Sunday, February 4, 2018

Julie Bishop spruiking Margot McKinney and Margot Robbie

Financial Review
 [JB note from: spruik: "verb (used without object), Australian Slang. 1. to make or give a speech, especially extensively or elaborately; spiel; orate."]

Image from article, with caption: Promiscuously insubstantial: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is back on home soil after her annual Hollywood pilgrimage for the G'Day LA ball, the marquee event in Australia's "most important public diplomacy program promoting Australian capabilities in the US". The most significant of which, in the Commonwealth's eyes then, must be film acting – "the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living," Katharine Hepburn so faithfully surmised. "After all, Shirley Temple could do it aged four."
For this natty little party, which categorically nobody in America notices, is a roll call of famous thespians, and Richard Wilkins. I mean, what more vividly could A.A. Phillips have foreseen as the "cultural cringe" alive and well than John Travolta transfixed by a live, gyrating Human Nature medley.
And yet nowhere could JBish (and the boyf, David Panton – who, also ludicrously, took the stage to belt out a rendition of Peter Allen's cornball I Still Call Australia Home with a troupe of, ugh, celebrities) be more in her element.
Only a week earlier, the Foreign Minister had returned to her beloved Portsea Polo, a year after ghosting the event in the wake of revelations she'd charged the taxpayer to attend it the year before that (not to mention the striking regularity with which her official business puts her in the same town as West Coast Eagles away games). All within the letter of entitlement, her office vows.

Just before last year's festival of national mortification (that's G'Day LA, not the AFL season), JBish rolled into town early – on her own dime, and in her own time, rendering it less improper but more embarrassing - to attend the unveiling of Rush Hour director Brett Ratner's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At that stage, Ratner had been accused of sexual impropriety, but not yet rape. JBish has since deleted their happy snap from Instagram.
But back to now, and not even two months since she declined to answer questions about the $35,000 earrings on her lobes – yet again, the creations of jewellery designer Margot McKinney – as she launched the government's foreign policy White Paper, JBish deemed it prudent last week to also front McKinney's sumptuous dinner at LA's new Waldorf-Astoria. McKinney's "pieces" can sell for more than Australia's median annual wage and, worse still, resemble encrusted Damien Hirst mini-monstrosities colour-co-ordinated exclusively by the legally blind. Garish, macabre and stonkingly expensive. Found wherever there is free champagne.
Then there were the minister's fetchingly framed action shots (presumably taken by a staffer; or DPant?) sprinting through Beverly Hills in her athleisurewear. All they needed were a Vangelis soundtrack. What next? Her own line of aerobics videos?
Is Bishop the diplomatic face of a global middle power or an Instagram influencer slavishly peddling sponsored mentions and battling with an orgiastic infatuation for B-grade entertainers? She might strain to be all of them at once. But how sad to have reached such high office, a ready-made role model (and no, not like Wonder Woman) for young women and girls, to have become so promiscuously insubstantial.
Thankfully Malcolm Turnbull is off to Washington in a fortnight, flanked by a delegation of real business heft, to burnish some Australian export capabilities worth bragging about – black-tie karaoke not being one of them.

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