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The Election was a Seinfeld Experience

By Maria Millers  

Pondering on the results of our recent election it suddenly struck me that we had experienced a Seinfeld moment.

Readers may remember the episode where George suggests to Jerry that they pitch an idea for a new show to NBC. The show is to be about nothing. Jerry is sceptical as to how a show about nothing could appeal to the public, but eventually is persuaded to go along with it when George points out that; “Everybody is doing something. We’ll do nothing.” To which Jerry replies; “I think you may have something there” and goes along with it. NBC is delighted to go ahead.

Jerry Seinfeld later refuted the tag of his show being about nothing but it was undeniably lacking in a narrative, and centred around the self-obsessive concerns of a group of characters whose main preoccupations were the daily minutiae of their lives with no regard or interest in anyone else’s welfare or what was happening around them, unless it impacted on them in some way.

So what is the connection between Seinfeld’s show about nothing and the recent federal election? Seinfeld knew who his targeted market/audience was and so too did Scott Morrison. Not for this ad man the dangers of taking strong policies to an already cranky electorate, fearful of losing benefits held at the expense of wider social goals. Better to concentrate on denigrating the opposition and offer the electorate nothing substantive beyond clichés.

Tim Costello reminded us recently that, like the callous Seinfeld characters, we no longer understand the notion of the common good or have empathy for those who have missed out on our often-heralded uninterrupted economic growth. Let alone feel any obligation for those in worse circumstances beyond our shores.

Bill Shorten and his shadow ministers tried to put out a comprehensive program of reforms aimed at taking us to the next stage of maintaining prosperity, but with a more equitable distribution of social benefits as well as dealing with environmental threats. Policies that would have eventually benefited us all, so we would be then able to truthfully shout: “How great is Australia!”

Regrettably we all know that this has not happened and we will now face uncertainty in so many different ways.

Seinfeld ran for nine seasons on NBC from 1989 to 1998. I hope we do not have to wait that long for change!

Yada yada yada.

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25 comments

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  1. Jack Russell

    To me there isn’t anything to ponder as it’s clear that the amoral, unethical oligarchs who own and run this country conspired to monster the election result they wanted, and got.

    The thing I do ponder is the 24/7 post-election continuation of denigrating the losing side. What purpose/s is that serving? Is it just the force of inertia following peak momentum? Is another 3 years not quite enough to cement their agenda? Are they setting up for 2022-2025 and beyond … ?

  2. Jackie

    Agree with Jack Russell. In particular we need to watch the ABC. The Managing Director has just announced that he thinks there “should be more diversity of views on panels etc” Ita also mentioned this prior to their meeting with Morrison. The new Minister Paul Fletcher has referred to the ABC as “government owned” whereas its owned by the people.
    I think you can be sure this “diversity” does not mean more left-wing views. We could see a re-emergence of the infestation of IPA members which thankfully disappeared about a year ago. Remember endless Georgina Downer and a bevy of young men spouting the same Murdoch inspired right wing “views”. (there are about 20 IPA members in Coalition govt ranks) Gina Rinehart is major donor.
    The ABC is desperately in need of protection. The IPA of course wants it split up and put out to tender. Its one of their goals. Handy for Murdoch to snap up the News division and shut it down? The Coalition also has cut nearly $400 million in funding from it, to please Murdoch. The Council of the Liberal Party has also resolved to sell it.

  3. ajogrady

    A Seinfield moment perpetrated by the” I’m alright Jack” party.Australia and Australian society will be the ultimate casualties..

  4. Kathryn Alexander

    Brilliant analogy.

  5. Alpo

    “Bill Shorten and his shadow ministers tried to put out a comprehensive program of reforms aimed at taking us to the next stage of maintaining prosperity, but with a more equitable distribution of social benefits as well as dealing with environmental threats. Policies that would have eventually benefited us all, so we would be then able to truthfully shout: “How great is Australia!””

    Great words, Maria, you nailed it completely.
    The right-wingers understood the “danger” for them and went with all their energy on the counter-attack… That was predictable and we cannot blame them for trying to win…. and they did, unfortunately.

    But what really, really pisses me off is the repetitious attitude of some deluded people who self-define as “left-wingers” (be they voters for the Greens, the Socialist Alliance or whatever other mini-party) and who never see what the ALP is doing, never understand, but always keep focusing on the little bit that they find disgusting and write post after post against the ALP that ultimately can only benefit the Liberals.
    May I ask those people to just get a life and do something else? Your non-contribution is NOT required!

  6. New England Cocky

    The Labor loss at the 2019 Federal election was a self-inflicted wound made in 2013 when the unions over-rode the will of the Australian voters who were members of the Labor Paty and spooned Shorten into the Leadership over the will of the greater number of members, and hence voters, who had power at the polls.

    Certainly Shorten lost the 2016 election to a one seat majority because Turdball gifted the Libs $1.5 MILLION as a personal political donation to keep his job as Prim Monster for a few more months. This was a credible performance, but as the adage goes “Winners grinned, losers can do what they like”.

    Thee is unlikely to be any significant change until Labor can get full real time 24/7 disclosure of political donations to both political parties and political advocates like the IPA. But that effort is at least three years away.

    Uhm ….. what is/was “Seinfeld”? A commercial television programme? So that’s why I only watch my ABC.

  7. helvityni

    “Better to concentrate on denigrating the opposition and offer the electorate nothing substantive beyond clichés.”

    …and I’m baffled about how such behaviour would get your side re-elected.

  8. Matthew Pedler

    Great article- this election was a very Seinfeld moment

  9. johno

    Alpo, your all knowing wisdom is incredible. So what sort of life do you think I should get ?

  10. Phil

    ‘But what really, really pisses me off is the repetitious attitude of some deluded people who self-define as “left-wingers” (be they voters for the Greens, the Socialist Alliance or whatever other mini-party) and who never see what the ALP is doing, never understand, but always keep focusing on the little bit that they find disgusting and write post after post against the ALP that ultimately can only benefit the Liberals.
    May I ask those people to just get a life and do something else? Your non-contribution is NOT required! ‘

    Indeed I am one of those lefties that remembers the demise of my party on the alter of Julia Gillard’s ego.

    The links below are probably according to you are probably a mere bagatelle or using that new metaphor that has crept into our lexicon, a mere nothing burgher. Or as you stated a little bit of what we/I find disgusting and don’t know what was going on. Bwaahahahahah Yea Right. . The western suburbs and Gillards electorate have not forgotten her brief tenure as P.M. A tenure that was the start of the rot that had set into the party and continued under the, oh what was it? The spooning of Shorten into the leader of the oppositions job against the wishes of the thousands of Labor rank and file members. It is not a little disgusting to point out that a lot of the so called lefties and other trendy so called Labor supporters are in denial of actually, where the party went wrong. We are either a progressive party or we are not. To keep repeating the F U’s of the past will keep us in opposition forever.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/welfare-cut-puts-gillard-in-hot-seat-20130119-2czy2.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/19/its-soul-destroying-the-stress-and-stigma-of-being-a-single-parent-on-welfare

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/19/its-soul-destroying-the-stress-and-stigma-of-being-a-single-parent-on-welfare

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/gillard-rocked-by-leaks-20100727-10uej.html

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/diggers-versus-the-gillard-government-updated-article,3214

    read:https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/marriage-rights-vote-puts-gillard-at-odds-with-her-party/news-story/d500dea81e8c509e53e72f1d80d9b1db

    These are just a few links of the Gillard experiment.

  11. Phil

    well not exactly – twas not ‘we’ who don’t understand the notion of the common good or have empathy for those who have missed out on our often-heralded uninterrupted economic growth. Let alone feel any obligation for those in worse circumstances beyond our shores.

    Those with that affliction are Liberal voters – conservatives by any definition and no doubt a substantial percentage of them are ‘christians’ by their own definition, but bigots, hypocrites and charlatans by mine.

    If Labor won’t play dirty it simply will never get elected. Winning by any means is what conservatives do and I’m looking forward to seeing Albanese playing the Libs at their own negative and dirty game – no deals, none of this national interest crap – the LNP don’t do national interest so let the ALP just put it aside and take the Libs on at their won dirty game – whatever it takes to win power.

  12. Ill fares the land

    Purveyor of doom and gloom I may be, but I think the next election is already lost. Albanese could have defeated the laughable Morrison in May 2019, but the pathway has been set for the 2022 election campaign. It is worse now that Setka has given Morrison a 50 metre penalty that took him to the “goalsquare”, but let’s assume that the LNP’s tax cutr package is passed – the most likey outcome. The election campaign will simply be based on the claim that Labor will reverse the tax cuts and re-introduce changes to franking credit refunds and negative gearing. The tactics needed to achieve this victory are and have been gradually accumulated – the formation of a movement (the quiet Australians who are just “having a go” and to whom Morrison “speaks – though they will now believe pretty much any lie he spouts); suppression of an independent media, the aggregation of ever greater powers to Dutton and the covert march towards a police state where government can pretty much spy on and attack anyone it likes with impugnity – it goes on. I suspect that Albo is starting too far behind to make up the gap and gain enough of a lead to give himself a buffer against another LNP campaign of lies.

  13. Mark

    My wife and I use to cry with laughter through our favourite show Seinfeld!
    We certainly cried through the election episode!!

    Thanks Maria you made us laugh again.

  14. Matters Not

    Re future election campaign that Labor will

    reverse the tax cuts and re-introduce changes …

    Yes that’s the likely narrative for the next election (and beyond) unless Labor moves to kill that direction stone dead as soon as possible. And that’s a political possibility given the most avid proponents are no longer near those particular levers of power.

  15. Rossleigh

    Of course, Seinfeld did have a narrative. It was just hidden underneath the insecurities and self-obsessions of the characters…

    Mm… Brilliant comparison.
    Exactly like the Liberal and National Party…

    I can just see Barnaby Joyce bursting in like Kramer.

  16. Lynne

    Great article Maria Millers. You said it well
    Is it possible to force all potential politicians representing Australia to be assessed, by a series of tests & a lie detector etc.
    Its aim would be to see if they are suitable & eligible for this position, representing ALL Australians equally, the whole land of our country Australia & the seas which surround it…… for future generations.
    They would of course receive a lower, fairer salary & retirement fund. Extra monies saved here to go to the disadvantaged.
    I’m sure some of you could devise a suitable model for this.

  17. Felicity

    Oh my, superb political analysis that made me both laugh AND weep. Perfect (and scary) parallel.

    If only the Left would utilise more strategy overall–albeit with integrity; now there’s a ‘stand out from the crowd’ idea smiles ruefully

  18. king1394

    As one of the many ordinary rank and file ALP members who voted for Shorten in the leadership ballot in 2013, I am sick of hearing this myth that Shorten didn’t have support outside of certain power groupings. Shorten had my support then, and would have had it now, because he is a thoughtful and careful leader who brings people together. The policies he brought to the electorate at the recent election were well rounded and contained realistic plans for this country’s future, both economically, and also in the face of climate change. The election was very close, and we are yet to see how Morrison handles the disparate groups in the House and Senate.
    Yes, it was time for Shorten to let it go, but I hope that he will be a team player behind Albanese, who has been gifted with a strong and unified parliamentary party to lead

  19. wam

    The comparison with a mediocre septic situation comedy is as ridiculous as the idea that seinfeld was the world’s most favourite comedian. Absolute bullshit as there are billions people that have never heard of him and plenty of Australian americophobes who found him mildly amusing.

    But spot on scummo played to his strengths, an honest, Christian new broom to fix the lnp ills. Gentleman willy shorten let that image ride whilst he carried the banner labor and the green big taxers.
    ps
    You are right phil labor is saddled with the millstones that are strong on their own but release the toxins when blended with labor and spoil the quality of shorten’s policy and overpowered his worth. Albo has to call it as he sees it and give the autocue twits the questions for them to ask. There are plenty to begin with bundles of $400m cash in bank accounts submarines medicare, global warming(not climate change) and greenhouse heating effect. KISS

    pps Come on jack ‘amoral and unethical’ even senile but bob is not really an oligarch??graeme wood??

  20. Phil

    ‘The comparison with a mediocre septic situation comedy is as ridiculous as the idea that seinfeld was the world’s most favourite comedian. Absolute bullshit as there are billions people that have never heard of him and plenty of Australian americophobes who found him mildly amusing.’

    Indeed. About as funny as a bad case of hemorrhoids. Joan Rivers was funny he aint. Jerry Lewis was in the same vogue.

  21. pappinbarra fox

    You cannot “yada yada” sex!!, says the prurient George (who wants to know all the grimy details). An election by gossip. Have gossip? Will WIN.

    That is someone is fucking this country but we don’t want to go into details so we’ll yad yada it.

  22. wam

    Phil,
    true about lewis he made my flesh crawl there were septics like stan freberg, andy griffith and the great tom lehrer but I got my smut as a youngster from roy rene and max miller and my laughs from the goons, hancock, pete and dud, one ronnie.
    Plenty of Australians and kiwis. These all make great fun of idiots who believe in themselves as honest knowledgeable politicians.
    ps
    Just heard fryingpan, an honest in lnp style, future fake sincerity pm, about people on $200k, remember those battlers who got a tax cut from the gov(funny that pollies get $200k) putting the pollie equal to those on $35k now he wants to give them another 2%.
    Memory says median household wage is less than $60k and small business median is $72k but only the less than appropriate average wage seems to be used on google.
    If you wants a description of this gov? Forget whathisname and listen to tom lehrer’s new maths.

  23. New England Cocky

    Yes wam, always trust Tom Leher to be on the money.

  24. Carey Williams

    Yes so true

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