To borrow Churchill's famous line, Kim Dotcom is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
What's the secret of his appeal? And why is it that virtually everything he does causes someone, somewhere to take leave of their senses?
Take the rabble-rousing video that prompted comparisons with Nazi rallies. Normally we'd invoke the rule that anyone who stoops to making Nazi analogies automatically loses the argument. However, much of what was said in defence of Dotcom and his student audience (Dotties for short) was just as extravagant.
Mark Blackham, described as a PR professional, claimed the video shows "real people expressing real political emotions ... The alarmed reaction from the commentariat and twitterati reveals the extent to which the ruling elite are simply not comfortable with real people being political."
While it's gratifying to learn that columnists are part of the ruling elite, I'm confused by the references to "real people". I would've said they were real people before they opened their mouths, but then I don't understand why being part of a mob chanting "F*** John Key" makes you real. It would seem to follow that being politically disengaged or phlegmatic makes you bogus, but since when was it okay to arbitrarily categorise the citizenry on the basis of their political involvement and/or demonstrativeness?
Then there's the equally loaded use of "political". Why is getting rude and raucous at an Internet-Mana event a more authentic expression of political engagement than being an attentive member of the audience at a candidates' debate or, for that matter, following the election campaign in the privacy of your own home?
Others commentators applauded the Dotties for injecting "passion" into an otherwise bland campaign.
Like "awesome", the word "passion" has been rendered meaningless through overuse. Just as people don't look forward to anything any more (they have to be "really excited" about it), it's no longer enough to be keen on this or interested in that: you have to be "passionate" about it.
Artificial or superficial emotion, once regarded with suspicion by a society that valued self-control, now gets the big tick. Thus vehemence trumps knowledge and emotionalism trumps reason and vehemence and emotionalism combined are deemed to confer authenticity.
Middle of the road, representative parties and the people who tend to rise to the top of them don't arouse passion. Novelty generates passion, as does demagoguery. (The Collins English Dictionary: "Demagogue n. A political agitator who appeals with crude oratory to the prejudice and passions of the mob.") If you want to see passion in European politics, don't look to the mainstream parties of the centre-left and centre-right. Look instead to UKIP in Britain and the National Front in France and their various soul-mates, far-right outfits springing from a tainted political tradition whose animating cause is opposition to immigration: xenophobia if you're being polite, racism if you aren't.
And while Christchurch is a long way from Nuremberg, it's worth remembering that the crowds at those Nazi rallies were nothing if not passionate.
The Dotties appear to detest the Prime Minister, but what else are they passionate about? What are their causes? That too is a mystery, hence the preposterousness of claims that the event and chant hark back to the anti-Vietnam war movement and other great causes of the golden age of student protest: feminism, gay rights, the environment and New Zealand rugby's destructive love affair with segregationist South Africa.
While the media has been indulgent towards Dotcom - understandably because he's a human headline who, for better or worse, has livened the place up - the left's enthusiasm is harder to fathom.
Put it this way: if Dotcom was an American financier, a Wolf of Wall St figure fighting extradition back to the US to face charges of insider trading and fleecing investors, who was pouring a small fortune into a campaign to bring down a Labour prime minister, what would the reaction be?
I suspect we'd be hearing an awful lot on the theme of the undesirability of having a rich individual with a murky background and little or no understanding of our political tradition insert himself into the electoral process out of self-interest.
Dotcom asked the Dotties: "Are you ready for a revolution?" John Lennon posed this challenge to people who go around talking about revolution: "You say you got a real solution. Well, you know, we'd all love to see the plan."
Dotcom's solution - extraditing John Key - might well solve his problem. But neither he nor the cynical political contrivance he bankrolls have begun to explain why the rest of us should see this election in terms of his problem and his solution.