Boris Johnson UK Covid Inquiry 7 December 2023

Heroes and villains of 2023: Xi Jinping or Boris Johnson?

At the end of 2023, it’s worth taking a look at how heroes and villains have been shaped by media narratives this year.

Most of us by now recognise Boris Johnson’s role as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse rolled into one overfed scary clown.

Far more column inches have been blaring at us about Xi Jinping’s imagined failings than the effects of Brexit and the Covid pandemic which is still with us.

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Anna Chen Asia Times Shakespeare Wars of the Roses

Wars of the Roses: Shakespeare First Folio 400th anniversary

Review of Shakespeare’s The Wars of the Roses — Henry VI parts 1 & 2 and Richard III. That’s us, that is.
On this month’s 400th anniversary of the First Folio’s publication, what looks like a simple squaring up of combative parties is more a dodecahedron of feuding interests.
Shakespeare’s history play cycle, a cynic’s take on human relations in favour of the strong leader who will restore equilibrium and God’s order, strips bare the mindset that kicked off Britain’s empire now wheezing into a comeback effort. First time as tragedy, second time top-and-tailing the empire years with added farce.

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Stuart Seldowitz Gaza Palestine

Masters of the Universe: Stuart Seldowitz race-bait meltdown

US state department official arrested and sacked for race-baiting food vendor – When Stuart Seldowitz launched his Islamophobic rant at a New York food truck vendor, he discovered the hard way that his Masters of the Universe privileges had been rescinded. Gloating grotesquely, “We killed 4,000 kids, it wasn’t enough,” he hadn’t reckoned on the public’s collective sense of injustice making the vendor’s video go viral.

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Merrick Garland fentanyl China US

America blames China for its opioid epidemic

The United States of Amnesia is at it again. Blasting China with a whole new round of sanctions and indictments, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s claim on Tuesday, that China is responsible for the fentanyl crisis, diverts from the opioid epidemic caused by American companies Johnson & Johnson and others, “profiting from a flood of addictive painkillers that devastated communities”. As a result, J&J faced a $26 Billion lawsuit in 2021 but we’re encouraged to forget this as the social and health damage deepens.

From US doctors to China, the blame game goes on while the conditions of poverty and despair that breeds drug addiction are allowed to continue.

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Don Quixote in the White House Anna Chen Asia Times

Don Quixote in the White House

Asia Times 29 September 2023: Now that the Writers Strike is over, I can pitch my script for that blockbuster version of Cervantes’ classic crying out to be made: Don Quixote in the White House, updating windmills to stray weather balloons, complete with paranoia & moustache-twirling villains. (Oh. Democrats don’t do facial hair?)

The B-story is a light romance set in the world’s seat of power. He loves Xi but the sweethearts fall out over a misunderstanding that Xi wants to ditch him and run off with Europe.

Across the world, every two-bit, dime-a-dozen demagogue, any politician or public figure in need of a reputation cleanser or career booster realizes they can play the China “Get out of jail free” card, ready made for every grade ‘n’ shade of no-goodniks.

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