In the comedy movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Will Ferrell (“Lars”) and Rachel McAdams (“Sigrit”) star as Fire Saga, an objectively terrible but loveable music duo that somehow ends up representing Iceland’s hopes in the title competition against Europe’s best musical talent. A doofus and a dreamer, Lars grew up wanting to win Eurovision, but Fire Saga’s most popular tune is a bar song called “Jaja Ding Dong,” which is not about the Hostess confection.
It’s a cute little formulaic comedy, but even for these things audiences require a little deference to the suspension of disbelief. The challenge script writers tackle early is explaining how this awful group gets chosen to carry the banner for Iceland — and making it believable.
Here’s how they do it. Icelandic performers need to win the Söngvakeppnin musical competition to qualify for Eurovision, but as for that, Iceland’s best talent was obvious: an electrifying singer named Katiana, portrayed by American pop star Demi Lovato. The outcome was a fait accompli, but since that competition with 12 finalists is a necessary prerequisite, the judges end up choosing Fire Saga to participate in a random draw.
Fire Saga’s Söngvakeppnin performance was disastrous, even for them (this is, after all, a comedy). We see Sigrit consoling Lars as the rest of the finalists attend the afterparty on a boat. Which blows up.
So with all other competitors destroyed, the judges are left with a choice they otherwise would never make.
Rumor has it that when President Joe Biden saw this, he praised Icelandic music for going through an “incredible transition.” That’s Biden’s term for senseless destruction, elimination of preferred choices, and being left with an option that only sounds good when you’re drunk.
Most recently, Biden found another “incredible transition.” It came while discussing one of the biggest — and growing — problems facing families and businesses during his presidency. At a joint press conference May 24 following his meeting with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan, Biden was asked about “enormously high gas prices” and whether Americans should “be prepared for a recession.” Biden answered no, citing in part the promise of new jobs from transitioning away from gasoline.
Readers familiar with the works of Bastiat or with any experience at all in the real world are here excused a moment to double-facepalm, sigh, yell at the elements King Lear–style, or ponder the futility of modern American politics before proceeding.
“Here’s the situation,” Biden said. “And when it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”
The belief that exorbitant prices are good because it means people will change their entire way of life is one of the responses in the Biden administration’s rotation of pat responses to high gas prices, along with such things as blaming Putin and corporate greed. It was perhaps best displayed by the just-so smugness of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s November 28, 2021, comments to MSNBC that families who own electric vehicles [EVs] “will never have to worry about gas prices again.”
Just prior to Biden’s taking office, the AAA National Average gasoline price was $2.378. As of May 25, 2022, it was nearly double that, at $4.599, with predictions it will get much worse. While it is not the case that the President determines gasoline prices, the President’s policies can influence them, and with respect to Biden, his day-one cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline permitting and planned oil and gas leasing in Alaska sent a clear message to energy markets that their long-term expectations for additional American influence and supplies on oil markets (providing a dampening effect on price spikes and also being a counterweight to OPEC shenanigans) had to be rethought. It also introduced more uncertainty into the market, which itself contributes to price inflation. Increased demand as economies reopened in 2021 and refinery bottlenecks are significant contributors, as are the late Russian hostilities in Ukraine. In this environment, the Biden administration on May 11 announced the cancellation of offshore oil and gas leasing in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
Gasoline, people’s preferred transportation fuel choice by far, is blowing up. Higher prices for gasoline and diesel mean it will cost people more than before to go places. They also mean that it will cost more to transport and produce goods, so people will also have to pay more for food, clothing, and other wants and needs. Our purchasing power has fallen. We are measurably worse off, especially the poorest among us who have fewer “luxury” items to sacrifice for necessities. But we’re all having to make choices we otherwise would never make.
Regardless of what the President says, this is not making us stronger and better off. It’d be one thing if EV makers were winning customers in the time-honored way of producing better goods at lower prices (bearing in mind that people’s time is also a cost). But in the warped view of the Biden administration, the only way for people to see EVs as preferable to their gas-powered cars is to make gasoline prohibitively expensive. It shows how unpopular their “less reliance on fossil fuels” actually is, and that they know it. It bespeaks an “incredible transition” in the same way that “if you were the last man on earth” predicts masculine irresistibility.
In the world of fiction, Fire Saga succeeds against all odds and EVs become people’s go-to choice without any problems. In reality, regardless of any benefits to Fire Saga, Iceland would be in national mourning over such a shocking and tragic loss of life and talent, and Icelandic culture would have suffered irreplaceable loss.
Also in real life, regardless of any benefits to EV makers, people will suffer great loss if gasoline prices drive them to the point of replacing their perfectly drivable gas-powered vehicles — which are expensive capital investments — with even more expensive EVs. Biden thinks such a “transition” would be “incredible.” For the vast majority of us, it would be terrible.