Write like Trotter

Chris Trotter is a political commentator with a distinctive style. His columns appear in various newspapers and he also writes on his own blog Bowalley Road (I happened to drive past namesake Bowalley Road in North Otago a couple of weeks ago).

From his latest post A Labour Cell In TVNZ’s Vast Castle:

Stairway To Hell: Like the decrepit dynasty at the heart of Mervyn Peake’s grotesque fantasy novel, Gormenghast, the “Heads” at TVNZ’s Auckland sprawling headquarters lost track of what was going on within their immense domain.

GORMENGHAST is one novel of a hell. Imagine J.R.R. Tolkien on acid, C.S. Lewis on speed, and you’ll hardly have made a mental dent in Mervyn Peake’s grotesque trilogy. I won’t spoil the books by giving away the plot in detail. Suffice to say that Gormenghast is an immense castle. So immense that the decrepit dynasty of Groan, to whom it ostensibly belongs, cannot possibly keep track of everything that goes on within its walls.

 Watching Patrick Gower unfold (with ever increasing glee) the activities of Shane Taurima and his colleagues at TVNZ headquarters in Auckland, I couldn’t help being reminded of Peake’s gothic fantasy.

Like Gormenghast Castle, the sprawling TVNZ site had somehow spawned a secret cell of resistance. How was that possible? Because, like the Groans, TVNZ’s bosses appear to have become preoccupied with “the obscure and esoteric tenets” of their governance functions.

He doesn’t always write political fantasy but has a way with words, history and literature. His post has sparked some Twitter tributes – #WriteLikeTrotter

‘Young tech-savvy voters will swing from National as quickly as they switch cassette tapes in their tape decks.’

“Like Jesus Christ in the Synoptic Gospels, David Cunliffe must perform seven miracles for the working class.

…and just as for the west at Dunkirk, it will be the little boats of the Daily Blog comment section that will turn the t

Cunliffe may have been crowned Princeps by the Party, but only the worship of the demos will cement him as A Son of Savage

Will Cunliffe be Sun Yat-sen to Shane Jones’ Chiang Kai-shek? That is the question everyone is asking…

Will Shane Jones be like Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, outmaneuvering the overconfident Yan-Key?

Will Winston Peters prove to be New Zealand’s Rust Cohle and deliver us all to the Yellow King and Carcosa?

We sought a Telecom inferno; a bonfire of vanities, a Wagnerian roar in the way of the Visigoth Liuvigild. We got a Spark.

I actually enjoy and appreciate Chris Trotter’s obscure historical analogies. Mock him all you want but he’s well read.

And so, not unlike the mighty Phoenix rising forth from the ashes of doom, I rise and command the elders to war

Minos Key, in unspeakable beastility, spawns a coalition Minotaur that demands minnow sacrifice. First course? Winston.

Colin Craig will soon learn from Icarus: When flying high on home-built chicken wings, remember to watch out for melanoma.

Supercilious jackanapes usurped fools 

“The mic dropped like a thunderclap, a dire warning to idolators of media and opinion polls, who shun the Prophet Peters”

A rolling maul of righteous outrage will ring as rolling thunder across the polity when the chardonnay runs dry. Attica!

While the whisper of xenophobia hangs over him like the sword of Damocles, Peters fights on.

A rough beast from Coatsville Greco-Roman wrestles with whales full of passionate intensity: My metaphor cannot hold.

Trotter ends his post:

Mr Taurima’s and his Maori and Pacific Television Unit colleagues’ biggest mistake – apart from believing that they could ever get away with behaving in such a nakedly party political fashion – was to hang their hats on securing the election of a Labour-led Government.

In the nine years that Helen Clark’s Labour Party governed New Zealand no serious effort was made to root-out the pernicious operational culture at TVNZ or, indeed, to address the manifold defects of this country’s recklessly deregulated media industry.

Even had TV3’s Patrick Gower not exposed Shane “Steerpike” Taurima’s cell of resistance in the bowels of the TVNZ Gormenghast, a change of government would only have confirmed for him The Who’s immortal line:

“Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.”