America has had a rough last twelve months or so.
And throughout it, Stephen Colbert has run a comic feature called The Fallen (based on “The Hunger Games”) detailing the SLEW of runners in the 2016 Presidential Race (most of them Republicans) who did not make it.
They have been: Scott Walker (not the singer) Rick Santorum, Rick “Oops” Perry, George Pataki (not Sulu) Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal (looks like an Indian Alfred E. Neuman) Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham (seriously – her?) Jim Gilmore, Carly Fiorina, (she should be on the stage – it leaves in five minutes) John Kasich, Ben Carson (a dopey psycho) Jeb (or JEB!) Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie (really?) Ted Cruz – and Bernie Sanders is now only hanging on by the skin of his teeth.
But to the dismay of many, Donald Trump is STILL GOING.
Then earlier this year, they lost five beloved celebs: David Bowie, Garry Shandling, Tom Mullica, Frank Sinatra Jr and Prince (the artist formerly known as Squiggle).
And woven throughout this period have been a SLEW of terrorist outrages: Brussels, Paris (twice) Orlando, Kotoko, Tripoli, Chattanooga, Copenhagen, Bangkok, Sana’a, Tunis, Garissa, Charleston, Kobanî, Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, Kuwait City, Kukawa, Khan Bani Saad, Kabul (twice in one month) Baghdad (constantly) Ankara, Sinai, Colorado Springs, San Bernadino, London, Mogadishu (often) Kandahar Airport, Kamishli, Baga, Istanbul (twice) Maiduguri, Garland and many, MANY others.
Of course, the African and Middle-Eastern incidents have been quickly forgotten, but Paris and the domestic ones have STUNG.
Then there are the plane crashes (America is a big country – so despite having to endure all SORTS of indignities, many Americans still have to FLY) which have included Germanwings 9525 (pilot suicide) TransAsia 235 (which provided the Interweb with a SPECTACULAR dashcam video) and EgyptAir 804 – the flight-recorder for which has now been recovered.
And finally, there has been the bemusement over Britain’s “Brexit” – and the apparent impending break-up of the UK and EU – which they call Europe.
But I’m BRITISH. Thus, my experience has been different – and MUCH WORSE.
For us, the 2016 US election run-up has proven to be merely HILARIOUS.
However, America’s five dead celebs were only the thin end of the wedge. Yes, we liked Garry Shandling, Frank Sinatra Jr and Tom Mullica too (although most of us thought Prince was a prat). But David Bowie was OURS. And during that two-month period, we also lost Keith Emerson, Paul Daniels, Alan Rickman, Lemmie, Sylvia Anderson, Terry Wogan, Ken Adam, Cliff Michelmore, Ed Stewart, Sir George Martin, Douglas Slocombe and Alan Haven.
Which was approximately one dead legend every FOUR DAYS.
While we are just WAITING for the next terrorist attack on Britain. It is not a question of if – merely WHEN.
And yes, OUR list of The Fallen is WAY bigger than America’s. The 2016 would-be poti (plural of POTUS?) Fallers were EXPECTED – and the Yanks only lost five celebs to our THIRTEEN (seventeen, including theirs).
It includes a SLEW of politicians. Following the 2015 General Election (the results of which the polling organisations proved SPECTACULARLY inept at predicting) ALL the leaders of the losing parties – Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage – up and RESIGNED (although Nigel later retracted).
Then we have the Fallers after Brexit (which AGAIN the pollsters SPECTACULARLY failed to predict). From hero to zero; Boris Johnson – GONE. British Prime Minister, David Cameron – GONE. Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn – like his American eq, ALSO hanging on by the skin of his teeth. Nigel Farage – bloody LAUGHING [next day update: now HE has gone – AGAIN].
Plus Britain and Europe THEMSELVES – as INSTITUTIONS – falling apart before our very EYES.
And in addition to all of the above Fallers are another group, who are peculiar to Britain; a SLEW of showbiz celebs who have been indicted, or at least interviewed, by the British police (see “Operation Yewtree” and other, similar ops) concerning an assortment of historical SEX offences – many against children.
This group is mostly unknown to Americans; it began with Gary Glitter, then took in Jimmy Savile – after which it spread to Dave Lee Travis, Max Clifford, Rolf Harris, Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson, Paul Gambaccini, Stuart Hall, William Roache, Jimmy Tarbuck, Jonathan King and Cliff Richard.
However, in the interests of fairness (and my not wanting to be sued) it must be said that some have since been VINDICATED.
Then there are those from the POLITICAL world. Anthony Blunt, Leon Brittan, Sir Cyril Smith and a SLEW of other “knights” – now including Clement Freud.
Plus some bizarre stories concerning old Ted Heath and his “Morning Cloud” have emerged – however, those beggar belief.
But this is not ABOUT them – it is about US. We, the people – who expect there to be certain CONSTANTS when it comes to the World. AND the figures, organisations, places, institutions and values that inhabit it.
And when all of that FALLS, we begin to PANIC.
Which results in the rise of people like Farage and Trump.
So what of the future?
Well, for Baby-Boomers such as m’self, our heroes will continue to peg out – they are all at least in their seventies now. And clearly the SLEW of them we lost earlier this year was just a statistical glitch. After all, the Stones are still around (Blues bands never die) – and half of the Beatles too.
And one SUPPOSES that America WILL see sense – and put Old Ma Clinton into the White House in a few months time. With all of that Trump hoopla (and them having previously elected a BLACK man whose middle name is Hussein – TWICE) it is easy to lose sight of the fact that she will be the FIRST US FEMALE PRESIDENT EVER.
Also, there is a LOT of resistance to Britain leaving Europe (with Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and even LONDON all threatening to SEPARATE from England; they voted AGAINST Brexit) – so maybe it will not happen.
But even if it does, life will go on (albeit with a MASSIVE SLEW of political and social upheavals, complications – and the occasional total and utter clusterf**k).
The main problem will be terrorism. ISIL, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram are CONCEPTS more than organisations. And every country has its own nut-jobs who just LOOK for legitimacy for their insanity. Thus it is hard to see what more can be done to counteract THEM.
So all in all, we will CONTINUE to “live in interesting times” (Wiki it).