26 Jul. 2006

Happy Birthday, Our Dear Leader

It's difficult to know what to make of this story from the AAP.

Several young women patted Mr Howard on the back, while he was hugged by an exuberant young man amid cries of "Good on you, Johnny" and "Keep up the good work".
It's got a touch of Pyongyang about it, although in Australia at least this kind of thing is reserved for the dear leader's birthday, and then tucked away at the back of the paper.

Can it be true that the people of Melbourne love Howard? The Labor Party also wish him a happy birthday, but this is transparently part of a culture of mutual respect between the alternating parties of government which is insurance for both of them against the day when they swap places.

Some of the Melburnians' comments are somewhat ribald, as indeed are Labour's, but of course this is the way an Australian shows their deepest affection for someone. To treat a leader as a mate is the highest compliment. Of course, some mates are more equal than others.

The question I would really like an answer to is whether it's that people don't know, or whether it's that they don't care, that this man is a racist war criminal. Perhaps they love him because of these aspects. This guy wildly exceeded Howard on both measures, and the adoring crowds were commensurately larger:

From Andrew Montin, check out this example of the kind of respectful criticism that Howard is treated to from allegedly-Marxist news organisations. Howard's complicity in the slaughter in Lebanon, and even the slaughter itself are well-hidden. But that's only a veneer for the sake of (mass-)deniability really, not a thoroughgoing subterfuge. Johnny's trick has always been to allow people to be as racist as they like, while also fervently denying that racism is racist. I gigantic, poker-faced confidence trick. That's why they love him. He has the confidence for all of us, smiles while the bombs drop and assures us all that it's OK, that it's OK to be privileged and racist and complacent and weak and exploited, in short to be whatever we are.

Update: I got home tonight to television news spinning the news quite a different way. Turns out the guy who hugged the PM was holding a screwdriver! He could, it's true, have had a go at killing Howard with that. Apparently, this is a security issue. Apparently, our dear leader should stay out of the limelight.

The whole thing is ridiculous. Everyone in Sydney who cares to knows that the PM walks in by the harbour every morning in such a way that anyone who wants to assassinate him easily could. No one wants to assassinate him. There's really no point, unless you're one of those who wants to succeed him, i.e. Beazley or Costello. No one wants to kill Howard and this of course is the narcissistic wound for the Australian media: if a guy with a screwdriver tried to cuddle President Bush, he'd have has brains shot our of his ear, whereas Howard is like a teddy bear for every retard in the country. Rather, we should hide him away from the public, thus creating the illusion that he, and by extension we, matter.