Sunday Times

SURVIVING THE LOCKDOWN

Ex-governator Arnie rocks Insta, writes

- Andrea Nagel

Forgive me, for I have sinned. I like Arnold Schwarzene­gger — more than just a little. I confess I’ve never watched The Terminator, but I loved Total Recall. It has some memorably last-century lines, like: “What you been feeding this thing?” brunette actress Rachel Ticotin asks Arnie, groping him in a bar. “Blondes,” is his deadpan reply. “Well, he’s still hungry,” is her comeback line.

But Arnie has moved with the times and while he is on the red side of the American flag, he does fall into his own “Never Trump” category of Republican and uses his platform as ex-governor of California to voice his concerns about climate change and is vociferous­ly anti the politician­s in his party who backed Trump.

But it’s his Instagram persona that’s captured my heart and kept my spirits buoyant during “these difficult times”. Arnie’s Instagram is a mixture of bland self-promotion, inspiratio­nal pro-democracy speeches, scenes from his day-to-day life and, well, weightlift­ing. Who woulda thunk?

Screen time is precious, so look out for these on his account:

Big guy on small bike

Muscle-bound Arnie loves to explo-wa (think Austrian accent) his surroundin­gs on his tiny mountain bike. There are few things on the Insaverse as adorable.

Big guy with big guy

Some of the ’grams straddle the line between narcissist­ic and super cute. Schwarzene­gger-on-Schwarzene­gger is a common theme on his Insta, but he makes it unoffensiv­e by being so grandfathe­rly. A few weeks ago, to celebrate his first bike ride after his heart surgery, he rode past an enormous graffiti of himself in his heyday in Venice Beach, California.

Big guy with large mini farm animals

This is justificat­ion for his 21.5-millions followers. Arnie has what every kid dreams of, a mini pony called Lulu and a velveteen mini donkey (pictured) called Viskee (Whisky). Adventures in the Schwarzene­gger home include the equine appropriat­e eating of carrots and less horsey working out in the gym. Whatever they’re doing, they look delighted to have wound up in a mansion in California with the ex-gov. Arnie told talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel that only once did they poop indoors, but said the scent wafted together with that of cooking Wiener schnitzel,

“so it was fine”.

Though Arnie spends some of his posts espousing politics, there’s still a delightful emptiness at the heart of his Instagram account and this, more than anything else, is what makes it a welcome break from reality … oh, and that accent!

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