Abbott v Putin: Will the G20 turn into a naked wrestling match?

Someone should tell Tony Abbott that gaffes aren’t like baby turtles; you don’t increase their chances of slipping by watchful predators by producing more of them. It certainly seems like he’s trying to increase his output. Not even a whole day has passed since his reality-shunning collection of mouth sounds “Coal is good for humanity” (why not just come out and say “the apocalypse really sorts out back pain”) and he’s already moved on to threatening a world leader while apparently being ventriloquised by a school kid.

What was the reckless, childish taunt? To the sound of foreheads being slapped everywhere, on Monday the prime minister threatened to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin, leading to the inevitable mass purge of jokes that turned your timelines into a scrolling tapestry of male chests.

To clarify, far from being the least inspiring clothing company in history, a shirt-front ranges from forcefully grabbing someone’s shirt to knocking them over with all the Australian football gusto of a charging wall of meat.

However Abbott meant it, this isn’t the language we want from someone about to host the G20 talks. It’s hard to imagine how an occasion so far-reaching could be matched by language so counter to its goals. You might as well have Lemmy give a speech to open a monastery.

Perhaps he’s trying to impress the public, in which case, if this is the image of the Australian public Abbott has, shame on us. How much more machismo does he think we can mentally ingest? We’ve already got our own “Team Australia” (though it was very weird to create a team and then kick everyone off it: the gay community, Muslims, climate scientists – who’s left on this rapidly diminishing team?) and we’re now involved in a military conflict.

Any more blokey patriotic posturing and I’ll throw up an Australian flag made of biceps. I’m not sure, on top of all that, if we need the added testicular swagger of an international man-tussle.

Putin is a man so obsessed with looking butch, entire meme factories exist doing nothing more than churning out endless repurposed images of him flopping out his supple ham chest as he subordinates an entire Noah’s Ark’s worth of fauna. How wise is it then, in trying to appear the better person, to meet him on his own terms? Keep going this way and the entire G20 could end up looking like the erotic imaginings of D H Lawrence – a bunch of world leaders wrestling each other naked in front of a fireplace.

Whatever Russia’s potential involvement in the downing of flight MH17 may be, bringing the language of loutish confrontation to the G20 arena serves no one except Putin. Either Abbott will have to be the diplomatic host, apologise and look weak after his zeppelin-inflating brainfart, or he’ll have to keep ramping up the tough talk until we reach the inevitable bloody denouement; judo blackbelt Putin performing a five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique.

Maybe we should just make it a G18 this year and leave these two kids to fight it out behind the bike sheds while the adults talk.

Source: The Guardian, 14 October 2014

You can comment this article, but links are not allowed.

Оставить комментарий