Tony Abbott‘s biggest crime isn’t being a weird unit. Being possibly the weirdest unit to ever bask in the light of our sun wouldn’t even crack a top 25 list of the most important things to criticise him for. It is, however, impossible not to consider it when talking about Tony Abbott. He is a profoundly odd man. Eating those onions doesn’t even scratch the surface of the man’s weirdness.
Like a character in a David Lynch movie, the cadence of his speech and his mannerisms seem to indicate an alien brain completely divorced from the usual rhythms and patterns of a human one. He reads like he is pretending to be human but has constantly exhausted the manual that tells him what he should do or say in any given situation. Take, for example, this iconic clip:
With most people, you can figure out what they’re thinking or feeling from their facial expression or, at the very least, you can tell that they’re trying to hide what they’re thinking or feeling. Tony Abbott is as inscrutable as a squid — you know there’s some form of intelligence in there (I’ll let you insert your own joke here), but it’s impossible to guess at how or what it thinks.
Usually, footage of someone standing and waiting wouldn’t be particularly captivating but, somehow, due to Tony’s perversely lizard-like nature, it becomes morbidly engrossing. His eyes dart around, seemingly randomly. He half-commits to pulling a facial expression, before abandoning it entirely. His lips move silently, describing short, unrecognisable syllables — like a sorcerer trying to cast a spell without being noticed. He stands unmoving, with the hunched, tense posture of someone who is ready to leap into action at any moment. But he doesn’t. He puts one hand in his pocket like he’s posing for a suit catalogue, seemingly trying to occupy his hands, but it only gives the impression that he’s frozen between moments.
He is, undeniably, a powerfully weird unit. Please watch:
A generous interpretation of this is that he felt weird being present at the unveiling of Julia Gillard‘s official portrait, but I think the entire rest of his life has demonstrated that it’s not just this one time.