Narcissus reflects

The Paul Keating letter to Bob Hawke complaining about his treatment in a book he admits he has not read is classic Keating.

Who else could in the same paragraph say that a true account of the Hawke-Keating years would record ‘how lucky you were to have me drive the government during your down years, leaving you with the credit for much of the success’ and say of Hawke that ‘Narcissus-like you cannot find enough praise to heap upon yourself’?

Keating has many talents, but self-awareness seems not to be one of them.

9 thoughts on “Narcissus reflects

  1. Both egomaniacs – they deserve each other. I like the description of Garnaut (clearly a man with an ego himself) as obsequious. Advisors who suck up to egomaniacs to maintain or bolster their status deserve some flak.


  2. The short version, ‘You’re a dickhead and I’m not’. I’m just wondering why this is so important after all these years.


  3. It’s only important to a very vain person like Keating. But the issues are of some historical interest.


  4. Together they constituted what is still Australia’s best government. Of course they each want more credit for it.


  5. Keating had read excepts from the biography in the weekend papers, which formed the basis on which he wrote his letter. It’s factually incorrect to assert that Keating’s understanding of the contents of the biography are based on . . . what, promotional material? What exactly are you claiming, Andrew? Also, Narcisscism is not the same as vanity, or overblown self-importance. I think Hawke was, and possibly is, both vain and narcisscistic. Keating, is certainly vain, but narcisscism is not an attribute he could be accused of.


  6. Ag – The source of the grief appears to have been a news story. At least the first of the extracts was about an unrelated spy scandal.

    I used Narcissus in the same way Keating did. Keating heaps praise on himself while criticising Hawke for doing the same.

    Whether Keating quite emerges from the grey area between vanity and narcissism I’m not sure; but even taking out the word ‘Narcissus’ the similarity between the criticism and the behaviour remains eye-catching.


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