Opinion: Subtexts worthy of attention

Rowing to victory for National.
Rowing to victory for National.
Home-made scones with jam for Labour.
Home-made scones with jam for Labour.
A puffer jacket in the suburbs for Greens.
A puffer jacket in the suburbs for Greens.
A cool cartoon cat for Internet-Mana.
A cool cartoon cat for Internet-Mana.

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 perfume.

Whatever I say is going to be coloured by your opinion of what I'm wearing and how I smell.

Human nature.

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 game?

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 saying?

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.

Nailed it!

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 Festival goers.

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 effects?

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.


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