The Hungry Hungry Hippos, Gargamel, and America’s Future
We’re Smurfs. Yup, Smurfs.
Of the many parallels we’ve all attempted to use for American president Donald Trump, the best of them is Gargamel. Yes, Gargamel, the fat cat owning evil wizard whose life goal it is to destroy the lives of Socialized blue anthropomorphous creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in an unknown forest. Of course, because real life of late is so surreal, it’s appropriate to belive that we’re now fully living in a Laff-a-Lympics-style parallel Saturday morning cartoon universes where Hungry Hungry Hippos gnawing at aforementioned metaphorical Gargamel’s feet as he runs on a road to nowhere with the entire Smurf village haphazardly stashed in a rucksack.
And now, a word from our sponsors. For those who are unaware, the Laff-a-Lympics were a two-season comic series first aired in 1978 and 1979 by Hanna Barbera and ABC that highlighted characters in the 13 different cartoons (including Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Josie and the Pussycats, and more) of the Hanna Barbera family competing in Battle of the Network Stars-style events against each other. Of course, this now means that we must define the Battle of the Network Stars for those unaware as being a TV series that aired between 1976–1988 and featured oftentimes laughably unathletic television stars from ABC, CBS, and NBC competing against each other in various sporting events.
Barack Obama is Papa Smurf in all of this. As America’s 44th President, he was oftentimes idealized as in ways similar to the Smurf’s red-hatted Socialized leader as being a gentle, wise, and knowledgeable man, concerned with our national harmony. Altruistic and helpful, he, akin to Papa Smurf, was seen as a great diplomat who helped everyone, human, creature, or otherwise. He, like Papa Smurf, saw his greatest mandate as improving the ability of all Americans to be entrepreneurial leaders, and helping us all through the growing pains associated with that process. In a manner similar to the perception of Obama, Papa Smurf used a charismatic magic to make this all happen, and ultimately protect the Smurfs from harm.
Of course, there’s Donald Trump as Gargamel, and maybe Hillary Clinton as Smurfette playing a role in this, too. Let’s imagine that America is an extended Smurf Village, and that all women are represented as one Smurfette-as-potential replacement for Papa Smurf-as-leader. Intriguingly, Smurf history shows that Smurfette was “magically created from clay by the Smurfs’ enemy, Gargamel, so that she would use her charms to cause jealousy and competition among the Smurfs…[w]ith the entire village angrily aware of her treachery, Smurfette finally admitted her slavery to Gargamel and tearfully offered to submit the Smurfs’ judgement. The Smurfs’ kindness to Smurfette caused her to want nothing else than to be a real Smurf, so Papa Smurf absolved her of her guilt and offered to try to free her by making her a real Smurf. Papa Smurf magically undid some of Gargamel’s spells, and consequently turned Smurfette into a more beautiful creature. Her hair grew and became blonde. Her dress became frillier. As a final touch, her shoes turned into high-heel pumps. Of course, everyone now loved her and actually fought to do trivial favors for her such as walking her home.”
All the while, there’s Gargamel-as-Trump, concocting an unfathomably evil spell to doom us all. Gargamel is described by Wikipedia as “a misanthrope, hating pretty much everyone and the Smurfs in particular, though he will sometimes feign friendship if there is something in it for him that he can either earn or steal. He is also an abject coward, surrendering or fleeing upon the merest hint of personal risk or harm.” To some in the reading audience, this description sounds rather Trumpian, amirite?
Furthermore, he’s noted as being “an eternal bungler” whose schemes to entrap the Smurfs are, as some of us refer to Trump’s planning, to be “bizarre,” “rare[ly] genius.” As well, similar to Papa Smurf, Gargamel also dabbles in alchemy, but “no matter how elaborate [his] plans, they invariably end in failure, causing him to say: ‘I hate those Smurfs! I am brave and strong and they are puny and weak, and why can’t I defeat those miserable vile little Smurfs?!” I’ll get you if it’s the last thing I do!”’”
Donald Trump is presently accused of a multi-level and multi-variable sort of electoral skullduggery that makes the most elaborate of Ponzi schemes look like seventh-grade Algebra. It’s probably best if we judge it by comparison to a plotline from The Smurfs, if only because there’s literally no known corollary within the broad and deep history of humanity upon which to compare both its inculpable inanity and absolute success. We currently live in an American society that is basically Gargamel aimlessly lurching about the globe with a bag filled with Americans-as-anthropomorphic blue creatures. We’re in this bag because we trusted Papa Smurf, a bunch of us got taken for the okey doke by Smurfette, and then Gargamel concoted his most bizarrely genius spell ever. Surprise surprise, that spell worked.
Of course, if a fan of cartoons, life taking a turn for the bizarre is par for the course as given that we’re taking a look at cartoons of the 1970s and 1980s, this is totally out of the HR Pufnstuf-esque “Sid and Marty Krofft” playbook of thought to be marijuana and LSD-use inspired cartoons. Of course, as related to this editorial, in a 2005 interview with USA Today, Marty Krofft said, “No drugs involved. You can’t do drugs when you’re making shows. Maybe after, but not during. We’re bizarre, that’s all. You can’t create this stuff stoned.”
So as Marty Krofft quote stated, we’re in uncharted, yet entirely real human and cartoon territory here. That’s why this new plotline of Hungry Hungry Hippos attempting to eat Gargamel actually makes all of the sense in the world. At present, the “Hungry Hungry Hippos” are Amazon, Netflix, Alibaba, Tencent, Hulu, Google, and Facebook, monolithic companies that are swallowing up commerce and content at a rate faster than humans can either engage with or create either or both. What’s intriguing is that, save America and England, the rest of the world is assenting to or being thoroughly ravaged by this sudden shift of globalization like white marbles on a game board. We’re getting closer to a point where there’s going to be a world wherein there’s the hungriest of hungry hippoes and one massive orange-as-white, Gargamel-as-Trump marble left on the game board, and our American humanity in a rucksack prime for the eating.
Of course, once that happens, then we enter an era where the Hungry Hungry Hippoes begin eating each other. Thankfully, Sid and Marty Krofft created The Land of the Lost in 1974, a cartoon that features a dinosaur and alien-inhabited refugee camp-as-“Lost City” wherein green humanoids with both reptilian and insectoid features called sleestak defend a Lost City which they no longer know how or why their ancestors created.
The Hungry Hungry Hippos are chasing Gargamel into The Land of the Lost, and given that Gargamel captured all of us, there’s nothing we can do.
We’re all gonna die. In a cartoon, no less.
Who’s feeling Smurfy?