The British satirical magazine Private Eye has a magical knack of creating absurdist fiction that is just almost credible. (Their articles are sometimes reprinted in far-off countries with modest English language skills as the real thing.) Fortunately for all, “the Eye” also has a keen band of sharp-eyed readers who send them media curiosities from all over. A recent contribution published in August 2019, featured a minor American science fiction novel from 1967. The hero: a bumbling incompetent attempting to stave off a dystopian galactic disaster, named Boris Johnson. The book’s title – disturbingly prescient – was AGENT OF CHAOS.
The fictitious Boris Johnson
As today in Brexit-wracked Britain, the fictitious ‘Boris Johnson’ is energetically struggling with a self-imposed mission impossible, and in the opinion of his suave omnipotent adversaries (Brussels bureaucrats anyone?) failing miserably. As one of these shadowy figures comments: “Boris Johnson was quite willing to babble on – and did so at every opportunity – but the man is a fool.” The menacing lead Assassin Robert Ching regards Johnson with something close to supercilious affection, perhaps as one would watch a clumsy kitten trying to climb a tree: “The man is a bumbler, he stumbles in the dark, ignorant even of the Democracy he professes to champion … yet still he fights on … blind courage … heroism … sheer stupidity – and Johnson, paradoxically, is a source of all three.”
Of course, Private Eye cannot resist the obvious parallels to Britain’s current chaos: After various betrayals and battles, they comment, we reach the final page and what reads like a premonition of eternal Brexit: “The struggle was just beginning. In another billion years, it would still be just beginning.”
Don’t forget, you read this first in METROPOLE.
(Foto credit: Arno Mikkor)