Hawea Flat writer Liz Breslin ponders the subtexts in the
2014 party political broadcasts.
Much has been made of the National Party's music choice as
the backdrop to their svelte boaties allegedly rowing us all
to higher economic victories.
It's very Eminem.
At least in the short version.
In the longer party political broadcast, it seems it slows
down to less of a street heartbeat and more of a dull thump.
Or perhaps that is just the effect of sofa soundbites?
It's fairly well accepted that less than 10% of our
communications are actually verbal.
Imagine I turn up for a meeting with you wearing a nose stud
and combat boots but also smelling of your favourite floral
Whatever I say is going to be coloured by your opinion of
what I'm wearing and how I smell.
Even how we say things makes a big difference, which is why
most of the party political broadcasts (let's call them PPBs,
shall we?) are delivered in nice, even tones.
Unless you are a smooth cartoon cat.
More of which later.
All of the above got me thinking about the text/subtext of
this year's PPBs, most of which I've been able to find online
and blogscored or on replay TV.
Because who screens PPBs at the same time as an All Blacks
Anyway, those who follow politics will already have a fair
idea of what the main texts will contain.
We know what they're saying.
But what's the thing they're saying behind what they're
What's the subtext?
Know what I'm saying?
If I could smell the Greens' PPB, it would be fresh but
comfy, like a new washing powder.
The subtext seems to be an ability to turn up in the right
clothes for the right occasion: a very practical skill set.
Rain jacket next to a river for Russel, warm clothes on the
beach and smart tops in the city for Metiria.
Russel's puffer jacket while walking through the suburbs,
mentioning growing up in Brisbane: not so much.
Who needs a puffer jacket in Brisbane?
Still, it will send a positive subtext to all Mountain Film
It was Shakespeare who said ''Clothes make the man'' but it
was the creators of reality TV who made the subtext for the
Labour Party's PPB.
Their own grand designs are presented in such a way as to
resemble a home renovation show, except with all the featured
couples metaphorically on the red team.
Phil Twyford could have quite a niche as Housing Show Host if
it doesn't work out for him as Housing Spokesperson.
He knows just how to nod, smile and speak.
Other subtexts in this PPB include cheese scones, Anzac books
and bikkies and that music that just keeps building towards a
slightly incongruous ask-David conclusion.
I'm afraid I may have brought my own brand of inverse
snobbery to the watching of the Act Party PPB.
So Jamie Whyte has a Cambridge education.
And a rather large computer.
So how come they can't make a PPB with better text and
I know kids at primary who could help them improve that one.
And what were they saying by writing the ''less green tape''
with the word green in red text - was it some kind of subtle,
subtextual intelligence test?
The award, if there was one, for most entertaining and
unlikely would have to go to Internet Mana.
Yes, even before their broadcast.
Of course it's a snappy retrospective futuristic cartoon
conducted by a long-legged cat.
Of course it is.
The subtext here is steasy.
As in easily stylish.
Get with it.
Stay cool, cat.
Peter Dunne, in his offering, looks decidedly less cool minus
his bow tie.
I mean, why would you get rid of your most defining feature?
To return to the Nats (do we have to?) - another subtext was
the cars and the people going past in the background of John
Key's comfy chair.
Which distracted from what he was saying intently to whoever
was off screen.
Which reminded me of that internet photo series of ''John Key
looking at things'' (like broccoli).
And then I realised I'd lost the thread - the magic of their
musical subtext was working - like Eminem says, ''You've got
to lose yourself in the music, the moment.''
Losing? Hmm. let's wait and see.