Shadow foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd‘s unimaginative catch-phrases are sending the wrong messages. Calling Foreign Minister Alexander Downer “hairy-chested” won’t work. And all this talk of cold showers is revealing far too much of your personal life. Here’s why…
Ever since Crikey listed Rudd’s repetitive catch-phrases — assertive government foreign policy is “hairy-chested”, opponents “should take a long cold shower”, amongst others — I’ve noticed, yes, he really does use them all the time. Including this morning’s edition of The Insiders (transcript available Monday).
Rudd is presumably trying to follow Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda number 14 by using memorable labels. (Well, either that or he’s too stupid to remember more than a handful of standard media soundbites.) But he’s forgetting Principle 14a. His labels don’t evoke “responses which the audience previously possesses”.
Downer simply isn’t hairy-chested. Woolly-headed, maybe. An object of ridicule, certainly. But for me, “Alexander Downer” and “hairy-chested” just links to “fishnet stockings” to deliver 70s Glam Rock. I laugh, yes, but we’re already laughing. We all know Downer stays on as Minister for Cocktail Parties because he was a good little boy and resigned the Liberal leadership in January 1995 to make way for John Howard — who was elected PM the following year.
Downer is the only federal Liberal leader never to lead the party into an election. Like the rest of Howard’s cabinet, he’s just a mouthpiece — but Downer’s mouth is solely for canapés going in, dodgey karaoke coming out, and self-satisfied smugness in between.
As for “taking a cold shower”… Ah, Kevin! What does this tell us about your fantasies? And what do we make of communications minister Helen Coonan suggesting that critics of her new media laws take a cold shower together, along with Senator Stephen Conroy?
Kevin? Helen? Stephen? What have you three been getting up to?
Hmmm… Should I have included photos with this post?