FLAT EARTH

Vote Travolta

Bill Clinton will win the Presidential election in November. Bob Dole hasn't a hope.

OK, I know the incumbent has a double-digit lead in the polls, but that could change. Nor is this prediction based on the state of the economy, the candidates' promises, astrology, or a computer analysis of the makeup of the electoral college. No, what makes this an absolutely copper-bottomed one-horse race is the news that John Travolta has been cast to play Clinton in Primary Colors, the movie based on the roman a clef of the same name about the President's first election campaign.

Think about it: not so long ago, when you wanted an actor to play the occupant of the White House, you got Jason Robards or Henry Fonda. Who do we have these days? Kevin Kline in Dave, Michael Douglas in The American President (widowed, he has an affair with Annette Bening), Bill Pullman in Independence Day (he gets into a jet fighter himself to zap the aliens) and now the star of Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction.

There's no question about it - if Hollywood shapes the American imagination, and we know it does, the public perception of presidential timber has shrunk from California Redwood to sapling proportions. Ronald Reagan would have been too old to play the President even when he was the President, let alone some guy who would be even older if he got the job. Still not convinced? Let me ask you this: would you cast Bob Dole in a romantic comedy? As they say in New York, Fuhgeddaboudit!

Shuffle off

While we're talking about cultural indicators, you know those mass card displays in countries like North Korea? All the cards are flipped as one to create cute pictures and patriotic slogans, symbolising impressive unity of purpose to the locals and ant-like conformity to Western documentary makers.

Well, Taiwan has conclusively signalled the end of its Kuomintang past and its status as a beacon of Asian democracy by abandoning its annual display on national day. No longer will 15,000 schoolchildren be forced to shuffle cards, the mayor of Taipei announced after a deluge of protest from the kids and their parents.

Does this mean they will soon be taking drugs, being rude to their elders and listening to grunge music? Not exactly. In typical Asian tiger fashion, it turns out the reason for the students' complaints was that they were too busy studying for their exams.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence