kids: It’s like ‘Spot the eyebrows’.”
3. "I am not like the Leader of the Opposition. I did not slither out of the Cabinet room like a mangy maggot."
On John Hewson:
1. This is the sort of little-boy, stamp your foot stuff which comes from a financial yuppie when you shoe him into parliament.
2. Like being flogged with a warm lettuce.
3. I was implying that the Honorable Member for Wentworth was like a lizard on a rock - alive, but looking dead.
To Richard Carleton:
"You had an important place in Australian society on the ABC and you gave it up to be a pop star…with a big cheque…and now you’re on to this sort of stuff. That shows what a 24 carat pissant you are, Richard, that’s for sure."
To Former Labour politician, Jim McClelland (on the phone):
"That you Jim? Paul Keating here. Just because you swallowed a fucking dictionary when you were about 15 doesn’t give you the right to pour a bucket of shit over the rest of us.”