Weekly Update: Biden As King Henry II; Badals The Invincible; Slap Gets The Oscar

The ageing King, sorry President, Joe Biden, probably forgot he is not absolute sovereign. In Poland he got into King mode and thundered in his emotionally charged but barely audible voice, ‘Who will rid me of that Pesky Putin’ or something like that.

It was King Henry II of England in 1170 who got exasperated with Archbishop Thomas Becket as the somewhat Godly Becket wouldn’t twist Christ’s teachings to suit Henry. In his court with his nearest Knights present, Henry II is reputed to have said. “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!” (or perhaps meddlesome).

Henry of course was sovereign King with absolute power. Four of his knights standing in the room, took this as a megaphone hint and went and clobbered the poor pious Archbishop (head priest of England) to death. Henry got his wish or command done. No questions asked and no Government enquiries, police investigation or charges.

When Biden said “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power” at a public function for every bounty hunter in the world, every wannabe assassin and all his arsenal of intelligence services to hear, the world went a bit, ‘What!’. He even spoke on a mic live on TV so it was loud and clear. Every news channel worth a penny or paisa was broadcasting it.

Times have changed. The President of the world’s foremost power that is meant to police international law and order, democratic accountability, and State sovereignty all across the world (except in USA) just seemed to have said, ‘go break the law, fulfil my wish’.

Every leader of almost every NATO state distanced itself from this, plunging America’s already faltering status further into a hungry blackhole. Even Britain’s Boisterous Boris took cover.

America’s first minister to the leader, the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, quickly did a somersault and tried a damage exercise saying, ‘He didn’t mean what you think he meant’. English language has its advantages. It can apparently be translated in several frames of hermeneutic dexterity.

In contrast to the 1170 court of Henry II, the four knights of the United States of America 2022 who were probably meant to get the hint, charge on Putin and dispose him in the way they do, went underground for the first time. The CIA, the FBI, the State Department and Homeland Security, all with ‘unlimited licences to kill’ responded, ‘not my job’ or ‘not done this way, Boss’.

It is possible that Biden got carried away in Poland. It has a lot of old castles and lots of stories of monarchs with great powers and gory deeds in the past. Its current President also ignores EU when he wants to. Biden thought as head of the most powerful country (or once most powerful country before the Taliban ran it out of Afghanistan with WW2 weapons and sandals) he could do a Henry II. Even the megalomaniac Trump didn’t go that far. But Biden has a history.

Badals The Invincsibles

It seems that some political parties have a unique approach to politics playing ‘loser takes all’. The family firm, the Indian National Congress, has been doing this for nearly a decade. Losing seats like a drying stream evaporating water in summer heat, the Congress has repeatedly placed its faith in the unwinnable leadership, the Gandhis. Rahul who has the look of a fish out of water in politics, has had numerous votes of confidence confirming his ‘extraordinary leadership’. Move over Indira Gandhi, Rahul will reign Congress longer than you if the losing streak carries on.

Now it is once great party, the Akali Dal that is outdoing the Congress. From a formidable 75 seats in 1997, it has now landed hard in 2022 with just three. This is the party that once defeated the might of British Empire in the plains of Punjab. It is the party of the Sikhs in the Sikh heartland!

The decline has been inversely proportional to the level of confidence expressed in its leader Sukhbir Singh Badal. It gained just 15 seats in 2017. Every Akali flocked around him saying ‘great result, only Sukhbir can save us’.

In 2022, it has been reduced to a rump. So much so that 94 year old senior Badal who will probably be fighting elections even from his dying bed when he gets there, and son Sukhbir Badal, both lost their seats. The message of the Punjab voters seems to have gone with hypersonic speed through one ear out of the other ear. Consequently, all the Akali Dal (Badal) high command got together and elected Sukhbir as the best Akali leader ever. ‘Only Sukhbir can lead us to victory!’ And its not even a Pollywood comic.

The Akali Dal (Badal) perhaps took its cue from another sister party, the Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar. Its leader Mann gets elected unanimously after losing every election with the promise of the one messiah that will lead Sikhs to political nirvana, despite the fact that almost no one wants him to.

There must be some logic in this somewhere. As long as these parties were winning, there were constant criticisms and challenges to the winning leaders. But when they started losing, there started unending bowing to the ‘dear leader’, knees first.

Will Bollywood Follow Hollywood

Bollywood has a habit of copying Hollywood. It copies films, dance style, stories, even character types. After all it is celluloid. If it does not mimic life, it mimics competitors.

Hollywood has its Oscars, Bollywood has its International Indian Film Academy. The word Academy gives it a pretence of the Hollywood Academy Awards.

Since Bollywood likes to Indianise or Hindi-ise most of Hollywood, one wonders if in the next IIFA there will be a version of the Will Smith drama simulated in the award ceremony. It’s good for the rating and the mimic game.

As every Bollywood wallah knows, Will Smith couldn’t stomach a joke at his wife’s expense made by Chris Rock. So he got up and threw a right (or may be left) hook or slap on Rock right in the middle of the ceremony while the world was watching.

He even swore in the bargain. Many thought it was an act. But it was real. Will Smith apologised when he went to pick his own best actor award.

We don’t know what it will do to Will Smith’s image. But it certainly got the Oscars more audience than the Ukraine war which is reaching a fatigue point with audiences. Everyone is talking about ‘not talking about’ Will Smith and that slap or outburst. ‘Did you watch that Simi, Bunty or Radha or whoever?’ It is burning out the social media. It is headlines on the main media.

So wait for good old mimic Bollywood version of this in the next IIFA. It may not be an exact narrative, but the crystal ball says there will be some drama that will get IIFA in the news. You heard it ‘prophesised’ first as Saturn joins pattern.

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