Bleats

Politicians, Just Stop Using Pop-Culture In Your Ads And Agendas, You’re Ruining It For Us

It's especially bad when the politicians (and their social media managers) clearly have no clue what they're referencing.

Let’s face it, we all slip in pop-culture references into a conversation whenever possible. It provides a common talking point with other people, it’s a good icebreaker with strangers, and it’s just fun seeing everyone join in on the banter whenever a Game of Thrones quote or an Ariana Grande lyric is dropped.

However, we’ve hit a crucial juncture in this whole pop-culture referencing thing because politicians are starting to do it and hoo boy has it become a big problem, especially in the last few weeks.

Look, we get that you’re trying to give off the impression that you’re “hip” and “cool” because you’re all over what the youngins are into these days, but the result is just sad and to put it frankly, politicians, you’re ruining everything for us. Let’s just look at some egregious examples that have come up recently, starting with the Liberal party’s latest effort.

In case you haven’t heard, the last season of Game of Thrones is currently airing and the Liberals decided to roast Labor and Bill Shorten while fluffing themselves up by using a reference to the hit show. Unfortunately, their social media team clearly hasn’t watched the show at all because they decided to go with the Lannister house words, “A Lannister always pays his debts.”

Never mind that the ad was just bad, but the Liberals clearly didn’t realise that they’re essentially calling themselves the baddies while also suggesting that the whole party is really into incest. That would explain a lot, actually.

It’s not just the Liberal party who deserves a roasting for using pop-culture references incorrectly or in a tasteless manner.

When it was announced that Christopher Pyne would be retiring from politics, the WA division of Labor decided to commemorate this by releasing a parody music video of Pyne’s head superimposed over a clip of Freddie Mercury singing “Another One Bites The Dust.” Just to really rub it in, they also superimposed Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton’s head over the other Queen members.

Someone in the Labor party clearly got some inspiration after watching Bohemian Rhapsody but this is enough to make even the most devoted Queen fan renounce the band. And that’s not even mentioning that the video didn’t go down well with a heap of people since the casually homophobic clip was posted on the same day as Sydney’s Mardi Gras, forcing WA Labor to sheepishly delete it from their social media. Except for their FB page, which we assume someone on the team forgot to do.

Morrison is no innocent party in this irritating exploitation of pop-culture references either. There was his awful “Back In Black” budget campaign ad, which was as cringey as it was unoriginal since it directly ripped off former New Zealand PM John  Key’s ad from about five years ago.

And of course, there was Morrison dropping that awful Borat impression on the floor of parliament in an attempt to roast Labor’s carbon credit trading scheme. Never mind Morrison’s piss-poor effort at channelling Borat, but dropping an outdated Borat reference in 2019 is like going into an Apple store and asking where the gramophone section is – you’re going to get weird looks from everyone.

And of course, how can we forget Donald Trump‘s recent dabbles with Game of Thrones references?

Despite the absolute fustercluck that’s erupted over the last couple of weeks after the dropping of several investigative bombshells into basically every illegal thing he’s done, Combover Caligula thinks he still has the upper hand and decided to take an undeserved victory lap by tweeting out a Game of Thrones inspired “Game Over” photo.

Needless to say that this copped a crapload of ridicule, which isn’t new for Trump these days. HBO wasn’t too happy about this either and sent out a sternly-worded tweet telling Trump to stop referencing GoT in his tweets.

You’re better off taking away Trump’s sippy cup and sending him to the time out corner if you want him to stop tweeting Thrones stuff, HBO.

All those aforementioned examples of pop-culture referencing from politicians happened all within the last month alone, which doesn’t bode well for the months to come when the federal election and the end of Game of Thrones arrives.

So let’s nip this in the bud before it becomes more of a problem than it already is. Politicians, please stop using pop-culture references in your ads, agendas, and basically everything you do. You are all horribly bad at that sort of thing, it’s incredibly annoying, and you’re ruining everything for us. We already have to put up with you all every day so please leave the one good thing we have to look forward to at the end of each day alone.

Today I Learned: The Original Pitch For Game Of Thrones Had Less Death But Way More Stark Incest

The original idea was so different (and not all in a good way) it makes the long wait for the remaining two books much more tolerable.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS ahead since this is Game of Thrones we’re talking about.

Game of Thrones may be ending in a few weeks time but the story remains ongoing in the A Song Of Ice And Fire novel series, which George R. R. Martin has still yet to finish writing. As it is with any long-running work that has spanned across three or so decades, things will have evolved and changed from the original idea to where the story is in the present day.

Martin and A Song Of Ice And Fire is no exception. Back in 2015, a Twitter user with the handle Waterstones (which has since been deleted) shared some photos of a 1993 letter from Martin to his agent pitching his original idea of A Game of Thrones (the first novel, not the show).

And hoo boy is there a lot to unpack so saddle up for a cold ride up north.

While the general major plot arcs and world-building remain roughly the same – the Lannisters and Starks are feuding, Daenerys and the Dothraki are over in Essos, and the White Walkers are invading from the north – it’s the wildly different character arcs that is most interesting, especially in the Stark camp.

The Starks (including Catelyn) make their way to King’s Landing and Ned still gets his head chopped off (sadly), but he manages to get both Arya and Catelyn out first. They pick up a still-crippled Bran from Winterfell before making their way up North to seek refuge with Jon Snow, who remains unchanged as a bastard and the Night Watch’s eventual Commander.

Now here’s where it gets really cooked. Rather than the loving sibling relationship between Jon and Arya that we see in the show and in the books, Martin’s original idea was for the two to fall head over heels in love but the pair doesn’t act on it because of Jon’s Night Watch vow and because, you know, they’re frigging related. At least until the secret of Jon’s parentage is later revealed anyway.

So instead of getting kickass assassin Arya, we originally got love-sick incestuous Arya. Ugh, and you thought Jon and Daenerys hooking up was bad.

Okay, this moment has suddenly has gone from adorable to gross.

Sansa Stark also has a wildly different arc as the original character shows all the early timidness we saw and read but none of the later transformation into a sass-slinging badass. In the original pitch, she initially marries Joffrey, has his son, and sides with the Lannisters over her own family before deeply regretting that decision. Good thing Martin changed this completely as well because we would’ve been robbed one of the series’ best character arcs.

Tyrion Lannister is also considerably different as he was originally more Varys-like than the flawed yet sympathetic character we eventually got. The original pitch had him and Jaime eventually take down Robb Stark (who at least gets to maim Joffrey on the battlefield) before burning Winterfell. Tyrion later removes Joffrey from the throne before Jaime assumes power by murdering everyone and blaming it all on Tyrion.

Due to this betrayal, Tyrion goes AWOL while continually plotting and scheming before swapping sides and allying with the Starks to take down Jaime. As an extra wrench in the works, Martin also originally wanted Tyrion to fall in love with Arya, essentially creating a Jon/Arya/Tyrion love triangle. I wish this were a joke but the truth is far more twisted than any quip I can come up with.

The only appropriate reaction to this love triangle business.

As for Daenerys, her story is pretty similar to the show and what was eventually depicted in the books but her character arc was drastically altered. Rather than fall in love with Khal Drogo, she murders him for killing Viserys before hatching her dragons, getting the Dothraki on her side, and invading Westeros.

All that was supposed to happen in Martin’s original idea for A Game Of Thrones and everything was to be wrapped up neatly in two further books, A Dance Of Dragons and The Winds Of Winter. But as history has shown us, this was far from the case and we’re still patiently waiting for Martin to finish writing this story as we speak.

However, it is certainly interesting to see how much A Song Of Ice And Fire did and didn’t change from its original pitch to what we eventually got. The initial ideas had some of the political wrangling we all know but without most of the nuanced character arcs we all love.

We don’t know what was going through Martin’s head at that time but we’re just glad he eventually opted to put in more deaths while swapping out the Jon/Arya/Tyrion incest love triangle thing for some Jon/Daenerys incest instead because that would’ve been just too much.

Ew, stop it, you’re brother and sister.

Here Are The Chances Jon And Daenerys Will Give Us Another Joffrey Because Relos Be Banging

We did the (dodgy) math so you wouldn't have to.

WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead for those who aren’t up to date on Game of Thrones, and best take the mathematics used in this investigation with a few massive grains of salt.

Ever since Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen hooked up at the end of season seven on Game of Thrones, everyone who is even slightly emotionally invested in the show had only one reaction: That’s just disgusting and I don’t care how good looking they are.

For those who are unaware, Jon Snow’s actual parents are Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen, who is Daenerys’ older brother, making Jon and Daenerys blood-related relatives. To be really specific, the couple are aunt and nephew.

You’re related! No, stahp!

Now incest isn’t exactly a new thing on Game of Thrones but Jon and Daenerys’, uh, family reunion does bring up a very interesting question that just randomly came up amongst the GOAT team: what are the chances that aunt and nephew will produce another evil monster like Joffrey?

First things first, we have to assume Daenerys can have children. I know that the witch lady from season one says she can’t but you don’t bring that fact back up in season seven without it meaning something or having it come back around so let’s just say she can for the purposes of this investigation.

We know that an incest baby will have a chance of being born with a birth defect due to our genetic make up. To put it very simply (courtesy of The Conversation), people have two copies of every gene and can get away with having one copy be faulty. But if two people with similar genetic material (say, an aunt and nephew) produce a baby, there’s a much higher risk of the little bub having both copies of their genes being faulty, thus resulting in birth defects.

Cousin-cousin couplings were pretty damn common back in the old Victorian eras and while these are obviously bad in incest terms, the actual risk of a child being born with a birth defect is “only” 4% to 7%. Now we’re not saying that this gives you the all clear to go after your cousin but the risk is lower than what you may have initially thought.

Now this risk increases the closer two people are genetically linked and using some numbers from an “inbreeding” study from 1971, we know that cousins share one eighth of their genes, parents and kids share half, identical twins share everything, and aunts and nephews share a quarter.

Using some simple napkin maths, it is about four times as risky for a parent and their kid to have a kid with genetic defects compared to cousins, meaning aunt and nephews are about two times as risky and putting the number in percentage terms at around 8% to 14%.

Huh, that number is still lower than I expected but again, not a free pass to go after your aunt and I don’t care if she looks like Marisa Tomei or Emilia Clarke.

“Worth the risk?” “No.”

Now all that is for making a healthy baby with no birth defects, but what about the Joffrey factor? Well here’s where we gotta make a bit of a stretch.

We know from the show that out of Cercei and Jaime’s offspring, Myrcella, Tommen, and Joffrey, only the latter caught the asshole bug, giving us a one in three chance of an incest baby turning out very poorly. With such a small sample size, the margin of error is a bit big (about +/- 56% and that’s being generous) but let’s run with it.

Assuming that this asshole bug is genetic defect, then our napkin math turns out a grand percentage range of about 3 to 5% (with a margin of error of +/- 56%) in regards to Jon and Daenerys making another Joffrey.

So folks, if you were worried about having to see another sadistic monster, rest assured that the chances are pretty damn low.

That feeling is mathematics and incest slapping you in the face.

Having answered that long-standing question about Joffrey 2.0, the possibility of it happening is slim to none regardless due to what’s happened on the show so far. With Jon having found out about Daenerys being his aunt in the latest episode, not to mention the upcoming battle against the Night King, it’s likely that the pair will be too busy to even think about getting freaky, not that is a guarantee they will bang again after finding out they’re related.

But then again, incest was a thing the Targaryens did so who the hell knows at this point.

If there was anything to be gained out of this long-winded investigation, it’s that the chances of Joffrey happening again is slim and banging your relos is a big no no, regardless of the lower-than-expected (relatively speaking) birth defect rate.

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