The year after election year ought not bring forth funnier and more desperate acts of foolishness in public – but it did – it so did and I was fair swept off my feet trying to play catch-up in my role.
The trick as ever was to write believable fantasies of people who had done something unbelievable.
Exhibit A: John Key and the ponytail. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen but there it was. I never thought of the PM’s relentless pranking of the waitress as anything resembling a sackable offence but it was certainly outlandish behaviour even for the Prime Minister of a milk republic buried somewhere in the South Pacific.
How best to approach it as satire?
I wasn’t equal to the task.
I wrote a few lines on the affair and wished it would go away.
There is sometimes something terribly humourless about satire; it doesn’t cope terribly well when life imitates parody.
Happily Key presented himself as a steadier target all throughout the year.
It’s difficult to take him seriously as he goes about his business in New Zealand.
It’s impossible when he’s out of the country and strides the world stage like a nobody.
There he was this year in the Middle East, where he was explicitly on a trade mission and then at Apec where he was implicitly on a trade mission.
Let him through! He’s a milkman.
Key topped the chart with six diaries devoted to his doings.
Andrew Little was a long way behind – he doesn’t do much that’s notably foolish – perhaps because he doesn’t seem to do much at all.