diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Everyone loves a good Hollywood movie, but it's not every day that Britons get the opportunity to experience several for free.
• A psychological saga
   • A crime thriller
      • A romantic comedy
         • A superhero fantasy
            • A historical epic
               • A wartime drama
                  • A dystopian horror
Which takes your fancy?

If America makes the right decision today there'll be no need to choose, we can simply sit back in front of our news screens and watch all these blockbusters unfold.

• Up until this point, the US presidential election has been something of a psychological saga. We've watched, aghast and spellbound, as the leading actor has won over a significant proportion of his fellow countrymen with incoherent rhetoric, blatant lies and outright hate. All the clues are there if you watch the screenplay - the man's a psycho - but still a significant proportion of the American populace are taken in by his toxic deception.

• Like all the best crime thrillers, this one has a magnificently evil villain. Every scheme designed for profit, every plan above the law, and the rights of the innocent trampled comprehensively underfoot. Picture the new incumbent in his White House lair, a corrupt mastermind at the heart of the machine, cackling with malevolent intent. Normally this kind of unhinged immorality only happens in the movies, but today could bring the ultimate gangster story to life.

• Any romantic comedy usually warms the heart, but this powerplay has a far less feminine touch. In this environment women are second class citizens, best used for decoration, and always susceptible to a casual hand. A brash misogyny underscores the dialogue, where women expect to have no say, and the Bechdel Test is never passed. In this brave new world it's men who dominate the wider debate, and great strides towards equality can be reversed overnight.

• America loves a superhero, the weirder the outfit and the more ludicrous the hairstyle the better. Our new champion fights to deliver justice, attacking the rigged political system and tearing down the establishment. He can build a wall with his bare hands, and crush the demon of climate change through flagrant disregard. Pointing his fiery finger at the establishment elite, and embracing the creed of xenophobia, this costumed antagonist will turn social attitudes upside down.

• We've seen it all before, in some early Thirties historical epic. The rise to power of a nationalist megalomaniac, appealing to the baser prejudices of a downtrodden demographic, given legitimacy by success at the ballot box, then seeking to overrule democracy with a series of dictatorial pronouncements. Inexorably a wicked fascism takes hold, whipped up by lies and pride and fear and hate. History tells us nobody would ever fall for that old trick again, and yet history so often repeats.

• A wartime drama stirs the soul, with a popular army fighting together to defeat a common enemy. But here the threat is the Commander-in-Chief himself, a combative thin-skinned man with little understanding of foreign affairs, an inexplicable respect for Russia, and an itchy trigger finger. Give him the nuclear codes, and four whole years, and one hasty flight of temper is all it takes for the doomsday button to be pressed. Imagine the special effects budget on that.

• Hollywood's big screen offerings allow humanity to explore dystopian futures without fear, but the election of an unbalanced entrepreneur could bring these nightmare scenarios to reality. A country in which opposition is silenced by imprisonment, a nation where causing offence is settled by a religious lynchmob, a leader that preaches racism without fear of reproach, a post-factual civilisation, a dog-eat-dog society, the end of days. The Twilight Zone need not be fiction, it could be real.

Now imagine watching all this from the shores of Britain, and how exciting that would be. Each day the unfurling news would bring new unspoken horrors from our former colony, at no personal expense, and all viewed at a perfectly safe distance. It'd be more unbelievable than any tale Hollywood has ever dared to tell, and all without having to subscribe to Netflix to keep up with the entire continuing drama.

It'd make our own country's troubles seem like small change in comparison. Brexit is no movie blockbuster, more a slowburn soap opera with a cast of inept non-entities, or a series of dull Newsnight documentaries reflecting on our inexorable economic decline. We're merely the island nation that voted to make itself poorer so it could feel better about itself. Imagine if we'd actually voted to self-destruct.

Once in a generation comes a popular decision so momentous that it provides a turning point in world affairs and redefines humanity's future. Today is one such day. Don't worry, the polls assure us that the less bad option will win out, and the polls are almost always right. But imagine the Oscar-winning disaster movie we could all be treated to once the people of America have had their say. The Last Trump has never been closer.

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