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Penguin in 2012


For many of us swept up in the political shouting of these last few months, the wonder is that anyone can say the same thing so many times and manage to keep a straight face. Different state, different stage, different question - it’s enough to make you a little doubtful about this whole speaking thing we do. Whatever your convictions on immigration or social security reform or enhanced interrogation techniques, and however gladiatorial your interests, the likelihood is you are not the single remaining voter in the country for whom candidates are still clarifying their positions, and the chances are some drama is going to need to arrive from something else.

We laugh a little now about a famous listening tour from several years ago, though in hindsight this probably had a great deal of unexplored potential, and in hindsight it needn’t have ended with the candidate resigned to other people talking, but also prodding and tickling and making funny faces and silly singing songs - like the gift-wrapped emissary must stoically endure throughout Polly Dunbar’s Penguin.

In the vocabulary of the moment, this sort of passiveness carries the risk of allowing others to define you, though I’m not sure that’s always such a bad thing, considering how graceless and utterly unpersuasive some people are about defining themselves. There is drama, at least, in evolution. Plus think about testing the wannabes against our tantrums and real life derision. About strapping them onto rocket ships, and offering them up to lions - and sometimes just walking away.


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