Saturday, 19 November 2016

In these tough political times, what can we learn from Disney?

I wrote this wrote this on Sunday night, a few hours before the North Canterbury Quake, but held off publishing it immediately, with the idea of submitting it to the Spinoff. Obviously, the week has become quite a bit more shit since then, and I figure we could all do with a bit of a distraction from the impending Trumpocalypse, earthquakes, tsunamis and whatnot. So here goes.

Wow. What a shitter of a week. By now, we thought we'd have finally worked off the collective hangover we got from celebrating the first female president of the US. Instead we're still drinking to drown out the actuality that a small handed orangutan will be in the Oval Office at the start of the year. I blame Mowgli for teaching King Louie to be so human-like.

Never seen them in the same room
People have been dealing with the impending Trumpocalypse in various ways. Vice President Joe Biden, for example, has taken to boobietrapping the White House in preparation for Donald and Mike's arrival.

I am more of a practical problem solver, and thought it would be good to learn from others who have lived under a despotic regime: regular Disney townsfolk. So I sat down with a few beers (cos that's my other coping mechanism, remember), and watched Frozen and the Lion King, in order to find any advice I could.

1. Do nothing, just play along and hope for the best
This was the option all the lions in the Lion King took when Scar killed the widely loved and respected Mufasa, and I guess what Trump is hoping will happen for the next four years, now he's chased the Clinton dynasty away. Thing is, it really didn't work well, did it? Scar had no idea what he was doing, the kingdom fell to pieces, and the climate changed and the pride were completely unprepared to be able to make any changes at all. It's kinda like its some sort of metaphor for what's going on now... Which presumably means that Chelsea Clinton is out there somewhere eating bugs and having the time of her life before returning in four years time to a soundtrack of Elton John to reclaim the United States of America for the Clinton dynasty, with assistance from a wacky warthog/meerkat duo. You heard it here first.

Washington DC, 2020AD

2. Chase them away, then try and kill them
Here's a statement that's going to land me in controversy. Queen Elsa is somewhat analogous with Donald Trump. She has power that she has no idea how to control. And she's isolationist, she doesn't want her power to get out, so she shuts a gate/builds a wall. Also there's an army of trolls, though they seem to be quite nice, as opposed to Donald's Deplorables. When her ability to summon ice and snow out of nothing becomes simply too terrifying for her subjects, Elsa sees no option but to flee into the mountains, where she builds a large tower and sings a song that haunts the lives of parents everywhere. Not content to see her gone, Elsa is persued by an army intent on seeing her permanently disposed of. Of course, the army fails, but still, the intention is there.

Build a wall, build a wall
Can't hold them back any more
Build a wall, build a wall
Mexico will pay, you can be sure 

Similarly, in Beauty and the Beast, the titular Beast is confined to his castle, and furthermore all of his household are transformed into various items of crockery or utensils for carrying out housework. Given most of the President-elect's inner circle are actually already tools, this could be easier to pull off in Trump Tower than it may seem.

3. Sing!
Really, this should go without saying. All Disney heroes face adversity with a song, be it a heartfelt ballad alone in their basement bedroom, staring whist fully out the window, or a crowd marching to confront their common enemy and to drive him out of town. Even the drudgery of a day down the mines can be cheered up by whistling a merry melody! Cinderella, Simba, even Peter Pan and the Lost Boys didn't suffer silently: They fought back with a song in their hearts and an irritating ear worm in the ears of their audiences. It's not just a tactic completely devoid of historical precedence either: if Hugh Jackman has taught me anything, it's that the French aristocracy were overthrown by soulful anthems sung in the street, and a huge pile of rubbish. And the pro-Clinton team have form! Why can't Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Sprinsteen, Madonna, J-Lo, the Dixie Chicks and Katy Perry lead a mass musical uprising?

Sure, the villain usually gets a musical number too, but it's usually the least popular song, and in a depressing minor key. And the best the Trump-Pence campaign could come up with is Ted Nugent. (And apparently Kanye for the next 4 years til he runs in 2020).

3. Protest. Stick it to the man!
Popular uprising and civil disobedience? It's too obvious, surely! But without the people of Paris realising what a bad, bad man Judge Frollo was for wanting to kill all the gypsies, Quasimodo would never have won the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Sure, defences made out of molten lead helped, but a rioting underclass is what truly strikes terror into the powers that be. With story lines like that, how Public Enemy never got a contract to score a Disney film is beyond me. And in Lady and the Tramp, without Old Trusty altruistically throwing himself under the wheels of the dog catcher's cart, The Man, represented by Aunt Sarah and her Siamese cats, would never have been exposed for the tyrants obsessed with ridding the world of her nemesis, Tramp.

F#@k Tha Dog Police 

And it looks as though this may be the way the US is heading, with major protest across the eastern and western seaboards. Signs saying 'Not My President' are all well and good, but we need re passion. Where are the pitchforks and flaming torches? Because calling the Vice President-elect slightly immature names is all well and good, but it's probably going to get a bit old before four years are up.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Surprise and shock as Bono announced winner of 2016 Presidential Election

There was surprise and confusion expressed in the United States of America and around the world today, as U2 lead singer and one of nine reigning Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Bono was announced the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election, despite not having being amongst the candidates in the running for the post. Those in the running included Democrat Hillary Clinton, aiming to make history by becoming first woman to gain the job; and orange skinned Republican Donald Trump, looking to become the first Oompah-Loompah to take on a position in human governance. However the ageing rock star and self proclaimed saviour of mankind was cited for his humanitarian work and thirteen studio albums of exponentially decreasing quality and sales. It is the first time in the 241 year history of the United States of America that a foreign born rock star has been chosen as president.

The President Elect gets a few tips from his predecessor 

'For many years the House of Representatives has been discussing the possibility of announcing a President who not only isn't a politician, but who isn't even a citizen of this great country,' House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) said in a released statement. 'In 2016, with the two most unpopular candidates in living memory, it seemed to be the right time. As a House, we have come together in our beliefs that Bono's stated values of self-aggrandisement and forcing his lofty ideals upon the rest of an unsuspecting world match well with those of the United States. We are delighted to name Bono as our Commander in Chief and President of the United States 2016-2020.'

Bono himself reacted with trademark humility and grace to the shock honour. 'U2's music has always stood for the empowerment of every man, woman and child on this earth, and through this music we have managed to bring about the change that the world has needed. I'm humbled to be able to continue this change through this surprise elevation to a position I am sure I was born to fill,' he said. 'It's a Beautiful Day!'

Reaction amongst the other candidates has been mixed. Clinton, until recent days thought to be the unassailable forerunner in the election, was generous in defeat. 'The American people and their elected representatives have spoken, and I'd like to congratulate Bono on his election win,' she said at a somber reception for supporters in Brooklyn, NY. 'Our campaign can learn from this election race, and will come back stronger to fulfil what I believe is my destiny in 2020. #ImWithHer.'

Trump, however, was less accepting, sending out several furious tweets. 'CROOKED BONO steals rigged election!! SAD. Why won't Bono release his tax returns, hasn't paid in US or IRELAND since 1984.'

World leaders were quick to react to the unexpected news. British Prime Minister Theresa May was keen to point to the Irish citizen's rapid ascension to the top of US politics as yet another example of the creeping insidious influence of European politics. 'Brexit means Brexit,' May declared. 'An independent United Kingdom refuses to be beholden to Continental influence, be it from Brussels, Dublin, or Washington DC.'

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, however, sent his congratulations. 'Look, obviously Bono is actually a pretty successful singer, and he likes his golf. I've been in touch to say, look, if you're ever in New Zealand get in touch for a round, or come and watch the All Blacks play rugby. I could get him into the dressing room if he wanted. And I sent him a mixtape Max made, see if he wants to put it on his next album.'

Outgoing United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed relief that maybe with a whole country to look after, Bono wouldn't be hanging around trying to do good at the General Assembly so much any more, and bemoaned that the singer's appointment hadn't come four years earlier.

With power to chose the Vice President, speculation remains rife as to who the  Upper House might chose as Bono's deputy. Rumour has it that chief amongst the names being bandied around is Kanye West, in preparation for a run at the top job in 2020.