From January 2017

Twenty Seventeen (a Dystopian Tale)

donald-trump-1269282_1920I’ve had an idea for a book*. It’s a great idea. Nobody has better book ideas than me. All of the other books are overrated. I will write a great, great book. And I will make Mexico pay for that book.**

 
 
Plot Summary

The year is 2017. Wilbert Jones lives in the superstate of Trumpia. The superstate is dictated by a political regime referred to as ‘Altright’ in the government’s invented language, Fakenewspeak. Trumpia is controlled by a privileged elite, known as The Billionaire Party. Any thinking at all is punished as a ‘thoughtcrime’.

Trumpia was formed as a result of the Stupid Revolution, during which masses of the population decided to rebel against nothing very much in the most illogical manner possible, based on a belief in the most ridiculous lies imaginable. Significant sectors of society, furious at having a better standard of living and more rights than before, were convinced that they should no longer stand for this nonsense and demanded a return to ‘greatness’ (a word which here means ‘poverty, oppression and racism’). Meanwhile, rich, white males felt compelled to rebel against being the world’s most powerful group by demanding more power. Following The Stupid Revolution, The Billionaire Party was apparently in control of Trumpia. No one is quite sure how this happened.

The Party leader, Bigly Hand Brother, enjoys a cult of (narcissistic) personality, and inexplicably refers to himself only in the third person. Bigly Hand Brother is much loved, mostly by himself, and receives great praise and thanks, again, mostly from himself. Some people believe that Bigly Hand Brother does not really exist. He may have been created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Or be Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest persona. Bigly Hand Brother and The Billionaire Party are interested only in their own power. They have no interest in the well-being of the citizens of Trumpia.

Trumpia has four ministries. The Ministry of #AlternativeFacts rewrites history, deletes tweets, burns tax records and lies through its teeth. The Ministry of You Can Do Anything deals with equality and women’s rights. The Ministry of Greatness is responsible for cutting healthcare, birth control and tax for the rich, and destroying trade agreements, all in the best interests of well-being and prosperity for the normal man. The Ministry of White Supremacy has responsibility for construction (walls), supply (white sheets with eye holes), and the military (goose-stepping and salutes). The Ministry of the NRA is concerned with production (more guns).

A secret underground organisation, known as ‘The Women’, intends to destroy The Party. Bigly Hand Brother has declared The Women to be ‘big, fat pigs’. Instructions have been issued that any person found to be a member of The Women may be grabbed.

There are two other superstates: Europeanunionia and Russia***. There is a state of perpetual, unwinnable war between the superstates. Trumpia is at war with Europeunionia. Trumpia is friends with Russia. Trumpia has always been friends with Russia. A populace familiar with ‘Nothink’ seems to have accepted this, though it is not true. In fact, Trumpia, back in the days before the Stupid Revolution when it was known as ‘America’, was once an ally of Europeunionia, and at war with Russia. The new alliance began during ‘Hate Month’ in November 2016. A month Bigly Hand Brother dedicated to stirring up hatred of everything, except Russia. Brainwashed citizens now repeat the phrase ‘we’ve always been at war with Europeanunionia’. They have been told by the Party that the war is over Europeanunionia’s resettlement of some refugees (although this really isn’t any of Trumpia’s business) and, rather improbably, Europeunionia’s production of much better cars than Trumpia.

Whilst the Billionaire Party live in gold plated luxury, the standard of living for the majority of the population is intentionally kept low. The unwinnable war and breaking of trade agreements assist with this, along with the work of the Ministry of Greatness. The citizens of Trumpia are kept under constant surveillance. By Russia mostly.

Wilbert Jones works in the Ministry of #AlternativeFacts, censoring reality. He erases ‘overrated’ people, and creates crowds of people attending inaugurations. It is Wilbert’s job to ensure all figures, including those relating to hand size, are greatly exaggerated. References to debts owed to Russia, misspelt tweets, rape allegations and the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution are all eliminated by Wilbert and his colleagues in the Ministry.

Wilbert attempts to resist the Billionaire Party and sets up an alternative twitter account (@altwilbert).**** However, after being tricked by someone he believed to be an agent of The Women, who was really working for The Party, he is captured by the ‘Nothought Police’. He is ultimately waterboarded into submission. Bigly Hand Brother likes waterboarding.*****

 
Terminology of Trumpia

‘Nothink’ is the principle of accepting and repeating any claim – no matter how ludicrous, immoral, contradictory or blatantly untrue – without giving it a second thought, or subjecting it to any level of analysis, critical thinking or fact-checking.

‘Thoughtcrime’ refers to engaging in any rational thought at all. It is punished by the ‘Nothought Police’. Twitter is monitored to detect any citizens engaging in thinking. Bigly Hand Brother personally deals with twitter related thoughtcrime.

Fakenewspeak is a language invented by Bigly Hand Brother and The Party. It consists of a combination of nonsense words, misspelt words, and real words used in a ridiculous manner. Many have suspected that Fakenewspeak is a product of utter stupidity and inability to use the original language of America correctly. Bigly Hand Brother has refuted this claim, stating that: ‘Fakenewspeak is a great, great language – nobody makes up languages better than me, believe me.’

 
 
What do you think? Great book idea, right? I can’t shake the feeling that it is somehow familiar, though…******

 
 

(*I haven’t.

**All based on Trump quotes, just in case anyone thinks I’ve lost the plot.

***Conveniently didn’t even need adjusting – already ended in ‘ia’.

****Do check out the rogue twitter accounts apparently set up by employees of various US agencies that have had their official accounts gagged by the Trump administration. Let’s hope they’re real.

*****And other *ahem* ‘water’ based activities.

******It is familiar. It’s based on Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, of course.)

 
 
‘There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always – do not forget this – always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.’

– George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Lullaby for Toddlers

the-pleiades-star-cluster-11637_1920Twinkle, Twinkle Go to Bed

 
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I (Put down that toy car!)
Up above the world so high,
(We’re trying to sing this lullaby.)

When the blazing sun is gone,
(Into bed now, please come on!)
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle (Bed! That’s right.)

Then the traveller in the dark
(No, we can’t go to the park!)
He could not see where to go,
If (Yes, I see it’s your shadow.)

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And (INTO BED! It’s time to sleep!)
For you never shut your eye
Till (I’m not playing I spy.)

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the (I said no to the park!)
Though I know (You can’t have bread!)
Twinkle, twinkle (GO TO BED!)

Songs That Should Come With a Parental Advisory

child-1884904_1920Now, I know everyone tends to think they should probably avoid playing Eminem around their toddlers, maybe give the uncensored version of Lloyd’s Dedication to My Ex a miss. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are a whole host of seemingly innocuous songs out there with completely inappropriate lyrics for children. These songs are a terrible influence on any impressionable toddler, yet the censors do nothing.

Here is my list of 15 songs that should come with a parental advisory, but do not. Consider yourself warned.

 
 
1. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

No. Don’t go your own way. COME BACK HERE.

 
2. Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Please do. Please fear the reaper. And stop climbing that.

 
3. Set Fire to the Rain – Adele

No, you can’t set fire to the rain. Do not try to set fire to the rain.

 
4. Don’t Stop Moving – S Club 7

Please, stop moving. I’m trying to put your shoes on.

 
5. Defying Gravity – Wicked soundtrack

You cannot defy gravity. DO NOT JUMP FROM THERE.

 
6. Everybody Hurts – REM

This does not mean that when you bang your head on the table you should whack your sister so her head hurts too.

 
7. Here I Go Again (on My Own) – Whitesnake

The supermarket is not the appropriate place for going it alone if you are two.

 
8. Don’t Let Go – En Vogue

Except for hair. Do let go of my hair.

 
9. Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran

Even if you are hungry like the wolf, it is not okay to stick your head in the bowl and lick it.

 
10. I Want it All – Queen

No.

 
11. Jump/Jump for my Love/Jump Around – Van Halen/The Pointer Sisters/House of Pain

Stop **#?!@* jumping!

 
12. Paint it Black – The Rolling Stones

Don’t you dare.

 
13. Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

I don’t care if everybody was doing it.

 
14. Hot n Cold – Katy Perry

Yes, I know: ‘you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re in then you’re out, you’re up then you’re down, you’re wrong when it’s right, it’s black and it’s white…’ But, for the love of god, DO YOU LIKE CHEESE OR NOT?!

 
15. (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party) – The Beastie Boys

No, you do not ‘gotta’. Especially when you are fighting with your sister for the right to hold an imaginary tea party on the cat.

The Three Wise Women

imageAs you probably know, it is Epiphany, and I am sure you probably also know the story of the Three Wise Men. But do you know the story of the Three Wise Women? No? I thought not. Read on for a tale of wonder, travel, and sensible bloody baby gifts.

 
 
The Three Wise Women

The Three Wise Women saw a new star appear in the night sky and, because they were very wise, knew that this heralded the birth of a new king.

However, the Wise Women decided they would wait until they were invited to see the baby: ‘If you have to follow a bloody star to find the baby, you’re probably not welcome.’ They were very wise indeed. No one wants uninvited visitors when they’ve just had a baby. Especially not ones with camels. Besides, following a star would mean walking only at night. Who’s doing that?

Having waited for an invitation, the Wise Women set out on their journey bearing gifts.

Wise Woman Number One – we’ll call her Beryl – came bearing a gift of clothing for the baby. (Old bed sheets, ties and tea towels. What do you mean, that’s not what people actually wore despite the depiction found in primary school productions of the Nativity?) But not all in newborn size, of course (they grow out of newborn tea towels so quickly).

Wise Woman Number Two – we’ll call her Cheryl – came bearing a gift of a moses basket for the baby. A manger didn’t sound very suitable or hygienic, and it almost certainly wouldn’t comply with European safety standards.

Wise Woman Number Three – we’ll call her Meryl – came bearing a gift of chocolates for Mary. Well, the baby hadn’t done any of the work here, had he?

Passing through Judea, the Wise Women were asked by King Herod for the exact time and location of the baby’s birth. The Wise Women refused to provide this information: it’s really not acceptable to make people’s birth announcements for them. Herod would have to wait until Mary announced it on facebook, like everybody else.

Finally, Beryl, Cheryl and Meryl arrived in Bethlehem to worship at the feet of…Mary. ‘Oh my god, you look amazing! Did it hurt?’

They made offerings of small talk. Beryl asked, ‘Does he sleep well?…Ever so quiet? Well, that’s good!’
Cheryl asked, ‘What are you calling him?…Jesus? That’s unusual, isn’t it? Don’t often see a Jesus. Is it a family name?…Told to you by an angel? Really? Wow.’
Meryl asked, ‘Who do you think he looks like, then? You or Joseph?’ Beryl stamped on her foot. ‘Ow! What?? Oh…right. Oops – sorry, Joseph!’
Cheryl muttered, ‘Awkward!’

Gifts delivered, the Three Wise Women prepared to depart, but not before politely asking Mary and Joseph if there was anything they needed. An offer they immediately regretted: ‘Safe passage to Egypt? Can we get that in Mothercare? We were thinking more along the lines of a lasagne to put in the freezer.’

There you have it: the lesser known story of the Three Wise Women. They came, they saw, they didn’t give a newborn baby myrrh.