Challenging Politics. Scott Ryan. Monash Uni Press: In the National Interest series

By common consensus of gen X, the greatest single movie ending is that of National Lampoon's Animal House, the 1979 saga of a raucous college frat house of the early 1960s. It's animated by John Belushi's iconic portrayal of "Bluto" Blutarsky, the toga-partying, food-spraying chaos agent who -- in pirate costume -- destroys the town parade and drives off in a stolen convertible, kidnapped cheerleader in the jump seat -- a shot captioned in the closing "Where are they now" sequence as "Senator and Mrs John Blutarsky".

Fast-forward a decade, and your correspondent is in the Melbourne Uni student union, engaged in some student-politics struggle, which involved an alliance between the left and the Libs and which required a door to be blocked to prevent a meeting. The object used for this was a first-year Liberal, portly, clad in a dirty white windcheater bearing the tomato-saucy marks of O-week sausage sizzle. Wow, that kid's a real Bluto, I thought, and by now you have undoubtedly surmised how right I was -- for a couple of decades later I was watching the 2013 swearing-in and there was said Bluto, Scott Ryan, being sworn in as a senator. Life imitates National Lampoon. If only I'd known.