At some freshly reopened bar on Friday night, whilst sipping a glass of red, a colleague of mine said that he had gone to high school with someone who is now a member of the Victorian Parliament, the second generation of her family to proudly represent the Labor Party.
He said that at school, she had a tendency, like some of the more malevolently minded women of Southern European peasant extraction of an earlier generation, to place curses on classmates who had incurred her dislike. She gained some credibility when she told one girl that she was going to die on Tuesday, and the girl actually broke her leg.
As someone from a Southern European peasant background myself, this aspect of Italian and Greek (in that particular case) peasant culture is something I am familiar with. My mother is regarded as the go to woman whenever her network of family members and friends (and indeed any of my friends who give credence to such things) fear that someone has placed the evil eye or some such hex on them, as she knows the specific prayer (or spell, if you prefer) to remove such curses.
I was thinking of this when the news broke yesterday morning that Liberal Party luminary, Tim Smith MP, had been forced to resign from the opposition front bench after crashing his Jag into a cheaper car and the front of someone’s house when driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.13.
I have occasionally (or at least think I have) written about this somewhat oafish scion of the landed gentry before, a chap whose wise utterances in the course of representing his constituents include demands to: reopen pubs, reopen golf courses near his home, and drive out the fruit bats currently living in the Yarra Bend park along the edge of his seat.
Given that I do not really believe that this fellow has the intellectual capacity to be an independent moral agent (ie to make his own choices like a normal person who can tie their own shoelaces), I do not think that Tim Smith MP was actually drink driving. I think that his Greek opponent in the state parliament has dusted off her high school era hex book and placed a curse on him, causing him to drive Golem-like in a manner imitating a drunk driver.
I may be wrong. Hexes and curses might not exist. But what is more likely, a hex, or some of the stuff which has already happened, ie that a towering intellect like Tim Smith MP could be elected to the state parliament and recently promoted to the opposition front bench? You be the judge.