If you don't understand spaghetti on pizza, you don't understand politics

KeallHauled

Chris Keall

US late night talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel has had some sport with our PM's now infamous pizza.

"We can be pretty hard on Donald Trump but they have a guy in New Zealand, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, a gentleman named Bill English, who I think is even worse and I'm going to show you why," Mr Kimmel said on his show last night, as the prime minister's Facebook post was displayed onscreen.

"He put canned spaghetti and pineapples on a pizza – this mother ... can I say the F-word?" he continued.

"That is so offensive, that is an act of war. I think he just declared war on Italy. And maybe Hawaii too. I don't know.

"Impeach that man immediately, New Zealand. This is why I've always preferred Old Zealand."

The pizza inspired 1000 jokes on local social media, too.

Some have questioned why media would cover it at all. 

But if you don't understand the importance of the pizza, you don't understand politics.

Most New Zealanders aren't ideological. 

If National loses in September, it will be because a portion of middle New Zealand doesn't quite click with Mr English and decides it's time the other lot had a turn.

John Key's doofusy humour made me cringe, personally, but it was a key part of the everyman persona that helped to three straight election wins.

Delivering a surplus and dangling tax cuts are important, sure. But it will count for nothing if Mr English doesn't tell better dad jokes and become friends with Mike Hosking. 

On that front, the spaghetti pizza was probably a good start.

Somewhere, a team from Crosby Textor and English advisers are in a huddle, trying to figure out the PM's next Key-esque Facebook post.


POSTSCRIPT

This follow-up tweet is way over-thought:


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22 Comments & Questions

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I think I get it: the more Bill English can offend the food snobs, the more popular he'll be with mainstream Kiwis. So how about a Facebook photo of the whole English family having Weet-Bix with hot milk?

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Agree it's banal, but this is also the sort of stuff that decides elections, particularly when the main parties don't have huge differences in policy. 

But while it's trivial it's not easy to stage. You've really either got it or you don't. Maybe Bill English has hidden depths (or shallows?) of dad jokiness.

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How dismaying that politics has descended to this cringe-making, basically stupid level. But I think you underestimate all except a bunch of no-hopers (let's by no means to exclude a large proportion of the media) if you think that this is the average New Zealander's response to dumbed down politicians.

And while you all go on about John Key's popularity, what is never emphasised is that two thirds of the country had no time for him. Someone who consistently polls about the 33% level is consistently not supported by two thirds of the country.

We've had enough of a goofball in charge - good riddance - but Bill English is apparently now equally cringemaking. God help New Zealand.

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What's next? Andrew Little flicking through an Edmonds cookbook, rustling up some ANZAC biscuits with Poi E playing in the background?
That's so long as the bailiff hasn't already been round for his oven, stereo and the cookbook.

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Mr English should be getting a 5-star award for bad taste.

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Depressing and pathetic, isn't it...

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Where's his apron?? Details count.

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Men don't wear those.

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Very important article Chris. You should keep exploring the reality tv nature and banality of modern politics. It's fascinating.

It's obviously hooked up with the rise of social media and the MSM dying on a stick.

It's like politics meets the Kardashians.

Also, don't forget this is just a retaliatory shot in the spaghetti wars in which the Labour Leader and Deputy in the Woman's Day poo-poohed pineapple topping.

The PM is sticking up for the everyday bloke and blokess.

Yes people. That's the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition confronting the important issues in election year.

You do have to love it.

Rodney Hide

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Thanks, Rodney, but I would rather pull my own arms off than explore this topic further. It's too depressing.

I'd just add that I think social media amplifies some of it, but perceptions of likeability and authenticity trumping policy are as old as the hills -- going back to Michael Joseph Savage's folksy fireside radio chats and further.

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Michael Savage talking directly to the people of this country is quite a different kettle of fish from the degrading antics today's politicians feel that the average New Zealander wants them to Indulgent in.

You're right about it being depressing. Why on earth would we vote for any of them?

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Spagpizza or Pizzaspag, Yellow jacket or black jacket. English try's food to stand out Hide tried bright colours. Glass houses spring to mind Rodney

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Did he post the pic from a house he owns?

He should be more careful of alienating the young Kiwis whose home ownership prospects he and John Key so carefully devastated over their last three terms.

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People are funny. You can put anything on a pizza; bananas & curried chicken etc and nobody bats an eye. But if you put a can of spaghetti on a pizza and publicly acknowledge it, suddenly everyone turns into ardent defenders of the purity of Italian cuisine.

We all ate pizzas like this when I was a kid. I made many of them myself, and I loved them. Obviously not everyone did!

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A job post election dos not wait for you @ Pizza Hutt. Hells pizza maybe...

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He should stick to gurning.

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Carbohydrate on top of carbohydrate and decorated with more carbohydrate.
What the Fat?

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Gareth Hughes posted a picture of a pizza that he had bought last night. He said "Now this is a real pizza".

This article reinforces that. Garteh totally missed the point... Bill English MADE his, Gareth BOUGHT one.

And couple that with the Greens latest North & South cover? Seriously out of touch.

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You have made a good point about Gareth BUYING his pizza, Gareth missed the point, and resorted to showmanship and buying one to have one up on Bill.

While Gareth comes from a low cost living background, his political idea of the UBI is part of the socialists utopian dream that you can spend your way out of debt, and eliminate poverty by the redistribution of wealth.

Gareth's campaign and determination to eradicate cats rings a bell of similarity with the campaign lead in the late 1950's by the Chinese overlords to eradicate sparrows amongst other pests. Both campaign's have a touch of plausible logic. The war waged on sparrows lead to a massive increase in insects, wiping out crops and therefore food supplies, and causing millions to starve to death in a country already being ravaged by the re-distribution of wealth which in itself caused production to plummet.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Gareth Morgan would do far more for the country by staying out of politics and simply spending his wealth as lavishly as he likes on himself. Perhaps Gareth should buy a yacht, and employ a dozen people to run it. Which would be a dozen added real jobs. UBI will not create jobs, and will destroy thousands more.

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Samuel Foster, I think your enthusiasm to have a go at Gareth Morgan got the better of you - and you "missed the point" entirely here. The conversation was about Gareth Hughes - green party and pizza, not cats.

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Maybe the way to a voter's heart is via the stomach. Malcolm Turnbull recently declined the offer of a sausage wrapped in bread, setting off a debate over whether he is out-of-touch with the average Aussie.

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I seem to remember Helen Clark being panned in a similar fashion for her remark about relaxing in the hols with a glass of chardonnay and the latest Booker prize winning novel. Was that really true or am I repeating some urban legend? My memory is not what it was. If true, it was probably the beginning of the end of her tenure...

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