It’s been a banner week for human civilization. A topless painting of Bea Arthur sold for $1.9 million, Denmark won the Eurovision contest with a song about crying, and, to top it all off, the mayor of Toronto made a really cool short film that’s getting tons of buzz. But all that stuff is nothing compared to the week’s two hottest stories. First up, Venezuela ran out of toilet paper. So, if you were thinking of taking the family on one of those all-inclusive Venezuelan bathroom tours, don’t. The second top story was soccer superstar David Beckham’s shocking announcement that he was ending his life—his life as a professional athlete, that is! Now, let’s contrast and compare these two stories and see which one is better through the magic of a Culture War™.
Venezuela’s Toilet Paper Crisis
A spectre is haunting Venezuela. No, not the spectre of communism; this spectre is far stankier and not even a beret can make it look cool. It’s the spectre of no toilet paper. Yes, like something out of a dystopian sci-fi movie, Venezuela is in the midst of a terrifying nationwide toilet paper shortage that threatens to plunge the country into deep, filthy chaos. Store shelves are bare. The people are angry. Things are so bad that one of those adorable Charmin bears was torn apart limb from limb by an angry mob in Caracas—and you don’t want to know what they did with its fur. What is to be done?
Economists blame the TP shortage on the rigid price control system put into place by late president Hugo Chavez, a system that often leads to shortages of staples like milk, eggs, and cornmeal. The country’s socialist government, however, blames its political rivals and the media for creating a fake toilet paper crisis as part of a diabolical plot to foment unrest and bring the Venezuelan government to its knees. But the main thing to remember is EWWWWW GROSS NO TOILET PAPER??? SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL??? I SUPPOSE I’LL JUST HAVE TO USE THIS OLD EGG CARTON??? OUCH!!! OUCH!!! OUUUCCHH!!! THERE IS NO GOD!!!
Things are particularly bad for Venezuelan practical jokers, who’ve been forced to find other materials to playfully drape over their victims’ trees. Luckily, there’s some light at the end of the toilet: the Venezuelan government has vowed to import 50 million rolls of toilet paper to calm the population and prevent societal breakdown. ¡Viva la Revolución!
As someone who’s never watched a second of David Beckham in action, I was devastated to hear he was retiring from soccer. I’d grown accustomed to the arrangement we had, and was looking forward to many more years of ignoring his accomplishments. Alas, it’s all over and harsh reality has set in. Now I’ll have to ignore everything he’s not doing.
The question is, how will he pass the hours now that he’s quit the ol’ 9 to 5? Will he focus full time on walking around in his underwear? Will he launch a public speaking career (which would be super funny considering his ridiculous squeaky voice)? Will he bend the kids’ school lunches? Or will he just lie around the house eating Pringles all day, watching videos of his greatest goals and shouting out, “I am Becks!” for hours on end, until his wife Posh Spice leaves him? It’s going to be interesting to see which one of my ideas he runs with.
The winner of this week’s Culture War is… the Venezuelan toilet paper shortage. It’s a story that has it all: tragedy, comedy, political intrigue and—especially—romance. Someone should make a movie about it. Perhaps Oliver Stone? I see Javier Bardem as the embattled Venezuelan President. And Nathan Lane as a man screaming for toilet paper.
Culture War runs every Tuesday.