Fake Apocalypse Slap Fight: Ronald Reagan vs. Australia's Julia Gillard

Categories: Random Ephemera

Two heads of state have pulled off some shenanigans when it comes to the end of the world. On the one hand we have the recent video put out by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard telling her constituents that the Mayans were right and the end is indeed nigh. She wasn't sure if it would be through zombies, hellbeasts, or k-pop, but she knew it was coming.

Gillard wasn't the first chief executive to announce the end of the world. Ronald Reagan also chillingly told us that he has signed legislation to outlaw Russia and that we would begin bombing in five minutes. That's right, nuclear fucking holocaust was about to go mainstream.

The question is, who did it better?

In This Corner: Julia Gillard is the currently sitting prime minister of Australia, the first woman to hold the office. She's big on better health care, a woman's right to choose, wishy-washy on gambling, mildly for traditional marriage, and wants Australia to become a republic when Elizabeth II resigns the crown. It's hard to know if she's made history since, you know, now hasn't become history yet. We'll have to see.

And in This Corner: The Great Communicator, the Gipper, the man my wife calls three demons in a human suit, and America's 40th president, Ronald Reagan. No other figure in the politics of the last 30 years can compare to him. He's an apparent saint among the conservatives, reviled among the liberals, but acknowledged by both sides as a one of a kind president whose place in history is secured. The Berlin Wall fell under his watch, as did the Soviet Union, and the effects of his leadership are still felt today decades after he left public office.

The Prophecies: It should be noted that both Gillard and Reagan were joking. In Gillard's case, her video appeared on a comedic breakfast show, and the reference to k-pop being a sign of apocalypse is probably the best clue to how serious she was not... unless she knows something that we don't. On the other hand, the fact that a sitting executive would participate in such a joke is unusual, and lends the virality among the Alex Jones crowd a little more oomph.

Reagan? He was merely trying to get a rise out of the soundcheck crew with a bizarre line. The bit about instigating a nuclear war never went out on the air, but was eventually leaked. The Soviets, understandably, went a little bananas and Chicken Littled to alert for half an hour until they realized Reagan wasn't really about to attack. Considering we'd already almost unleashed World War III: The Radiationing over a $.46 malfunctioning computer chip in 1980, perhaps Ronnie should have been a little more cautious over how jumpy all involved actually were.

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Reagan has a legacy so distorted by the Conservative idolization of him that we may never have a clear picture of the real man behind the television set beyond the elaborate myth now concocted around him. Did he really rid the world of commie scum? Did destroy or save our economy? Check out my portrait of The Gipper and help me figure it out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/02/happy-100th-gipper.html with some Cold War Hollywood!

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