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What's that golden thing in the sky?
August 1, 2012 9:03 AM   Subscribe

London Mayor and favourite for next Tory leader Boris Johnson has thrown himself into the Olympic spirit. This doesn't always go entirely to plan, leaving the blond mop-head hanging around for a while this afternoon. Fortunately, the Internet knows exactly what to do. From standing start to a country laughing its socks off - there's a #dangleboris hashtag - mere hours have passed. Will it damage Boris' chances of taking over from the gaffe-prone David Cameron? Probably quite the opposite.
posted by Devonian (72 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
A suggested headline for the incident from Reddit: "London gets cock caught in zip."
posted by fight or flight at 9:07 AM on August 1, 2012 [21 favorites]


He should have done it in shorts, people might have thought he was Angus young.

Boris will be the most fun PM in ages.
posted by jfuller at 9:08 AM on August 1, 2012


If dangleboris isn't on the cover of the next issue of Private Eye, it will be because something truly shocking has happened.
posted by chavenet at 9:09 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's the very entertaining video footage.

Someone call Malcolm Tucker.
posted by fight or flight at 9:12 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


No matter how hard Mitt Romney tried while he was in London, he is and will be incapable of beating Boris in the Upper Class Twit Of The Year contest.
posted by stannate at 9:13 AM on August 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Even if this had worked it would've been as stupid as hell. There's not a single thing here that works. It's makes him look stupid (pant legs all messed up, waving tiny flags, etc), the optics are terrible ("I'm zipping past you, far far above"), etc.
posted by DU at 9:15 AM on August 1, 2012


It's the little flags that make it art.

Now someone just needs to set this video to the Benny Hill theme to make it the most British thing ever.
posted by dry white toast at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I said "hang the rich", I didn't quite mean this.
posted by Jehan at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


As a Londoner, I'd that most days getting your Johnson caught in a zip is no laughing matter.
posted by permafrost at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


No matter how hard Mitt Romney tried while he was in London, he is and will be incapable of beating Boris in the Upper Class Twit Of The Year contest.

But what's fascinating is while gaffes are allegedly ruining Romney's chances, they're improving Boris' - why so?
posted by infini at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2012


But what's fascinating is while gaffes are allegedly ruining Romney's chances, they're improving Boris' - why so?

Boris' rival is David Cameron. Mitt's is Barack Obama.
posted by chavenet at 9:19 AM on August 1, 2012 [28 favorites]


dry white toast: "It's the little flags that make it art.

Now someone just needs to set this video to the Benny Hill theme to make it the most British thing ever.
"

rewind... fast forward... rewind... fast forward...
posted by boo_radley at 9:21 AM on August 1, 2012


But what's fascinating is while gaffes are allegedly ruining Romney's chances, they're improving Boris' - why so?

When clowns look stupid, they are doing something right.

But that still doesn't mean you want them running the show.
posted by DU at 9:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Doesn't Boris have to get elected to the House of Commons first? And doesn't everyone in London hate him? Or is it just my friends and all the people tweeting #fuckoffboris?

Or will he stand for some constituency where he has a summer house or something?
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:22 AM on August 1, 2012


And me without my piñata stick.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:24 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Number #19 on Boris' reasons to love the Olympics:

"As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators' sou'westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers"
posted by gagglezoomer at 9:27 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


But what's fascinating is while gaffes are allegedly ruining Romney's chances, they're improving Boris' - why so?

He's pretty good at poking fun at himself, and Brits tend to find that a very endearing quality. Mitt, not so much.
posted by yoink at 9:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I take Boris as being less of a malign spirit than Mitt. I'd rather have him running the country than Mittens. Of course, if given the choice I'd opt for somebody competent.
posted by arcticseal at 9:40 AM on August 1, 2012


Here are the other 18 reasons. Respect to a mayor who bands about words like "riparian" and "éclat".

But if you are a non-believer here he is falling in a river.
posted by rongorongo at 9:41 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


But what's fascinating is while gaffes are allegedly ruining Romney's chances, they're improving Boris' - why so?

He's pretty good at poking fun at himself, and Brits tend to find that a very endearing quality. Mitt, not so much.
It's part of his shtick, basically. If people think he's a loveable, bumbling, gaffe-prone eccentric, they won't notice the cold-eyed, career-politician lurking within. His floppy-haired image has, I'm sure, been focussed-grouped and PR-companied to within an inch of its life.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:41 AM on August 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


He's pretty good at poking fun at himself, and Brits tend to find that a very endearing quality. Mitt, not so much.

Mittens wouldn't be able to poke fun at himself anyway.

Brit: "Mitt you're a bloody tosser"
Mittens: "Why thank you I do like to masturbate frequently even though I'm a Mormon and I enjoyed poking fun at myself with you!"
posted by Talez at 9:42 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


"His floppy-haired image has, I'm sure, been focussed-grouped and PR-companied to within an inch of its life."

No, he was exactly like that at Eton.
posted by Hogshead at 9:45 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


And doesn't everyone in London hate him?

Sadly not. He's relatively popular in London.
posted by howfar at 9:47 AM on August 1, 2012


Boris' rival is David Cameron.

And his other rivals are Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg.* One thinks embracing Blair is the way forward and the less said about the other the better. If I were ever asked to distinguish them in a police line-up I'm not sure I could because I'd be so blinded by the combined upper class twittery.

*Well, they would be if he ever ended up replacing Cameron.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:47 AM on August 1, 2012


I guess that's the closest I'm ever going to get to seeing a Tory hanged in public. Bah.
posted by Decani at 9:49 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


His floppy-haired image has, I'm sure, been focussed-grouped and PR-companied to within an inch of its life.

That may or may not be true, but the point is that he performs the schtick entirely convincingly: he comes across as authentic and unselfconscious. Mitt comes across as if he's waiting to hear the focus-group report back on each sentence as he speaks it.
posted by yoink at 9:51 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters

Good Lord. Don't let Boris near the writers' room for Game of Thrones Season 3.
posted by randomination at 9:55 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Once again, real life imitates Monty Python.
posted by Bummus at 9:56 AM on August 1, 2012


Having Boris as PM would be hilarious for anyone who does not have to live in the UK.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:56 AM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


A meme is born?
posted by Shave at 9:57 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]




Here's a much scarier video involving Boris & a garbage truck.
Oh god, I can't watch films like that. He doesn't die does he? It's just too upsetting.
posted by Jehan at 10:02 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh god, I can't watch films like that. He doesn't die does he? It's just too upsetting.

It's from 2009. No one dies. Boris lives to get caught on a zipline in 2012.
posted by chavenet at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Boris lives to get caught on a zipline in 2012.

Someone should shoop the garbage truck dangling on the line just behind him.
posted by yoink at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


How does the name 'Boris' map to British class connotations? I always think of Boris as a name for one of those thick browed grunting men in strike movies from the eighties.
posted by winna at 10:10 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


And doesn't everyone in London hate him? Or is it just my friends and all the people tweeting #fuckoffboris?

The #fuckoffboris hashtags are a reference to his "hi folks!" recorded announcement on the London Underground:
A man’s voice booms over the station tannoy, its practiced public-school plumminess familiar from tv talk-shows, rich and thick, like butter oozing over a toasted muffin: “Hi folks! This is the Mayor here,” it says, “this is the greatest moment in the life of London for 50 years.” Boris Johnson, a right-wing television personality and professional semi-buffoon who was recently re-elected as Mayor, has recorded a number of announcements reassuring Londoners that the “huge pressure on the transport network” will be worth it, that we should keep calm, carry on and not dodge fares. It has become traditional, upon hearing these special broadcasts, to yell “fuck off, Boris!” as audibly as one dares. “Swearing at that Boris tube announcement is helping usually reserved Londoners bond,” wrote science blogger Alice Bell on Twitter. “It’s nice. Civic unity.”
The announcement was still on heavy rotation on my bus journey home last night, but apparently it's now been pulled, following the, er, 'mixed response' from commuters.
posted by verstegan at 10:12 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


That Johnson is really hung.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2012


His floppy-haired image has, I'm sure, been focussed-grouped and PR-companied to within an inch of its life.

I don't know - I've seen him speak in a fairly small setting (no media present, friendly audience), and he was exactly like his public persona. More than that, I don't recall ever hearing anyone say "yeah, but I've heard him when he takes off the mask". If it's all an act, it's an incredibly good one; I'd say it's more likely that he genuinely is a completely un-selfconscious Tory upper-class buffoon, who somehow manages to be generally pretty likeable (YMMV, obviously).

I didn't vote for Boris in the most recent Mayoral election, although I didn't vote directly against him either given that his closest competition was the also fairly loathsome Ken Livingstone. He's been much less of a disaster than I thought he might be, but I definitely don't want him anywhere near real power.

How does the name 'Boris' map to British class connotations? I always think of Boris as a name for one of those thick browed grunting men in strike movies from the eighties.

That much probably is deliberate PR - his full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Jonson. No, really.
posted by ZsigE at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of those 'character politicians' who will remain more popular with people outside his jurisdiction long after he wears out his welcome locally. Still more Badenov than Godenov.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:23 AM on August 1, 2012


his full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Jonson. No, really.

And will no one think of the children?!

Lara Lettice Johnson
Milo Arthur Johnson
Cassia Peaches Johnson
Theodore Apollo Johnson
posted by chavenet at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2012


chavenet, I'm not sure that list is complete. Boris ain't sure either.
posted by Shave at 10:27 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


How does the name 'Boris' map to British class connotations? I always think of Boris as a name for one of those thick browed grunting men in strike movies from the eighties.

Boris is really too uncommon a name in the UK to have a strong class connotation. It mostly sounds "Russian." Boris Johnson was named after a Russian friend of his parents. Apparently in the family he's known as "Al."
posted by yoink at 10:27 AM on August 1, 2012


They would have got him down quicker but in times of stress and physical peril such as this, Boris' brain defaults to Latin.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lara Lettice Johnson

Always wise to make sure your daughter has a shot with Superman.
posted by yoink at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait - throw in Rob Ford, and we could have some sort of American Gladiator style setup for conservative jackass mayors around the world!
posted by symbioid at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


But what's fascinating is while gaffes are allegedly ruining Romney's chances, they're improving Boris' - why so?

Because he's sufficiently self-aware to enjoy his own gaffes. Romney tries to pretend they didn't happen or they weren't gaffes and comes over as the soulless corporate exec that he is. No self deprecation.

As for the Boris is a clown shtick, you don't get an academic scholarship to Eton, an academic scholarship to Oxford and elected mayor twice by being an imbecile. Don't think he's doesn't for a second know that he's on manoeuvres.

And anyway, being PM isn't about the details it about the vista. And I suspect people will be keener on Boris telling them they will be much poorer in future thnt a gang of unabashed millionaire toffs.
posted by Damienmce at 10:45 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh god, this is hilarious already, but twice as much so when I picture Boston mayor-for-life Thomas Menino in his place.
posted by maryr at 11:07 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


throw in Rob Ford, and we could have some sort of American Gladiator style setup for conservative jackass mayors around the world!

As a longtime Londoner transplanted to Toronto I can safely say British conservatives aren't anywhere near the conservatism espoused by Ford and indeed Harper (to a certain extent). Boris is probably closest to Bloomberg. The party they stand for is just a flag of convenience.
posted by Damienmce at 11:08 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Think of Boris as someone who combines affability and apparent disorganisation with the ability to mysteriously rise to the top of many packs.

He's a bizarro-swan; all the frantic clowning about and fluffy hair conceals the extremely purposeful paddling happening down below the waterline.
posted by Space_Lady at 11:16 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


No matter how hard Mitt Romney tried while he was in London, he is and will be incapable of beating Boris in the Upper Class Twit Of The Year contest.

But what's fascinating is while gaffes are allegedly ruining Romney's chances, they're improving Boris' - why so?
posted by infini at 9:17 AM on August 1 [+] [!]


Boris generally does lovable buffoon gaffes, Romney not so much.

Boris is also extremely smart and is probably very much in control of his buffoonery
posted by Bwithh at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2012


*highly tempted to attempt carefully crafted buffoonery*
posted by infini at 11:31 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]




His floppy-haired image has, I'm sure, been focussed-grouped and PR-companied to within an inch of its life.

No, he really is like that. It's pretty obvious once you've seen his father in action.

It's not his only sports gaffe btw.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:25 PM on August 1, 2012


American leader makes a gaffe: "How embarrassing," Americans cringe.

British leader makes a gaffe: Brits exclaim "Wahey!" and take a swig of beer.

(This is my perception as a Canadian.)
posted by gohabsgo at 1:53 PM on August 1, 2012


Meanwhile, I reflect on how much Boris owes Tony Blair

Oh my yes Alastair, it is all about you, still.
posted by chavenet at 2:18 PM on August 1, 2012


Is Boris Johnson the British Boris Yeltsin?
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:22 PM on August 1, 2012


Those pics are glorious, thank you for linking this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:44 PM on August 1, 2012


I'm familiar with Boris and the fun that is made of him from my mild addiction to British comedy game shows like Mock The Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats and the others, but I'd be interested to hear some of our UK Mefites' explanation of who he really is and stands for (or not), and if he really is a villain or a buffoon. He seems likable, certainly, but that's always a dangerous thing in a politician.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:07 PM on August 1, 2012


Villain or buffoon? Well, he's somebody who was fired from his first job as journalist for making up quotes. He was then hired by the Daily Telegraph as their correspondent in Brussels, a job for which a propensity to make up stuff clearly wasn't any sort of drawback.
posted by Skeptic at 10:45 PM on August 1, 2012


Boris does happen to be incredibly lazy so he's not actually managed to do that much actual evil so far, though he's like some amazing gaff machine.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:09 AM on August 2, 2012




Dammit, wrong link.
Here is the correct link
posted by Bwithh at 8:04 AM on August 2, 2012




I'd be interested to hear some of our UK Mefites' explanation of who he really is and stands for

Boris is Mr Toad in human form. He's apparently been that way all his life.
posted by holgate at 10:38 AM on August 2, 2012


Bagehot of The Economist has a good new piece on Boris's complicated success

It makes a good point that Boris is rather Reganesque - very popular with the right and the base because of his style but quite different on some key policy issues but is able to get away with that


Interesting tidbit : Boris went to the same state-run primary school as Labour party leader Ed Miliband ( don't think they were contemporaries though )
posted by Bwithh at 12:52 AM on August 3, 2012


At least your conservatives ride bikes.
posted by symbioid at 11:14 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


More about Boris from the Observer.
posted by klausness at 5:04 AM on August 5, 2012


That Observer piece is really strangely framed. Why bury your biggest points, that he was useless as an MP and that he was so terrible in his first months as mayor and as a team player, if you want to warn people off thinking of him as a PM?

(Also, not having loyalty to Conrad Black, of all people, don't really strike me as an argument against the man.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2012




homunculus, he will say that right up until he doesn't and someone who is politically close to him suddenly sticks a big knife in Cameron's back. That's how it works in the Tory party (why hello Lady Thatcher, couldn't have happened to a nicer woman, please don't talk about black people again).
posted by Space_Lady at 12:15 PM on August 14, 2012


I think there are still bad memories re Thatcher for the Tory party for them to go for an assassination before the election... but if it looks like Boris could just swing a victory (unlikely at the moment) then the new rabid right-wingers in the party might get itchy trigger fingers.

Boris will of course be *Churchill voice* 'well I never wanted to be leader, but I can no longer resist the increasing calls from my party... my country needs me!'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:54 AM on August 15, 2012


Theodore Dalrymple: An Orgy of Self-Congratulation: Good riddance to the London Olympics

After The London Olympics, The Gloves Come Off
They all meant that the Olympics were a vacation from political reality. After the Games were done, a political battle would commence over who would bail the UK out of a crippling economic crisis. Simon Lee, senior politics lecturer at the University of Hull, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the Olympics did little more than “paper over the fact that we are on the verge of a depression.”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:35 AM on August 16, 2012


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