Duck by a goose   16/3/2006

The bloody duck said it all. On the job last night we couldn’t make much sense of the Commonwealth Games opening screening on TV in the background. We weren’t alone.
It was underlit, poorly attended, incomprehensible and the usual self-indulgent wank of some overpaid arty-farty. And there were all these references to a duck.
Then on ABC radio this morning I was told the obscure narrative behind the barrage of imagery was by Melbourne’s unfunniest cartoonist — who has made the duck his motif — Michael Leunig.
Melbourne’s most notorious anti-semite, Leunig was mentioned in despatches last month when one of his doodlings was published by an Iranian paper as a fine example of Jew-hating comic art.
Matt Price in The Australian explains how the signature bird of an occasional cartoonist for a newspaper with a circulation of only 150,000 is somewhat deficient in the recognition department. He politely refrains from commenting on the duck’s relevance to an international sporting carnival:
The decision by Commonwealth Games organisers to bookend the three-act theatrical segment of the opening ceremony with appearances by Michael Leunig’s whimsical figure proved confusing to spectators and TV viewers unfamiliar with the Melbourne cartoonist’s work.
“Did it have something to do with bird flu?” asked a bewildered New Zealander.
“Was it based on a May Gibbs character?” wondered a bloke from Brisbane.
“What’s with the duck?” asked a fellow from South Africa.

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