Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Head of State

We'll admit it: including Nixon's Head in the bracket amounts to a bit of a stretch. After all, dude's just a head. He's obviously a very ambitious and clever head, as of all the other presidential heads hanging that have somehow been preserved in the year 3000, Nixon's is the only one that decides it's his destiny to return to the presidency.
And with eyebrows like that, who can blame him?
Now, we, the authors of this humble blog, will confess to being enthusiastic fans of Futurama, and as such, Nixon's Head was one of the first fictional presidents we wrote down when we were fleshing out the bracket. However, there's one question that, as we were preparing Nixon's Head's entry against Martin Van Buren, kept nagging us:

What exactly is Nixon's Head the president of?

Let's assess the facts: Nixon's Head presides over whatever government he's the... er... head of from a city called Washington. Specifically, he hangs out at the White House (or occasionally, a secret chamber deep beneath the White House), and "salutes" a red-white-and-blue flag. Oh, and when the Futurama gang makes a swing through West Virginia, the money they use has "pecatures of George Washington" on it.

On the other hand, Nixon's Head makes references to his fellow "Earthicans," the capital is in Washington A.C., and that red-white-and-blue flag? Is a teensy bit off:

Also, he's specifically referred to as the President of Earth several times. So, there's that.

On the other hand, there seems to be some confusion as to how united Earth's government really is. Sure, at one point Bender refers to his birthplace of Mexico as "America's heartland," but what happens when he and Hermes try to visit?
Mexico apparently hasn't been up to much in the ensuing... 1200 years or so.
That doesn't look like an entirely open border, does it? And indeed, in order to actually enter Mexico, they have to...
Yup, they have to show their passports, visas, and Homeland Security permission slips. All of which, apparently, go the cell phone route in the future and get smaller and smaller. Which is... cool, I guess?

(Side note: before we go, let's take a moment to enjoy a "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" joke from the same episode as our previous captures.)
If you don't get it, we're not explaining it to you.
(That is a quality joke right there, my friends.)
So, there is clearly some form of border issue when it comes to Mexico. What of other former Earth nations? Well, prior to Hermes and Bender's expedition to Tijuana, the Planet Express crew took a brief excursion to Rome.
Sadly, they did not stick the landing.
Did they have to go through any customs checks or border crossings to get there? Well, none that we saw. It's possible that, much like in The Amazing Race, those parts were cut out for expediency. However, the fact still remains that Mexico, a location with a prime location on the Earth flag, doesn't appear to really part of the same (planet-state?) as the rest of Earth.

And that brings us back to Nixon's Head, the so-called-president of Earth. Is he really the President of Earth? We're gonna say no. We're gonna speculate, in fact, that he just calls himself that, hoping for the day when his authority is recognized across the globe. It's the only explanation that fits all the facts.

Then again, it doesn't explain why Nixon's Head is eventually called upon to help negotiate with the extra-dimensional being Yivo... on behalf of the entire universe.
Nixon's Head: if you don't like it, suck it.
Maybe the writers of Futurama will one day clear up these discrepancies. While we wait for that, why doesn't everyone slide over to Monday's post and vote on the Nixon's Head vs. Martin van Buren matchup? Polls close on Friday. Vote now!

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