Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Reverse Ferret

"We don't want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret," the prime minister added.

The Observer, February 2021
The reverse ferret is a tough maneuver to perform
It requires fleetness of foot and delicate balance
While the deft footwork is executed as a whirling dervish dance,
Ideally the audience will not detect your changed public stance

A discreet volte-face is essential for the presentation
The change of plans should remain unadvertised upon completion
The impetus is an imminent reversal of fortune
When legal liability and the threat of punishment looms

Whether defamation or criminal contempt,
   the prospect is of much damage
Public reaction to exposure and revelation would likely be savage
The knives would be out, votes of confidence,
   resignation or electoral defeat
Contra the golden rule: a politician's first duty is to preserve his seat

On etymology, the phrase was originally journalistic fodder
A pet remark of Rupert Murdoch's agent, The Sun's editor
Orwell would have known about the tendency
   when he wrote of Big Brother
After all, "Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia"

And so we heard the unguarded remark of the British Prime Minister
A man so allergic to truth he was badged as a congenital dissembler
He viewed theater as politics and politics as theater
Delivering his slapstick lines with a knowing, churlish patter
As Curtis Mayfield once sang, "they're all political actors"
Everything was transactional for this Magic Johnson
Yet everything he touched was subject to potential legal action

Ferrets, those winsome beasts, are much needed in human ecology
They play a handsome role even in today's concrete modernity
They say that every complex ecosystem has parasites
Caution, however, take heed of their insatiable appetites

The general public, generally bemused, found it hard to understand
With so much whiplash, it seemed as if everything was written in sand.
For even as the Prime Minister hastened to loot with a smile
Confronted with a pandemic, he could only deal death and denial
He would leave a legacy of so many u-turns in policy,
   his mark was a demerit
That despite himself, this Prime Minister's self coinage
   was the reverse ferret

grilled fish

Reverse Ferret, a playlist

A soundtrack for this note to cover our retreat. (spotify version) See previously

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time

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Writing log: February 17, 2021

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