Peacock Power: male vanity in politics

Mahogany Men Sarkozy and Cameron

I’ve been a bit lax in posting my New Internationalist columns at my blog. So here’s one I made earlier.

Vanity, vanity: why does just about every geopolitical headline that pops into view of late scream vanity? It’s wall-to-wall The Big I Am without a hint of introspection or self-critique; a solipsistic Me-fest of global proportions ready to rain down death and destruction because ‘I believed it to be true’, although what they really want to do is mutter like the robo-glamour pusses in the ads: ‘because I’m worth it’.

OK, that sounds a bit like me on a good bad day, but at least I’m not running the world so my powers of destruction are a tad limited. Unlike the regiment of boys who can’t wait to play with the toys as soon as they get into office, blowing up other boys to whom they’ve sold their toys, with the addition of spiffing new X-factor secret ingredients they’ll include in the next round of arms sales. A round which will be taking place as soon as the old stock’s exhausted, and then the circus can start all over again.

The chumps in charge insist there’s no money for useful stuff like my local library and the Trumptonesque fire station that gives my inner city high street a villagy feel, but plenty available for the live demonstration of our arms industry that is yet another liberal intervention. You can hear the ghost of Milton Friedman laughing like a drain — the sort that goes gurgle, gurgle as our collective money pours down it .

Who are these geniuses proving the adage that repeating the same mistakes without modifying your behaviour is a neon sign of rampant stupidity squared? Unless, of course, they do know exactly what they’re doing …

Is it me or have they slid off the same conveyor belt? As slick and well-oiled as a middle-eastern despot’s back yard, with impeccable hair, teeth and wardrobe, they take naturally to cracking the whip over the rest of us.

As empathy and social connection disappears, vanity fills the void. ‘If they can’t love me, let them admire my three hundred dollar manicure.’

Exhibits A and B: Tony Blair and John Boehner (crazy name, boring Speaker in the House of Representatives). However, it could be Sarkozy, Obama, Berlusconi or Putin, or any overly made-over politician with plucked eyebrows, neat cuticles and a leathery complexion. Botox and lasered eyeballs … ye gods, once it was only male models and footballers who wore their insecurities so flagrantly on their cashmere sleeves.

Give me the fat-slob old progressives of yesteryear. Gravitas-laden politicians who knew war was hell instead of gravy-train opportunists who got their social awareness from shoot-em-up video games. Hirsute intellectual labour-movement veterans who’d rather be reading books than pumping iron in the gym. The soles of their vintage Doc Martens worn to a micrometer by endless marches rather than at the crosstrainer. Who’d choose working at the treadmill over running on one, or who’d rather spar with the powers-that-be than be power-housed in a spa. Who’d rather protest against a war for oil than be massaged with oil … And the same goes for the men.

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3 thoughts on “Peacock Power: male vanity in politics”

  1. Harpy, that Miliband loop is so bizarre. Ed has surely seen enough telly interviews to know that wasn't going to play well with anyone. It's now turned into a text-book example of how not to give an interview. A dead giveaway that they have no strategy of principles to guide them on the cuts and how to challenge them — if you have no heart to your politics you can't extemporise, improvise or give leadership.

    Rustbelt, I trust by now you've seen the clip to which we refer and which has been fascinating an entire nation. If not, watch it here.
    It's ghastly but hilarious. Car-crash political performance. Jeez! This is who's running things?

  2. "Give me the fat-slob old progressives of yesteryear."

    These highly styled politicians are so damned creepy as well (sign of too much Botox) and shows it's all about presentation, superficiality and shallowness with these Botox right-wing clowns. Waiting for Mister Ed's makeover though with him he keeps uttering, loop style, the same paragraph. Case of better programming and batteries from the True Blue Labour types in keeping him under control.

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