The Beaz is back

Before all the fuss about John Howard telling lies (again), the commentators were getting quite pleased with Mark Latham’s return to form, and I can quite say I agree. Although the days of “arse-licker” are sadly behind him, he’s come out some corkers over the last couple of weeks.

Even more pleasing is the return to from of Kim Beazley. Who saw him rip into the government on Lateline over children overboard? All those amazing words, the man is a walking thesaurus who has truly . . . how would he put it? . . . achieved heretofore unsurpassed degrees of prolixity. Check out this gem:

Now, if Mr Scrafton’s evidence is as seems to be the case, then the Prime Minister has misled and the Prime Minister clearly knows this which is why he has gone through and his myrmidons have gone through a process of obfuscation all day today.

A myrmidon, folks, is “A faithful follower who carries out orders without question”, according to, and although it’s a big and obscure word most people would need to look up, it is exactly the right word. Amazing.

The rest of the speech is peppered with more great words: veracity, miasma, precarious . . . Wankers use big words to show off, but good writers (or speakers) use a big word if it conveys an idea more precisely than a string of smaller words or a hackneyed phrase, and that’s exactly what Beazley does.

But as much as eggheads like me delight in this sort of language, you can understand why Howard’s anti-intellectual “ordinary bloke” persona, and indeed Latham’s straight-talking Westie attitude, have gone down better with the public. What does it say about us as a society when an inarticulate doofus is President of the US, but people wouldn’t vote for Kim Beazley because he was too bloody intelligent?!

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