One of the most satisfying and maddening things about a work of satire is how right it can sometimes be. Not only can such a work ruthlessly attack what has happened in the past, but in some cases, it can also perfectly predict the future.
This week, the US political satire Veep proved its prescience when Malcolm Turnbull opened what could be a three month campaign season by repeating what certainly seems to be a slogan: “There is continuity and there is change”. And he said it - a lot.
Unfortunately, fake satire politician Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) campaigned for reelection under the same slogan in the last season of the HBO show.
“We needed it to be hollow and oxymoronic, to say absolutely nothing but seem to have depth and meaning,” Simon Blackwell, the show’s executive producer, told The Guardian Australia. “It did make me laugh a lot when I saw that the Australian PM’s people had been on the same mental journey and come up with the same meaningless phrase.”
Even Louis-Dreyfus had a go.
How does something like this happen? Sure, Turnbull is a busy man and may not have time to watch Veep. Maybe he’s one of those Armando Iannucci purists who can't stomach an American version of The Thick of It.
[Newsflash, snobs: They can both be good shows.]
But what about the people around him? All of these people work in politics - not one of them is watching Veep? The trailer for the fifth season just came out!
If someone had been paying attention, this kind of juxtaposition wouldn't have been possible:
This bit of depressing weirdness comes just days after the official Twitter handle for House of Cards tweeted at Turnbull when he started to sound a lot like the show’s Machiavellian fictional president Frank Underwood – for the second time.
Given all this uncomfortable blending of political fact and televised fiction, Turnbull and his team may be tempted to change his slogan to something less self-parodying. That’s a great idea. But lest they make their decision too hastily, here is a handy list of slogans that should also be avoided: