Certain images assault the retina with such force that no amount of willpower, drink or hypnotherapy can wash them completely away.
Politicians know this, which is why they hire media advisers to control their ''visual messaging''.
A good media adviser will nod approvingly in the background as their boss makes an important announcement, apply pancake make-up before a television appearance, and generally make sure their guy or gal looks as competent and authoritative as possible.
It's quite difficult to do that when you're posing with an oversize toilet.
Which is why the media adviser to independent MP Rob Oakeshott reportedly told photographers assembled for yesterday's anti-poverty event that the boss would not be going anywhere near the large porcelain throne on the front lawn of Parliament House.
But when the member for Lyne turned up for the event, held to publicise the fact that billions of people worldwide still have no access to an adequate toilet, he was persuaded by the photographers to sit on the giant porcelain prop.
These photographers did not necessarily have his best interests at heart.
The toilet being oversize, Oakeshott had to - well, there's no other way to say this - strain to get on it. The resulting pictures, unfortunately, will always exist.
Another much-discussed image yesterday was taken from the ABC comedy At Home with Julia, a satirical take on Prime Minister Julia Gillard's personal life with her partner, Tim Mathieson.
A still taken from tonight's episode showed the actress playing Gillard snuggling on the floor with the actor playing Mathieson. Both appeared to be naked but for the Australian flag covering them like a bedsheet.
In the Coalition party room meeting, held yesterday morning, this caused some outrage. The Nationals MP John Forrest said it demeaned the flag, and the Liberal National Party MP Teresa Gambaro said it demeaned the office of the Prime Minister.
(No one spared a thought as to whether it brought disrepute on this column, titled, as it is, Under the Flag.)
One image the government will be happy to promote is that of Treasurer Wayne Swan posing for today's edition of Euromoney, which is like OK! for economics nerds but with fewer red carpet photo galleries.
As Swan rose in question time to answer a particularly dixery dixer on jobs growth, he seemed to have an extra spring in his step.
Which might go a small way towards improving the government's image.