The Mussolini story

Well since I blogged on Chris Carter’s deleted Mussolini blog post on Thursday night, the story got legs with it making One News last night, and the newspapers this morning. It even got Chris a bollocking from The Standard.

I don’t think there was anything wrong with Chris yelling out at John Key doing a photo op on a balcony, and joking that he looks like Mussolini at the Piazzo Navona. The problem is that Chris blogged it, or more to the point he blogged it in a way which didn’t convey much humour to it. Let’s start with the title:

Delusions of grandeur

That isn’t a very funny title. That looks like a snarky attack. Then we have his first line

Just saw the most awful sight.

Now again, that conveys that in Carter didn’t see it as much of a joke, but something awful. He then blogged the exchange, and Key’s response of “It worked”, and comments:

Says it all, really.

So Carter might have been able to pass it off as a funny exchange, except he didn’t. He turned it into a snide attack on Key. And even worse he took the time to upload an actual picture of Mussolini.

I have some experience of using humour and dictators, such as the wonderful anti-EFA billboards. What is the difference between those and what Carter did? Well firstly the number one difference is I’m an effing blogger, not the Shadow Foreign Minister. Seriously.

The second is we made the humour clear. We had the Commodore congratulating Helen on her “coup” with the EFA. We had Kim Il Sung congratulating Winston on being a great leader. We even had one (originally) with Mao praising Peter Dunne (originally an EFA supporter). We were not doing literal comparisons, but using humour and the dictators to make the case the the EFA was something you expect from an authoritarian Government. And you know the the Electoral Commission concluded it did have a chilling effect on political participation, and that Labour’s first post-election move was to apologise for it, and vote for its repeal, leaves me 100% comfortable with the campaign. Others may disagree, but I remind them the original EFB would have made it illegal for them to state their view in public on a issue, without signing multiple statutory declarations etc.

Anyway back to Mussolini. Here’s how I would have done it.

“Just saw John Key being forced onto his balcony to do a photo op. The things us politicans must endure. I joked to John that I thought the photo looked like Mussolini at the Piazzo Navona, and John joked back that at least it worked for Mussolini. Heh. Nice that he can take a joke and a hassle.”

I doubt that would have got much attention (sure still a bit bad taste). But the original post wasn’t funny – it was snarky.

Personally I would have grabbed a photo myself and done a caption contest 🙂

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