Keeping up with K-Rudd
Somewhere amid the fanfare over his ability to speak fluent Mandarin and his merciless work ethic, it has slipped by unnoticed that Kevin Rudd shares the all-important first letter of the Kardashian klan. Err sorry, that should be clan.
From mum Kris to daughter Kim and assorted siblings, only names beginning with K will suffice. Even the romantic bit players (Kris, Kanye) are expected to conform to this peculiar preoccupation with the 11th member of the alphabet.
But it is not here that the similarities end between the world’s most famous reality family and Australia’s most famous on-again/off-again prime minister.
In recent days both Kim Kardashian and the former Labor leader have taken to social media to share baby snaps of loved ones in what, in both instances, was a thinly veiled exercise in self-promotion.
First up was Rudd, who felt compelled to tweet a photo of himself reclining on the lounge with his new granddaughter.
“Heaps of fun having baby Josephine home,” he confided to his one million plus followers.
Clearly no stranger to the desire to share an intimate family moment with a mass audience, everyone’s favourite Kardashian was quick to follow suit, posting a poolside photo of her nephew.
“My little Mason!!!!” she gushed for the benefit of one or two people whose eyes might have actually been drawn to her words and not the accompanying image of her curvaceous posterior.
Surely even onlookers particularly susceptible to cooing over babies and toddlers were left with little choice but to suspect that behind the respective cuteness lies a self-serving strategy.
For Kardashian it was merely an excuse to showcase her most famous asset – her photogenic rear end – and assure her fans that not even pregnancy can diminish her sex appeal.
As for Rudd, who also posted a video of him sitting alongside his granddaughter while she celebrated her first Chinese New Year, it’s a tactic so transparent even a political dunce can decipher the encrypted message with ease.
I have a family! I’m a granddad! And a doting one at that!
Sure flight attendants and lowly office staff might flee in terror at the sight of me but I can’t be all bad if an adorable baby is smiling in my direction!
While he’s hardly the first politician to use a family album as leverage, there’s an undeniably more ominous subtext to the kissing-a-baby cliché when your rival just happens to have once been famously labelled “deliberately barren”.
As we all know, the Member for Griffith is not just any backbencher seeking to capitalise on a folksy image among his local electorate.
His key – some might say only – objective is to further undermine the woman who replaced him as prime minister almost three years ago.
And what better way to pit himself against Julia Gillard than by reminding voters of his credentials as a husband, father and grandfather at every possible opportunity?
Even when devoid of a more sinister motive, the time-honoured phenomenon of politicians smooching unsuspecting babies has never been anything short of bizarre.
Just who is supposed to be won over by the awkward tussle between an uncomfortable MP and suspicious tot? Has a single vote ever been swayed by this most manipulative and hackneyed of political ploys?
If we are to survive the long months ahead until the campaign-that-isn’t-really-an-official-campaign-just-yet finally draws to a close in September, a few courtesies must be observed.
Imposing a limit on the number of television commercials the major parties are allowed to screen per day would be a good start.
So too a moratorium on vision of politicians cuddling up with human beings who are approximately 18 years too young to vote. And yes, Kevin Kardashian, that includes babies who happen to be members of your immediate family.
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