Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tongan democrats claim the America's Cup

When that venerable provocateur Jacques Derrida claimed that 'there is no insurance against the risk of writing', he was referring to the way that even the most apparently transparent text can be interpreted in strange and various ways. Jonathan Swift designed Gulliver's Travels as a sophisticated satire of eighteenth century travel writing; the book became a classic of children's literature. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four was aimed as much at capitalism as at Soviet Stalinism, but it soon became an 'anti-communist' classic, and a treasured weapon in the ideological arsenal of American Cold Warriors.

It is not only texts that can be interpreted in unexpected ways. Back in June I blogged about the way that, in the Pacific at least, John Rambo has become, despite the best intentions of his sweaty, nightmarish progenitor Sylvester Stallone, an anti-imperialist hero.

Now the America's Cup, that expensive and tedious regatta held by the richest and most unpleasant citizens of the First World, has become an inspiration to Tonga's pro-democracy movement:

'Aisake responded that the Bill was his own making, and it was his contribution to Tonga's democratization process. He likened his sudden push for more democracy for Tonga to the America's Cup yacht race, where against the odds, the USA won after implementing a few fundamental changes.

The America's Cup comparison according to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Lord Vaea, was out of sync with Tonga's political reform. The Chairman of the Whole House Committee Hon. Sunia Fili, pleaded with members to leave the America's Cup Yacht race...

As Team New Zealand learned last month, there is no insurance against the risk of sailing.

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:25 pm  

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