Sunday 29 September 1996
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!
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.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
Nepal earthquake video: Terrifying footage shows moment avalanche hit Everest Base Camp
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...