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Viewpoints from the frontline of content.

Dear Rest of World

By Josh Selig 25-07-2017

I didn’t vote for him, but that hardly matters now. What’s done is done. Just as parents must take responsibility when their kid throws up on the bus, we Americans must all take responsibility for Trump.

He sprang from our loins like a capitalist blonde gremlin. He is our progeny, our hood ornament, our President.

We always knew we were a boorish bunch – loud, pudgy, craving Starbucks and celebrities – but Donald raised our Ugly American brand to an all-new apocalyptic high.

I couldn’t design a more bizarre or malevolent character even if I ran an animation studio which, coincidentally, I do.

We make a kids’ show with a South Korean company. I used to wonder if there would be a third season. Now I wonder if there will be a South Korea.

America has never been a very wholesome place. We were founded by conquest and enriched by slavery. But we did, until recently, have a few thin principles that we stood for: tolerance, compassion, respect for human rights.

Adios to all that. America is now a Trump property and we are his tenants watching in horror while he redecorates our nation in the awful, gilded, pouting image of himself.

We are embarrassed. We are ashamed. We are afraid. Here in New York, where we grew up with Donald, we thought he had peaked with casinos and beauty pageants. He had not.

We underestimated him. At a dinner at MipTV in 2016, I reassured some French producers that it was absolutely impossible for Trump to win the general election.

I was wrong. Everyone was wrong. The East Coast and the West Coast watched like stunned bookends while our country’s angry, unscripted middle elected Mr Trump.

So now, on any given morning, in between tweets and everything bagels, Donald Trump could blow up the world.

I accept that I have about as much political power as a nine-volt battery, but when I heard that an iceberg the size of Delaware had broken off Antarctica and was floating toward Lazy Town in Iceland, I knew I had to do something.

And when I read Don Jr’s emails saying that the Trump Family Singers have been caroling at the backdoor of the Kremlin all year long, I knew I had to do something.

And when I calculated that there could be seven more Trumps born between now and the next election – a Trumpian dynasty of terrible twos – I knew I had to do something.

But what?

Aaron Sorkin says that there is no better way to influence people than through good storytelling. Well, that may be true if you created The West Wing, but somehow I don’t see my preschool shows packing the same political ‘oomph.’

Ming-Ming Duckling singing “This is sewrious!” on the White House lawn is not likely to sway a single Republican vote.

I thought about creating a new and decidedly anti-Trump puppet show – The Trumppets – but nobody watches puppet shows anymore, especially ones about real estate.

I thought about moving to China where they still have cameras in press conferences, but I would miss Netflix, Google and guacamole, which they do not have.

I even thought about running for President myself but I’m not sure I could get enough votes to carry Russia.

Finally, I realised that I would not be able to do anything that would make a difference. So I surrendered. Yes, I gave up. Not for my country, but for my sanity. And I felt as pathetic as a landline.

Now, I’m in the final stage of grief: acceptance. The man was elected. The man won. We got who we deserve. Stupid dumb democracy. Or, perhaps, democrasky.

These days, I just run my studio and I don’t watch the news. I make my kids’ shows. I try to keep my music publishing. I control the few things I can control.

My mother has a big tattoo on her arm that says: “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

Well, I do nothing. Or next to nothing. And evil does prevail. And I, like all Americans, am responsible.

But I am sorry, rest of world. And one day I promise we will clean up the puke on the bus.

In the meantime, I have one favour to ask you: please don’t give up on America. Our child is ill. Our country should be quarantined until 2020. But I hope you will understand that your friends are your friends, regardless.

today's correspondent

Josh Selig Founder and president Little Airplane Productions

Josh Selig is the founder of Little Airplane Productions. He is the creator and executive producer of Wonder Pets! on Nick Jr (winner of the 2009 Japan Prize for Best Television Series), as well as 3rd & Bird and Small Potatoes, both of which aired on CBeebies and Disney Junior.

Josh is executive producer of Super Wings on Sprout and the co-creator and executive producer of P King Duckling, which premiered on Disney Junior US and airs on CCTV in China. Josh has received 11 Emmys in multiple categories.