Boring is Good

I’m bored. With the school holidays around the corner parents everywhere dread these two words. The thing is, I know how kids feel. I’m bored too. Where have all the politicians gone? Where’s Rodney’s jacket? I’m missing South American politics. No, really. Rodney would have a field day over there. Except of course he wouldn’t live long. He’d be found hanging with his hands behind his back and a suicide note written in someone else’s handwriting, in his mouth. Whistle blowers don’t blow hard for very long, not in Argentina anyway. And when will we catch Phil Goff in a midnight tryst with cocaine and taxi boys? I’m not holding my breath. All our politicians are such wowsers when it comes to serious corruption and silliness they give us so little to work with.

Can you imagine, seeing Jeanette Fitzsimmons on the cover of North and South in nothing more than a kakapo feather shawl? You know you’ll never live to see the day but Argentina’s ex-president and still serving senator Menem’s, Environment minister posed nude for a magazine. Save for the fox fur throw around her shoulders, a species it transpired, on the verge of extinction. His minister of finance used public funds for … I kid you not, a bum implant and then there was Menem himself, claiming he’d been stung by a bee when his collagen lip fillers went all Angelina Jolie on him. And we get all excited about a bit of exuberance on electoral spending and a pair of publicly funded undies all those years ago. We are so politically Presbyterian it’s just not funny.

And what are the chances of catching Key selling guns to Somalian pirates? Depressingly slim one would imagine.
The Argentimes 1/11/2008

This week Menem goes to trial for selling anti-tank missiles and artillery, to Croatia, among other insane nations, in the nineties. This was ironically, when Argentina ( represented at that point by Menem), was one of the nations considered independent enough of the civil war in Yugoslavia to act on behalf of the U.N. to help broker a peace deal. This is akin to getting Imelda Marcos to act as a counsellor for a guy who has a compulsive shoe fetish. You just know it will end in tears.

It’s also about the same time that some naughty whistle blower discovered that the serial numbers on the arms in Menem’s factory all had duplicate numbers and then mysteriously the factory (and an entire block of residential and commercial buildings) blew up leaving little trace of, well, anything at all. I was the only person in Argentina who believed that it was an accident. I was teaching English at a military air base at the time. The pilots all did well, and as a treat one of the head honchos with lots of stripey bits on his shoulders took me on a tour of the base. He introduced me to the weaponry research lab and then into an area with lots of computer screens. “This guy controls all the explosive material that is stored around Argentina – he knows how much is where and how old it is. It’s a very important job!” said stripey shoulders.

Now, according to my husband, my Spanish has the delicacy of ‘knife wounds inflicted by a psycho-maniac’. A point, while unfair, I should have considered when I asked, “So, if there are such good systems in place for managing this stuff, how did so much of it get stored somewhere so dangerous when that factory in Cordoba blew up?” The computer screen guy turned into a gibbering wreck, Mr. Stripey shoulders barked “See her Out!” and ended our brief, if slightly unpleasant tour by storming out, and the old guy who’d been opening doors for us doubled over in badly concealed mirth and looked like he was going to wet himself. “Que?” I said, “I just wanted to know.” “So do we all – it’s a good question, just not a good idea to ask it” he shrugged.

And that’s the thing about boring western democracies. You get to ask what you like. I like boring. Boring, especially in politicians, is good.

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