Wednesday, May 26, 2004

European Elections

So much more colourful than the equivalent English 'tacky' or American 'flakey'. It's Australian, of course, and refers to those clusters of shit-balls (known as 'dags' or, even better, 'dingleberries') that hang off the backsides of unshorn sheep: such an animal is referred to as being 'daggy'.
Of all the art forms, the local electioneering pamphlet has to be the daggiest - aspiring to the PR gloss of the better-funded central office prototypes, but with all the undigested crap of failed comprehension of the actual nature of the beast hanging out for all to see.
You can practically hear the thinking, can't you? 'We want a nice, average family - reach out to the Common Man - Labour cares for the future generation - all smiles - a snapshot - something for the family album....' ya-da-ya-da-ya-da .....
Hey guys, gather round.
Tip #1: Wait for a sunny day. A warm sunny day. The Happy Family myth requires all the help it can get, and the grey light of a cold, drizzly Sunday morning can only serve to expose the fraud.
Tip #2: Fake the family. Real families simply can't do 'happy' nearly as well as models. Self-conscious fixed smiles just say "Can we make this the last one? I'm frozen and I think I left the gas on." What we want is fantasy, not a reflection of the reality of how awful Sunday mornings can really be.
Tip #3: Ditch the purple. Purple is a bad colour. No-one - no-one - is going to vote for a man who wears a purple shirt - especially if the freshly-unwrapped crease is evident on the shoulder, and especially if the wife is wearing - omygod - mauve!
Of course, there are constituencies which might respond positively to this image, people who might regard it as an aspirational model. Romanians, possibly. Czechs or Poles, maybe, circa 1980. Certainly, it's an image from another time - another culture, even. See, comrades, if you toil diligently and fulfill your three-year quota, our glorious ten-year plan will eventually unfold, like a healthy cabbage, and you, too, will have a shared apartment and perhaps even a television receiver.
I mean - could you get it wronger if you tried?
Look - it's a dreary playground at the edge of a dreary housing estate somewhere in Nowhere. It's winter (bleak, bare-branched willows - which would be weeping if only they could) - it's a Sunday morning - there's no-one else around. It's drizzling. It's cold. Plucked from their warm beds, this hapless family has been dragged out into the park with barely time to get dressed and brush their hair (Mum washed hers, but wasn't given time to dry it), where someone plonked the eldest two into a tyre-swing and said "Smile please."
And that's it.
Caption: 'Labour - working hard for Britain.'
What the ... ?
Do they want to drive everyone into the arms of - well, anyone else's arms, really - anyone who'll offer an alternative to this vision of hell? They might as well have put a thought-bubble above hubby's head saying "for godsake won't someone please rescue me from all this?" and above wifey's saying "I'll give it one more year, then I'll kill him."
There's one scrap of cynical pleasure: I'd like to think that the brain-deads who constructed this image sub-consciously chose to place those two kids in a tyre-swing as an ironic reference to the Labour Party as the evil Lords of Spin. But somehow I doubt it.
It's just daggy.
I'll be voting Green, by the way.

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