On June 10, 2008 Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Robert Wexler introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush to the U.S. House of Representatives, because, in the United States, that’s what is done if you are not happy with the leader of your country. The United States is not Westeros. If it were Westeros, things might have been a bit more severe.
In Westeros, the world of the George R. R. Martin book turned HBO series Game of Thrones, those in position of power do not just lose their title, but, inevitably, they lose their heads! While that is all well and good when the victims are fictional characters playing a political game for the entertainment of viewers, but what happens when one of the heads on a spike is actually that of the former President of the United States, George W. Bush?!
Some very serious questions are raised: Was this intentional? Is this a political statement from the producers or show runners of the HBO series? and Should this be deemed a threat? Followed by the one not so serious question by me: How did I not know this until now?
Let me address the least serious of the questions first. The head went largely unnoticed until a part of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ DVD commentary was viewed and shared via redditor SidIncognito with the following image:
Since then, it has been all the buzz about the Internet, raising some of those more serious questions I mentioned before. Both HBO and the producers each released statements since, in an effort to calm the rising storm. According to io9:
We received a statement from HBO:
We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.
And the producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, also issued a statement:
What happened was this: we use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can’t afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush.
In the DVD commentary, we mentioned this, though we should not have. We meant no disrespect to the former President and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.
Of course everyone is sorry. And, to be honest, I believe that no ill will was intended. The real problem is: what I believe doesn’t really matter in this case. The Secret Service will most likely (if they haven’t already) have to judge for themselves. Just last year, Jacob Volkman, a UFC fighter and chiropractor, jokingly stated after a victory that he’d like to fight President Obama next since he disagreed with his health care reform plan. According to Sherdog.com,
After video of the interview spread across the Internet, Volkmann on Tuesday received a visit from the United States Secret Service, who investigates any perceived threats to the president. [...] It is unclear how the Secret Service learned of the comments. A spokesperson from the agency’s Office of Government and Public Affairs, based in Washington, D.C., declined to discuss whether or not a visit had occurred. However, that spokesperson added that they were “aware of the matter,” but would not discuss what qualifies a citizen for a visit from the organization.
So, the United States is not Westeros; we do not behead our leaders here, but we do have our own rules and loyalties. Any perceived threat to a living president, in office or not, does have to be investigated. I’ll be really surprised if we ever get to hear about that investigation, though.
Do you think this needs to be investigated by the Secret Service?
Do you believe that the use of George W. Bush’s head was unintentional?
[Special thanks to fellow nerd
Jack Lawrence William Chambers
for the UFC story!]