Is It a Dog-Eat-Barbie World?

Filed in Archive, Blog by on September 20, 2015 0 Comments

Larry and Barbie in Melbourne

In times past it was fairly easy to read omens and portents. Instructions for reading tea leaves could be found in plenty of glossies. Fortune-cookie forecasts were available to anyone with basic literacy. And no-one needed any sort of education to understand the more direct symbolism of horse heads in beds.

But I puzzled over how to interpret the omen pictured above. Most people in Melbourne know the dog, nicknamed Larry LaTrobe. He is a bronze sculpture in Melbourne’s city square. Recently, a mysterious savant painted an executioner’s mask around Larry’s eyes, and hung a bloodied Barbie from his mouth.

I snapped this photo at the end of a week in which Malcolm Turnbull led a coup to seize power as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull triumphed over Tony Abbott in the dog-eat-dog world of politics. Malcolm Turnbull also writes a Dog Blog as part of his ministerial – now Prime-Ministerial – profile. Really. Here is a link to his Dog Blog.

So obviously Larry LaTrobe symbolises Malcolm Turnbull. But no-one in their right mind would think the Barbie in the dog’s mouth portrays the man he vanquished for the top job. There are no speedos for a start.

Could the Barbie be the Deputy Liberal Party Leader who retained her job, Julie Bishop? No. Julie seems to be made of Teflon, so the blood wouldn’t have stuck to her as it has to Barbie.

The answer came less than 24 hours later when Turnbull announced his new cabinet with five women. No longer was the Deputy Liberal Leader the token woman among 20 (original) cabinet ministers. The notions from Barbie’s classic era about the role of women in conservative politics had been savaged. Obvious in hindsight.

If these words happen to be read by the savant who set up Larry and Barbie, I look forward to more portents. I’ll check back during the next election campaign.

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