The Foreigns: It's Funny 'Cause We Don't Know Them
If Americans know one thing about the Foreigns (and sometimes that's a near thing), it's that they live in Foreign countries, which, obviously, are hellholes of awfulness and despair. Guess if they didn't want to be crapped on day and night by a malevolent universe, they should have lived in America! This week, the Foreigns introduces you to some happenings overseas that we can safely laugh at only because they only happen to Foreign types, but otherwise they'd be pretty depressing.
ITALY: Italians decide Fascism was awesome, give it another shot
Last week the New York Times made a funny with the headline "Surprising Few, Italy's Government Collapses." Oh, those comical Italians, with their unstable governments and such! The prime minister who just quit is keen on the president appointing a government of technocrats for a year. These fellows will not have all of Italy grooving to their fast-paced electronic dance music as the term "technocrat" would imply; rather, they would reform the currently ludicrous Italian electoral system, hopefully coming up with something to replace it that doesn't allow dozens of pointless, fickle parties to enter Parliament resulting in governments that collapse to the surprise of nobody.
Sounds ever so reasonable, doesn't it? The only problem is that the current leader of the opposition, Silvio Berlusconi, who was responsible for a nonstop stream of hilarious sexism and anti-German invective during his earlier term as prime minister, sort of wants the elections held now because he'd win them by a landslide, and if his government collapses 18 months down the road, well, those are the breaks, you know?
And if the president doesn't call for elections now, he says he'll rally millions of Italians to march on Rome and make them have elections. Which is pretty much exactly how Mussolini got himself the job of Prime Minister of Italy, as all of the other Italian politicians pointed out.
Awkward! This could be worrying if anyone took the Italians seriously about anything. As it is, all we're saying is: Look out, Albania! Italy's got some scores to settle!
NIGERIA: Presidential incest sex scandal troubles prudes
Jeez, you'd think that once you stop being president, people would ease up on your personal life a bit, you know? Take Olusegun Obasanjo, the ex-president of Nigeria. Seems he's earned some time to relax out of the public eye, but one little incest scandal and all of the sudden everyone's like, "Oh, Olusegun, maybe you shouldn't be head of your political party anymore."
Or, as the secretary-general of the Christian Association of Nigeria (does every country have one of these?) put it, "When you talk about Obasanjo sleeping with his son's wife [totally not incest in our books! --Eds], and if that is true, everybody knows it is an abomination. You don't need a prophet to tell you that. Obasanjo sleeping with his son's wife is not a family affair as some people want us to believe now. It is disastrous."
Pish-posh! We tend to agree with a bigwig in Obasanjo's party, who said, "If you go to a clubhouse, you don't know what everybody is doing outside the clubhouse. It is not your job to bring back to the club for discussion what members are doing."
SCOTLAND: Terrorists hit English where it hurts: In the liver
If you were a Scottish freedom fighter, lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike a blow against the hated English who have been occupying your nation under the pretense of a "dynastic union" for lo these past four centuries, what would your avenue of attack be? Would you raise an army to fight as William Wallace did before you? Start a campaign of passive resistance, like the one that shook London's empire in India? Or would you just poison their booze? Yes, that last one seems like the best idea. The English, after all, are notorious drunkards!
Two members of the Scottish National Liberation Army (not pictured) sent poisoned bottles of minibar-sized vodka to a Scottish journalist and an English city councilman. Fortunately, neither drank the foul brew; the delivery to the Englishman was intercepted by postal agents, while the Scots are more partial to heroin and thus impervious to attacks of this type. The booze-befouling terrorists also threatened to poison England's water supply. They were then arrested, because they were very dumb.
LIBERIA: Lovable war criminal has hilarious, Bart Simpson-esque nickname
In the aftermath of its long and awful civil war, Liberia has been hearing testimony before its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Recently, one of the war's most colorful characters, Joshua Milton Blahyi, came back from his exile in Ghana. He's a born-again Christian now and eager to get some things off of his chest!
He became famous during the war as the leader of a fearsome militia, earning the nickname "General Butt Naked." Ha ha! Naked! This is because he used to march into battle wearing nothing but his combat boots in an attempt to terrify his enemies (and also incapacitate them with giggling?). Silly Blahyi! He also made extensive use of child soldiers, and killed 20,000 people by his own estimates ... and ...
... um ...
... apparently used to kill little kids and eat their hearts. Huh. Well, thanks a lot, West Africa, for killing my light mood.