I’ve been reverting to childhood entertainment lately– buying DVDs of the Justice League series, reading all the Chronicles of Narnia books again, etc. Among those things, I picked up a copy of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. I’m very excited about the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, but I always like this book more. I haven’t read this book in over ten years and I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it then when I did, but Roald Dahl’s description of the government and characterization of the President and his staff are too funny and scarily a propos.
For example, when they discover Willy Wonka and his crew attempting to link up with Space Hotel “USA,” the Chief of the Army exclaims, “Let’s blow them up first, crash bang wallop bang-bang-bang-bang… Come on, Mr. P… Let’s have some really super-duper explosions!” And as they try to figure out who is in the great glass elevator, the Chief Spy plays a game of twenty questions and he leads the President into coming up with his own crazy conspiracy theory as to who these people are and what they are trying to do. More insanity ensues and let’s not forget Miss Tibbs, the Vice President, who also happened to be the President’s nanny. She’s constantly seen having to guide him along and actually sings a song where she laments the fact that she helped the idiot become president.
The book was originally published around 1972, but it’s strangely and frighteningly appropriate for 2005.