I was rather surprised to notice the following title today on the Israeli Ynet: “Australia: The leading candidate picked his ear and chewed” (my poor translation). Frankly, i wasn’t really aware that there is a PM race going on in Australia (my apologies Lisa), so i was really curios (and entertained) what is there in the manners of leading candidate to cause him hitting international headlines. Imagine my surprise to discover that the focus of the drama is a 15 sec YouTube video showing Kevin Rudd “scooping something from his left ear with his finger, which he then puts in his mouth” according to Washington Post. You have to agree with me that this is a rather unusual news title/topic these days, and it looks so surrealistic to read about ear-picking Australian candidate in an Israeli newspaper.
The interesting point, newspapers claim, is that this 15 sec video has the potential of severely damaging his campaign. And the truth is that there is a precedent of YouTube doing that (see George Allen’s “famous” macaca controversy). However there are two separate issues in hand. The first is the ability of (supposedly) grassroots media input influencing political discourse and actual campaigns, which is interesting and indeed worth the attention. The second is the substantive issue in hand – can we equate ear-picking with racist comments?