on yhä vähän väsynyt


« Uudempi -

Enkunkurssin satoa:Keskiviikko 29.04.2009 17:37

The Government of Busy-bodies

"Alexander Stubb challenges the ministers to a candy strike." "Alexander Stubb runs the triathlon." "Alexander Stubb jogs from Brussels to Switzerland to watch the Hockey World Championships and then cycles his way to Finland." Even if slightly exaggerated, the headlines on our big-grinned Foreign Minister have had a certain characteristic ever since he took the post from the unfortunately lecherous Ilkka Kanerva almost a year ago: he is young, he is fit and he is the busybodied emblem of the new generation of Finnish politicians. A busybody, you ask? Let me explain it to you.

It used to be that politicians were respectable. Respectable in the sense that they were usually male, marinated in alcohol all day in various lunch meetings, rarely got the exercise they needed and certainly could be counted on to look the part of a world-weary, middle-aged career politician, or as the Finnish term goes, "a political fried chicken". The appearance of the energetic female politician on the uppermost echelons of politics was the first sign of change to this time-old tradition, but the male politicians still mostly looked either mean, hopelessly alcoholic or just vaguely shiftless. This didn't mean that we couldn't relate to them or that they couldn't relate to us: who else could better represent the Finnish people than a hung-over wreck, looking at the same time hopelessly unhealthy and yet still down to earth, just like the common man on a particularly bad Saturday. (This should be interpreted as a good thing: "no leader ever plotted mass destruction when hung over", goeth the old saying, and as a sufferer of many a terrible dagen efter I believe this to be the case.)

Some say that its our vices that give us character. Ilkka Kanerva was the last of a dying breed: a politician hopelessly rushing from a scandal to another, entirely unable to control his womanizing urges. Although it could be said that Finland is better presented abroad by people that actually can stay sober for a whole week, not hit on "exotic dancers" and can speak intelligible English, I still can not make myself like the new breed of politician: clean, good-looking, and, most of all, intolerably efficient. As the Cold war era politicians are finally giving way to the next generation, one characteristic of them is becoming clear: the new leaders are the people who we all never saw in parties in high school. They are the people who rather stayed at home and ate a bag of fruit candy while studying political literature or went jogging and to the gym afterwards, retiring to bed after a refreshing glass of some wheat drink or other. When the relatively young SDP chairwoman, Jutta Urpilainen was asked about her vices, she shyly confided on the reporter that she might indulge herself on a bag of licorice every now and then.

A bag of licorice.

What happened? Everyone is wondering why people can not relate to politics of today, yet no-one is asking if anyone can relate to the politicians themselves! How the hell are you supposed to relate to people like Matti Vanhanen, the grayest man on earth? How can you relate to someone whose idea of a wild evening is a baked potato, orange juice and an episode of Desperate Housewives? How can you not be infuriated by people like Stubb, who, at 9 A.M. on a Saturday morning, instead of moaning and suffering due to last night's pub crawl, are already 20 miles into their daily cycling trip?

These new politicians are making the rest of us look bad. I don't want to have the affairs of the nation in hands of people who are straight off a Nike commercial! The way these people are always efficient, never lazy and never, never, never lose control of their lives simply makes everyone else look like a failure in comparison. Instead I want bloated faces, eyes red from last night's "foreign policy meetings" and ill-fitting hair styles on balding heads. I want politicians who are as partial to a bit of cheating and skiving as the rest of us are! I want politicians who still can enjoy a three-martini-lunch, an institution that has faded to obscurity as the new generation rather grabs a healthy salad and a cup of coffee before rushing off to another interview for a woman's magazine. (I would say something about philandering here, but it seems that womanizing is something that even the dullest prime minister is quite adept at, signalling that we are still not entirely controlled by efficient automatons.)

The gods of the Greek Pantheon were, as we all know, mighty powerful and all too human at the same time. The Greek loved to gossip on their gods and we still love to gossip about ours, but as our politicians are turning more and more into Olympian heroes instead of Epicureans, what is there left to gossip on? Who wants to read day after day how our beloved hyperactive administrators have been swimming, playing badminton and going running afterwards, giving out comments that always seem to incorporate the words "amazingly super"? When the public discourse is dominated by these insufferable busybodies, we are all expected to behave like ones, too! Where are the politicians that openly admit to enjoying the odd night of excess and suffering the consequences next morning? Where are the magazine interviews that discuss skipping Pilates practice for an evening of movies and fast food? The French, being the abstract thinkers they are, already have gotten tired of this trend, and a French philosopher even had the gall to openly call President Sarkozy out on his manic pace and publicly advertised jogging addiction, commenting that unlike constant running, a leisurely walk encourages deep thoughts. Our politicians should take more leisurely walks, too, preferably the kind that end up into the nearest pub instead of a gym.

Etkö vielä ole jäsen?

Liity ilmaiseksi

Rekisteröityneenä käyttäjänä voisit

Lukea ja kirjoittaa kommentteja, kirjoittaa blogia ja keskustella muiden käyttäjien kanssa lukuisissa yhteisöissä.