Global Village Idiot
Dubya, Dunces, and One Last Word Before You Voteby John O’Farrell
“Very funny.” –The Guardian
In this collection of hilarious essays, John O’Farrell is England’s “left-wing limey” answer to P. J. O’Rourke.
“In the Bush’s annual Christmas card update on all the things their family have been up to during the previous twelve months, colleagues of ex-President Bush were particularly irked by the round-robin they received from George Sr. and Barbara this Christmas: “Young George W is getting on just fine in his job of President of the United States (thanks for the help, Jeb!). He is looking forward to starting World War Three in the new year and Dad has been helping him find Iraq on the old family atlas. Coincidentally, this is also the time that he’ll be beginning his campaign for reelection, and as Dubya says: ‘I will not be implemented!’”
Winner of the Best Columnist of the Year at the British Liars’ Awards and Britain’s best-selling satirist, O’Farrell takes dead aim in Global Village Idiot at cell phones, awards ceremonies, genetic sheep splicers, America’s right-wing cabal of dunces, dunderheads, dimwits, and the Big “D” himself.
A jokewriter for British prime minister Tony Blair, and a writer for the groundbreaking television show Spitting Image, O’Farrell meticulously researched his conclusions “by spending five minutes on the internet and then giving up.” And while O’Farrell’s sharpest barbs and stingers have often been written to come out of the mouths of grotesque puppets and politicians, this time around he keeps the best lines for himself: “With the election of the 43rd President of the United States, the global village is complete. It has its own global village idiot.”
“Very funny.” –The Daily Mail
“Very funny.” –The Times
“Very funny.” –The Guardian
In the Bush’s annual Christmas card update
on all the things their family have been up to during the previous twelve months, colleagues of ex-President Bush were particularly irked by the round-robin they received from George Snr and Barbara this Christmas: “Young George W is getting on just fine in his new job of President of the United States (thanks for the help, Jeb!). He is looking forward to starting World War Three in the new year and Dad has been helping him find Iraq on the old family atlas. Coincidentally, this is also the time that he’ll be beginning his campaign for re-election, and as Dubya says: ‘I will not be impedemented!’”
It must be said that as political dynasties go, they don’t come much less glamorous than the Bush family. If the original President Bush had been a film, would anyone have bothered with a sequel?
Included free with the latest version of Windows
will be a computerised edition of the game “Monopoly”.
In this version Microsoft already owns every single property and you just go round and round giving them lots of money. You try to tell yourself it’s not fixed but when Bill Gates wins second prize in a beauty competition you can’t help being suspicious.
This week another dangerous dictatorship
has been added to the “Axis of Evil”. Forget Syria, North Korea and Iran, the next rogue state on the United States hit list appears to be France. A few weeks back French fries were renamed “Freedom Fries.” Since then American makers of French polish and French horns have gone bankrupt and teenage boys have patriotically been attempting to persuade their girlfriends to try “freedom kissing.” Now an extensive UN dossier has been published giving detailed accounts of French abuses of human rights. There are disturbing reports of nonchalant shrugging by French waiters. George Bush is now drawing up a list of the most wanted Frenchmen, which so far only names Gerard Depardieu and Babar the Elephant.
How Americans view Soccer’s World Cup:
Minority sport favoured by girls and Hispanics
How Brits view Soccer’s World Cup:
Most important sporting, cultural, and political event in the entire universe especially in 1966 when England won it.
My mother grew up during World War II and doesn’t like to waste anything. So when she had a new hip joint fitted recently she asked the doctor if she could take the old bone home for her dog. I suppose I should just be grateful that she didn’t boil it up to make a delicious stock. “What sort of soup is this, Mother?” “It’s Mom’s hipbone and country vegetable.” I told my friends this story and we all had a good chuckle. But then I overheard one of them telling someone else and as more laughter echoed around the pub I thought, “Hang on, what gives you the right to laugh at my family?” And so it is with poking fun at your own country and its government. It’s all very well for Americans to satirize the Bush administration, but that doesn’t give every liberal limey the right to start sniping at the U.S. president.
Thus it is with some trepidation and a sense of humility that I offer this collection of essays to you from the other side of the Atlantic. I love the United States and its people whom I know have a great sense of humour, so please do not think that any criticism of your president or Republican Party policies is an attack on you as a patriotic American (unless you yourself happen to be reading this, Dubya, which–let’s face it–is unlikely given the absence of pictures). It is because the United States has historically been a beacon of free expression and democracy that I worry about the direction in which its government is now leading the free world. You did a great job throwing off the hereditary monarchy of George III. It just seems strange that you adopted the hereditary presidency of George II.
I also have great respect for the American traditions of free speech as enshrined in the First Amendment, and I was sort of hoping that this right might extend to non-U.S. citizens who aspire to noble American values (i.e., making a quick buck by selling a load of jokes that have been printed in British newspapers once already). My country is said to have a special relationship with America, which is very important to us here in Britain, if only as an excellent way to annoy the French. So I hope you understand that any jokes at your country’s expense from this particular Brit are very much in the spirit of a critical friend. Okay, maybe one of those friends who stole your girlfriend and still owes you money and never calls you except to ask unreasonable favours, but a friend nonetheless. With a degree of distance from the United States and the American media it could even be that a British eye on topical events might offer a fresh perspective. Some things seem normal just because things have always been that way where we happen to live. When Vlad the Impaler was prince of Wallachia, many of his subjects were shocked at the radical suggestions of visitors from abroad. “What, stop impaling people altogether?!! Surely you mean gradually introduce some form of licensed impaling after hearing evidence from the Guild of Impalers?”
In fact most of these pieces are not about American politics at all. Instead I have sought to cover as wide a range of topics as possible, from human cloning to the Miss World competition to soft-core pornography. (Come to think of it, these are all the same subject, aren’t they?) I have tried to avoid banging on and on about the issues that really bug me because I thought it might get a bit boring for people to keep reading about car alarms and the uncooperative nature of my printer. Most of the essays are about three pages each–the idea being that you can sit down and read one piece a day, or possibly two, depending on whether you had All-Bran or boiled eggs for breakfast. Or perhaps you are travelling and keep being interrupted by a fellow passenger chatting to you, or maybe you’re distracted by those bits of molten engine casing dropping off the wing, and in these situations it can be hard to concentrate on some major literary classic. But like the novels of Jackie Collins you can read this book in any random order and it will make no difference whatsoever to how much you enjoy it.
This collection begins with George W. Bush well on the way to getting his new job, and ends soon after Saddam Hussein loses his. Where there is some topical or peculiarly British reference that might need further clarification I’ve inserted an asterisk to denote that there will be an explanatory footnote at the bottom of the page.* I have left in the dates that the pieces first appeared although most of them are about issues that are very much still with us. This is only one person’s reaction to the great events and profound moral issues that are shaping the new
milennium millenium century. But as America heads toward the next presidential election I hope there may be a few things here worth remembering before you vote. Most importantly I hope this collection raises the occasional smile in a time when there seems to be less and less to laugh about. As the old saying goes, “You either laugh or you cry.” Or you think of Dubya being elected to a second term and you do both.
P.S. My apologies are offered for any factual inaccuracies discovered subsequent to publication, but all details have been thoroughly researched by spending five minutes on the Internet and then giving up. For example, to check the story of nurses giving sex education in schools, I called up the search engine and entered the words “nurses’ and ‘sex.” And then I was thrown out of my local library.
©2001, 2003 by John O’Farrell. Reprinted with permission from Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.