As I write this, the US election is still underway. Though it’s the closest race the country has seen in 76 years, I feel confident in predicting that the winner will be a multi-millionaire Harvard law grad who was raised by white people, who spent some of his youth abroad, and who has spent decades in a church that many people consider strange. On top of that, he will be backed by massively powerful vested interests, and he will not close Guantanamo Bay or stop dispatching drones to annihilate Pakistanis.
Aside from that, I’m totally in the dark! But it’s not as if it’s the only important news this week. Indeed not! So I thought I’d share with you some of the stories that have been unfairly sidelined by all this malarkey about electing a president.
For instance, did you know that Britney Spears is in talks to write a novel? No? That’s probably because you were too busy thinking about politics. But in fact the formerly shaven-headed songstress, who prefers miming to actual vocal utterance, is negotiating with HarperCollins to write a “roman a clef” based on her life.
Given that we already know pretty much everything about her life, I’m not sure how enlightening such a book could be - but then again, she won’t actually be writing anything. Some invisible man or woman will take mp3 files of her saying “um,” “er” and “like” a lot and render them into simple prose for a great deal of money. In that sense Britney actually has something in common with both presidential candidates, as they don’t write their own speeches either - though I suspect that her ghosted text will be easier to swallow.
Now that’s news! But that’s not all that’s been going on, oh no! In Russian politics, stuff has been happening. I’m not sure what exactly, although Sergei Shoigu did become the new Defense Minister after replacing somebody whose name I’ve already forgotten. But what I really wanted to draw your attention to was Mikhail Prokhorov. Remember him? He was the very tall billionaire who pretended to be opposing Putin at the last election.
Wait, did I say he was pretending? Oops! Didn’t I read in Snob, the magazine that Prokhorov owns, that he was really, really serious? In that case, why haven’t we seen him at any of the opposition rallies? Well, this week I learned the truth: recently he opened a new stadium for the Brooklyn Nets, the basketball team he owns, and he had Jay-Z over to perform at the celebrations. On Monday meanwhile Slam Online reported that Prokhorov would like the team to “reach the Eastern Conference finals.” I have no idea what that means, but obviously basketball has been keeping him very busy. Any minute now though I’m sure we’ll see him on the streets of Moscow, manning the barricades! What, you disagree? How cynical!
Now that’s news! But it’s not the most important story you might have missed. No, I’ve saved that for last. On October 30th, USA Today (not just a free rag they hand out on airplanes but actually the newspaper with the second widest circulation in America) contained an incredibly important article. Remember those old Masters of the Universe toys and cartoons from the mid 80s? You know, He-Man, Skeletor, Stinkor, Buzz-Off and Man-E-Faces? Well, after 30 years we are about to learn how Skeletor got his skeleton face, thanks to DC Comics who are publishing:
“…a powerful one-shot tale featuring the skeletal 1980s cartoon and toy villain and He-Man's greatest foil.”
What’s that? You didn’t know that a piece of plastic designed for six- to eight-year-olds to play with required an origin story? You’re wrong. For, lo! The flabby man-boy “journalist” quotes the comic’s writer Joshua Fialkov thus:
“The fact that he got his face burned off is more than just the actual physical act of burning his face off. It has an emotional root. He's stripping away who he was to become who he will be."
Sounds deep! But that’s not all:
"Before, it was more about 'Let's do what we think the kids want,' whereas now we get to tell stories that are what the adults want."
Yes: millions of adults are clamoring to know why Skeletor has a skeleton face! Well, OK, perhaps twenty thousand chronically nostalgic nerds in their late 30s want to know, but that in turn raises another important question. Is there any more tangible symbol of the decline of Western civilization than the fact that this publication exists, that a “newspaper” is reporting on its existence, and that grown men will part with $3.99 (plus tax) to own it?
That is the pretty pass to which we have come, friends. And knowing that, well, nothing else seems to matter. It’s over. I mean, no matter what you do - it’s over. The sun might rise, men and women will be born, grow old and die, presidents will play musical chairs, but…
Excuse me: I need to lie down in the dark for a while.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and may not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
What does the world look like to a man stranded deep in the heart of Texas? Each week, Austin- based author Daniel Kalder writes about America, Russia and beyond from his position as an outsider inside the woefully - and willfully - misunderstood state he calls “the third cultural and economic center of the USA.”
Daniel Kalder is a Scotsman who lived in Russia for a decade before moving to Texas in 2006. He is the author of two books, Lost Cosmonaut (2006) and Strange Telescopes (2008), and writes for numerous publications including The Guardian, The Observer, The Times of London and The Spectator.