Arnon Grunberg


Beauty contest

A friend alerted me to a highly entertaining article in today’s Times about the mayor of Kiev: ‘Leonid M. Chernovetsky, this city’s unpredictable mayor, likes to answer his critics in his own special way.
When Parliament members said he was acting bizarrely and needed a psychiatric exam, he went to a stadium where he jogged for the cameras before yanking off his shirt and doing pull-ups. He swam laps and flexed his muscles like Charles Atlas. Then he held a news conference — in his tiny bathing suit.
“They are judging me today and want me to spend the rest of my life behind the bars of a psychiatric hospital,” Mr. Chernovetsky said. “Look at my body, at how I express my thoughts. I am absolutely healthy. I think logically and philosophically.” True, he was in fine physical shape for a man of 57, though perhaps this was not the wisest strategy for proving one’s competence.’

In the last decades the body of the politician has become more and more important. If this trend continues, the difference between an election and a beauty contest will be a minor one.

Please, pay close attention to the picture of Kiev’s mayor in the article in the Times.