Writings of the Week
The prompt for the week was the word 'preposterous'. Wondering why our writers' minds so immediately turned political ...
'Preposterous' usually comes with the superfluous but emphatic 'utterly', as in 'utterly presposterous'. But that's utterly redundant as preposterous itself means 'utterly absurd'.
So what do I find merely preposterous and not worthy of the tautology? Well, for starters, ScoMo’s constant grin. What’s he got to be so happy about? Fooling most of the people most of the time, or just enough voters all of the time to ensure his government will be re-elected?
I find it an utterly absurd waste of press space when his promises are reported as real policies that will provide for the country’s future needs - promises of events so far down the track reporters will have forgotten he hasn’t actually delivered. That’s if we even have a viable press corps in several years' time.
I find it utterly absurd too that the findings of Royal Commission after Royal Commission (religious institutions, banks, aged care, to name the biggies) have been put on the shelf, most unacted upon. All political smoke and mirrors. See, we are doing something, we are looking into it.
The memories of the Press Gallery seeming to last no longer than the 24-hour news cycle. Shock, horror. Onto the next outrage. The abdication of calling truth to power. Now that is truly utterly preposterous.
Geraldine entered the suburban electoral office of The Honourable Michael Bland, MP, Member for Wallametta, Shadow Assistant Minister for Home Affairs.
Geraldine wasn’t her real name and she wasn’t really a woman. She was Gerald when he wasn’t wearing a frock, but now she was Geraldine. He figured that it would be best that a woman pitch the proposal. Unfortunately no woman was forthcoming to assist in the project; in fact Gerald had yet to meet anyone who supported his idea. But still he believed it was worth pursuing.
So he was lobbying his local MP, in a business-like frock, and doing a poor impersonation of a woman. He did have a beautiful bob of fair brown hair, washed and carefully coiffured, but because it was in the evening he had a five o’clock shadow and his legs were all hairy and he wore a pair of men’s shoes. He was a regular kind of guy with reasonably broad shoulders that looked a bit awkward in a dress, but he got the hair right, and that gave him an added confidence as he/she explained his vision to the Shadow Assistant Minister.
The Honourable Michael Bland was dismissive of Geraldine’s proposal.
'It is the most preposterous idea I have had the misfortune of being exposed to,' he said
'You don’t like it?'
Geraldine was not despondent.
'You know, I’ve never met a person who likes the idea, but I can never work out why. Would you mind telling me why?'
'It’s silly, it makes a mockery of the Westminster system, it is unworkable. Does that do? Or should I go on?'
'It’s not unworkable. It could work, really well.'
'An Australian Royal Family selected by lottery?'
'What’s wrong with that?'
'You could end up with any kind of freak in charge.'
'Just like birthright, it’s like a lottery when you think of it. And they wouldn’t be in charge of anything anyway, they’re just a figurehead and rightly so. The whole point is to reinforce that the Head of State has no power. It doesn’t make a mockery of the Westminster system. It champions it.'
'You come in here, wearing a dress, you are obviously a male pretending to be a woman, and you pitch to me the stupidest idea in Christendom.'
'Do you think?'
'Yes, I think,' The Hon. Michael Bland confirmed and then, looking more purposefully at Geraldine, he had to ask, 'Is that your own hair or a wig?'
'It’s all mine.'
'It’s impressive. But your idea has no merit.'
'It might seem too original, I accept that, but just think of the benefits for, say, tourism for example. You know, it’s not that original at all. Don’t you want an Australian Head of State?' 'The Monarchy is archaic. It is a republic that we want.'
The Hon. Michael Bland stood up behind his desk and Geraldine understood this to mean that the meeting had come to an end.
'If it’s just a figurehead, it makes no difference what we call it,' Geraldine said standing up to leave
'Yes it does,' The Hon. Michael Bland said as he ushered Geraldine out the door.
It was a difficult time for visionaries, but Gerald was confident that his good intentioned ambitions for democracy would prevail.
Copyright to the authors Roslyn Lawson & Jim Piotrowski.
Photos (from top): Wiki - Thennicke, Dietmar Rabich, Thennicke.