Borkowski Weekly Media Trends: 27-05-22
Chelsea FC sale: Winners & Losers | Partygate: When will party be over for Boris? | Winnie the Pooh Horror: 'Oh Bother'?
WILL SLASHER MOVIE CAUSE ‘BOTHER’ FOR POOH LEGACY?
This week we were treated to the news that, following the world of Winnie the Pooh becoming public property, the beloved children’s character will be reimagined as the bloodthirsty antagonist of a gory slasher B movie, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.
Firstly, hats off to Rhys Waterfield, who according to Variety, directed WtP:B&H concurrently with such imminent classics as “Firenado” and “Demonic Christmas Tree”. Exhuming and desecrating the carcass of children’s literature royalty will guarantee the film a burst of interest that will punch well above its budget and (probable) quality. When the stunt and the artform are one; the audience will come.
But there’s perhaps a more serious lesson here for those who bear responsibility for the legacy of treasured cultural artefacts: we are long past the stage of even pretending that there is any kind of invisible hand regulating taste and offence around how such entities can be treated once they cease to be protected by intellectual property laws. If there were, the world may have missed out on the brilliance of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ among others.
Truly the only way for custodians of the likes of Winnie the Pooh to ensure the continuation of their charge’s gilded legacy is to be proactive, and work with a range of credible and unimprachable creative partners to create incarnations that retain but refresh the original magic and control public perception. Imagine how much less fuss this slasher flick would be generating if it came on the heels of a ‘Lego Winnie the Pooh’ video game or, say, an Aardman Studios adaptation of the classic. Instead the cultural conversation around Winnie the Pooh will, for now, be dominated by this ghoulish mutation of the original. Let’s just pray he’s wearing trousers…
Chelsea FC Takeover: The Winners & Losers
Chelsea's sale has been a long and drawn-out saga but now appears close to a conclusion after the Premier League approved the £4.25bn takeover led by Todd Boehly. It's taken over three months to get here, dominating sports headlines and stoking fears that Chelsea FC won't exist past May.
So is everyone a 'winner' or have any reputations been tarnished by this billion-pound acquisition?
Roman Abramovich: despite crippling sanctions, being forced out of Chelsea and, being poisoned & temporarily losing his vision, for a Russian oligarch with "very good relations" and "privileged access" to Putin, Abramovich has cemented a place in the collective Chelsea fanbases' hearts. As Chelsea avoids total collapse, the 'Roman Abramovich Era' is already being treated as a halcyon age, taking Chelsea from a decent premier league team to a global trophy factory worth billions.
The UK Government: with Todd Boehly lined up as Chelsea's new owner, the government and the DCMS will be happy with how they managed the takeover. Boris is leaning on his government’s support for Ukraine following Russia's invasion as evidence of ‘strong leadership’, and having resolved Chelsea's situation without the club disappearing down the toilet, they've appeased Chelsea fans. Despite outrage when rumours were circulating suggesting Chelsea's total collapse was a possibility, finding a solution by the end of May is a win for the government.
Todd Boehly: Expectations are high for the man being billed as Chelsea's saviour. Media savvy and with a clear direction, Boehly starts his footballing life as a popular figure at the club. Having already pledged £1.7b in future investment in Chelsea, fans will expect stadium improvements, greater business outreach to the 'untapped' American market and plenty of investment in the current squad. Boehly's impressive team of investors even includes legendary PR guru Barbara Charone, a die-hard Chelsea fan. So the pressure is now on to deliver a well-oiled machine running Chelsea at the very top after this encouraging first impression.
The Final Act of party gate has finished...but will there be an encore?
It seems a lifetime ago when the press first broke the story of parties in No10 during lockdowns. It feels like several lifetimes since we all tuned into the daily government press conference to find out if we were all doomed to our bedrooms for life.
This week the long-awaited Sue Gray report into incessant partying at the heart of government during a national lockdown was released; as anticipated as an artiste’s new EP, with everyone desperate for the gritty details, and in particular photos.
Some of the most damaging information was how No10 staff who has been partying had treated cleaners, security and doormen; the people cleaning their mess and keeping them safe. This just paints an even worse image of the manner of rule breaking infesting No10; shameless, antithetical to the official messaging around frontline workers, and out of touch to the extreme.
But has this 60-page document impacted Boris Johnson’s reputation seriously? The short answer is yes and no. While the document itself didn’t change people’s perceptions, this incident has definitely knocked a chip off the Teflon prime minister: the once self-proclaimed ‘man of the people’ has managed to transform himself back to man of the elite.
The dead cat…
In other countries, or in other eras, the Sue Gray report would consume the news agenda for days, but in a fashion typical of the Boris era the government attempted to scrub out the bad PR – the image that Johnson & Co. spent lockdown partying, being sick and behaving badly – by announcing a U-turn and caving in to Labour pressure to institute a ‘Windfall Tax’ on energy firms to help struggling customers pay their skyrocketing bills.
While it was good news for the millions of Brits facing a bleak winter we should take a step back and remember why it’s really happening. Even a popular and populist policy like the Windfall Tax is merely a cynical attempt to detract from the latest scandal and cling on to power. Bulletproof Boris may have survived another day, but yet more of the public is wise to his dead cat tactics, to the extent that we can actually see these gambits coming in advance. Knowing how he operates certainly dents his aura of indestructibility, and suggests that logic, gravity, might just be catching up with old Boris.