The Plastic Hippo

May 28, 2016

Facing forward in flats

Filed under: History,Media,Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 3:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
Fred and Ginger

Fred and Ginger

Viewed from this considerable distance, watching Hollywood musicals produced in the 1930s is tinged with an indistinct melancholia. With sumptuous sets, casts of thousands, spectacular production numbers and improbably storylines, the golden age of RKO, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Paramount and Warner Brothers portrays a fantasy world in stark contrast to the Great Depression that preceded the Second World War.

In these marvellous yet shallow movies, “ordinary” Americans pursuing the American dream would tap dance in penthouses the size of aircraft hangers; relax with cocktails by the pool, fly down to Rio; dress for diner with minor European royalty and always have a happy ending. A few precious nickels and dimes, or shillings and pennies, could in those dark days buy a couple of hours of escape from a harsh reality. Now, at this considerable distance, Busby Berkeley has been replaced by reality television as a means of escape. Sadly, this escape is based on watching people being thoroughly unpleasant as a form of entertainment and as a reassurance that there are, out there, people more unpleasant than us.

Interestingly, there is a particular unpleasant individual that links the causes of the Great Depression to the bleak negativity of reality television. The recently confirmed Republican candidate for the office of President of the United States of America inherited a vast fortune and a property empire from a far more able father and through incompetence, vanity and sheer greed has managed to reduce and depress the fortune and empire. However, the original inheritance was so vast that it has allowed the candidate to fund a presidential campaign based of fear, prejudice, bigotry and bullying and has allowed him to claim to be a man of people from the steps of his own private Boeing airliner with his name painted on the side. He is also, like so many other exotic inhabitants of reality television, quite prepared to say anything in order to attract media attention.

It would be foolish to dismiss this creature as some sort of sick joke because there are clearly enough Americans prepared to support homophobia, anti-Mexican rhetorical bombast, the hatred of Islam, isolationism and unparalleled misogyny. However, the America of Lincoln and Kennedy, a migrant nation founded through adversity and diversity and based on freedom, does not need to fear an opportunistic, egomaniac reality television product whistling at coyotes in the badlands. Having failed to check his notoriety, the Republican Party is in ruins after trying to mimic his sensational nonsense of hate.

The level of sexist bile spewing out of the Republican candidate is a master class in impotent male attention seeking. He has criticised the appearance of political opponents within the Republican Party who happen to be women. We need to give that thought some serious consideration. The Republican candidate has criticised women because of their physical appearance. He has made some very creepy observations regarding his own daughter which might or might not be considered complimentary out there in the badlands. If his attitude towards women excludes him from public office in the second decade of the 21st century, then his interest in owning Scottish golf courses refusing membership to women becomes bizarrely explainable.

In those far off black and white American dream fantasies, Fred and Ginger always danced in perfect time and made the terpsichorean endeavour seem effortless. However it needs to be remembered, as one anonymous wit pointed out over and over and over again, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.

Good morning America – are you ready for another president called Clinton?

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