March 14, 2004

THE HORROR

Midway through this profile of Mark Latham, the Labor leaderís ex-wife Gabrielle Gwyther makes some troubling claims:

She was traumatised by the marriage breakup in 1997 - she says she adored him and that it was his relationship with the woman who is now his wife, former Liberal Party staffer Janine Lacy, that ended the marriage.

"He's not particularly good at political manoeuvering, but there is a trajectory there that has propelled him where others would not be propelled. There's something about him; he has such a belief in himself." She sensed it on the night she met him in the mid 1980s at a going-away dinner for mutual friends. He dropped to the dance floor and began doing push-ups, as if gripped by some crazy-male urge to impress.

She is also bewildered by the anger in his character that spilled out publicly when he broke the arm of a taxi driver three years ago.


A taxi driver prepares to attack. Look out, Mark!

"Where does this anger come from?" says Gwyther. "It's just below the surface and it's scary to live with, I must say. The thing is, with this kind of anger you never know what's going to set him off. Even something as trivial as not buying the right food could set him off." She stresses the anger was verbal, not physical, but she found it intimidating nonetheless. "I was a bit scared of him, really." Latham says: "I don't regard myself as an angry person."

Gwyther also saw an extreme intensity. She wondered about his fascination with the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now, which he watched again and again, so much so that she bought him a copy of the video. His favourite character was Kurtz, the renegade American colonel whose brutality and madness mirrors the evil of the Vietnam war.

Back away slowly. Donít make eye contact.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 14, 2004 02:13 AM
Comments

...Kurtz, the renegade American colonel whose brutality and madness mirrors the evil of the Vietnam war.

Joseph Conrad, call your lawyers.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at March 14, 2004 at 02:57 AM

Tim, seems to me this post is a natural fit with Hicks post. Hicks and Latham have something in common here, but I'm too tired to work it out.

Posted by: jafa at March 14, 2004 at 03:06 AM

This is your anti war candidate? We can't lose. You aussies might thou.

Posted by: papertiger at March 14, 2004 at 04:25 AM

Is this man a politician or Tony Soprano?

Posted by: Ryne McClaren at March 14, 2004 at 04:42 AM

Lemme get this straight...when President Bush called terrrorists "evil," the entire left engaged in collective histrionics not seen since Khrushchev. Yet the Age doesn't hestitate to call the Vietnam War evil. Now, I'm no fan of how we conducted ourselves over there, but at least that war--whatever its faults--was faught to protect people from totalitarian communisim. If Col. Kurtz is evil, then so is Osama.

Posted by: Nathan at March 14, 2004 at 07:01 AM

Oh, the horror! The horror!

Posted by: Quentin George at March 14, 2004 at 09:13 AM

I can't help but love the big pink taxi driver.

Posted by: Sortelli at March 14, 2004 at 11:04 AM

so thats how he got the 'man boobs' eh? All those push ups.

Posted by: nic at March 14, 2004 at 01:03 PM

So, once again, Tim ends up concluding that someone who he disagrees with is crazy.

Isn't there a word for a person who believes that they are the one sane voice a battling world full of lunatics?

How much worse is Tim's condition going to be when they're all in power?

Posted by: Mork at March 14, 2004 at 01:24 PM

Yawn...JustAnotherSociopathicLeftWingPolitician...

Posted by: Timothy Lang at March 14, 2004 at 02:20 PM

I guarantee that if you look into Gwyther's background, you'll find that either:

a) her father abandoned her;
b) her father molested her;
c) her father was an addict.

Scratch a chick who digs violent, abandoning men, and you'll find a bad dad.

Posted by: Dave S. at March 14, 2004 at 03:58 PM

So, once again, Tim ends up concluding that someone who he disagrees with is crazy.

Please Mork, that's not what Tim was saying at all. He specifically highlighted (in bold) sections of the passage which referred to Latham having a hair-trigger temper. Nowhere in the post was any policies of Latham nor criticism of his policies.

Fuck, if you are going to come on here and be pointlessly contrairian, at least make sure you have a leg to stand on.

Posted by: Quentin George at March 14, 2004 at 05:36 PM

Dropping to the dance floor to do twenty push-ups? Hair-trigger temper? Going off at trivial events like not buying the right foods? And, ominously, 'man boobs' later in life?

You've all missed it. It's as plain as can be.

The man was on anabolic steroids.

Posted by: ilibcc at March 14, 2004 at 06:27 PM

If this were Arnold Schwarzenegger, I'd suspect the media would treat it as a far bigger story.

Posted by: Andjam at March 14, 2004 at 08:50 PM

An ex-spouse who accuses someone of having a hair trigger temper is hardly an unbiased witness (take a vist to the Family Court sometime) and besides it's still character rather than policies. Play the ball not the man!

Posted by: BobH at March 14, 2004 at 09:56 PM
Isn't there a word for a person who believes that they are the one sane voice a battling world full of lunatics?

I believe those people are generally referred to as "morks".

Posted by: PW at March 15, 2004 at 04:28 AM

C'mon, Timbo, let it go. You'll notice that Tony Abbott -- no fool he -- dropped the "Latham bashes taxi drivers" meme a long way back. Someone in the Libs -- Minchin is my guess -- clicked that it's hard to simultaneously attack Labor as a bunch of left-wing PC multicultural wimps while also reminding the public that Latham didn't hesitate to take "direct action" against a taxi driver with a Middle-Eastern name, one whose actions on the fateful night tap into every stereotype (justified or not) about the "dodgy immigrant taxi-driver". Besides, remember Wilson Tuckey? How'd he get his famous nickname?

Posted by: Uncle Milk at March 15, 2004 at 10:10 AM

Your in-depth research and insight prove beyond a doubt that Lark Mayhem is stark , raving bonkers .Keep up the good work . ( Lark should'nt be allowed in charge of a taxi let alone run the country ) .

Posted by: Blogg O'Slatter at March 15, 2004 at 05:21 PM