Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s ‘suppository’ comment prompts the author to pull out some truly odious political gaffes.
Tony Abbott is a kind, generous man. For years, he has provided print, TV and online media, not to mention an army of stand up comics around the world, quotes saturated with the choicest misogyny. And just when things got predictable, he began throwing in ‘slip of the tongue’ moments.
Most recent was this: “No one — however smart, however well-educated, however experienced — is the suppository of all wisdom.” Bless his heart. Suppository, dear readers, is a medicated substance introduced into uhm…an orifice if you will, where body heat causes it to melt. Abbott is in esteemed company. We all know what foot in the mouth is. But when a politician does more than just put it in, we call it a foot lolly.
Where does one start? Anthologies have been compiled, hour-long shows staged with nothing but his quotes. One really can’t play favourites with Bushisms, but if we were to choose a few, let’s ‘Smoke ‘em out’! You can’t really hold the former U.S. President responsible for his words, because, in his own words, “See, I don’t need to explain why I say things. That’s one of the interesting things about being President.” Speaking coherently is a problem because “This foreign policy stuff is frustrating.” But if you think he’d make an effort, then you “misunderestimated me.” Because “when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” And all this would be “a heck of a lot easier if this were a dictatorship, just so long as I’m the dictator.”
One Thanksgiving day, Sarah Palin chose not to kill her turkey and instead returned it to the turkey farm. Speaking to cameras, she hoped ‘Alaskans would find nourishment elsewhere’ and granted ‘Thanksgiving a full amnesty and pardon’. The interview went viral, but not for reasons Palin would like. You see, the former Governor failed to notice that a man was cutting the heads off turkeys and bleeding them dry, ten feet from her! She was a crack shot with a rifle, and often shot off with her mouth. But her practical gags are the best. Why wouldn’t they be, if the joke was always on her?
His own vice
In Sholay, what would Thakur (look ma, no hands) have done if Amitabh Bachchan offered him a handshake? Joe Biden would know. The U.S. Vice President is a solid guy. Loves trains, hates teleprompters and says things like “...God rest her soul. Oh wait, your mom’s still alive.” Anyway, back to our little anecdote. At a campaign event, overcome by solidarity to Chuck Graham, the local Senator, Biden said, “Stand up, Chuck! Let ‘em see ya.” But Chuck didn’t stand up. Rude of him? Well, it wasn’t rudeness as much as being in a wheelchair. Awkward minutes of disaster management ensued, but the embarrassment train just chugged on.
Learn to love the bomb
The Cold War was on between America and Russia. For perspective, this cold war was even more intense than couples’ arguments over the TV remote and sometimes even escalated to the level of in-laws’ conflict! Amid mirages of mushroom clouds, President Ronald Reagan took to the stage one day to reassure his people. The curtain was drawn and he didn’t realise the mic was on. Here’s what he said - “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The terrible joke sent the Doomsday Clock into alarm mode, but fortunately, Russia had a bad sense of humour and decided Reagan was funny.
Fist for an egg
Former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was a seasoned politician and an amateur boxer. But one man thought the reverse and at an election campaign, threw an egg smack on Prescott’s face. With lightning speed, the Labour leader landed a left jab to the ham-and-egger’s face. Over the next half a minute, the two punched, wrestled and had a little brawl on live television. If you subscribe to political logic, you would assume the campaign ended there. However, Prescott’s constituency, it seemed, subscribed to WWF (not the wildlife one) and, impressed by the pugilistic display, decided to boost his popularity ratings.