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
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower