J Is for Juvenile: The Chris Christie Scandals in LEGO
My previous post featured the work of Turkish LEGO photographer pulup, who has used LEGO minifigures to raise global awareness of increasing social and political repression in his country. As I’ve become familiar with his work on Instagram, it has inspired me to use the plastic minifigures and their surroundings for political satire as well.
The recent scandals surrounding New Jersey governor Chris Christie are tailor-made for political satire with LEGO. In large part, this is because of the juvenile nature of the event that touched off the political firestorm — the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey to New York, clogging traffic in Fort Lee for days as retribution for the mayor’s non-endorsement. Christie aides rejoiced in what had all the hallmarks of a high school prank. Emails described children stuck for hours on school buses, with an official responding that their parents were probably voters for the governor’s opponent, so who cares? Of course, things could have gotten very serious very quickly, as emergency responders were also stuck in the backup from the closed bridge lanes.
As scandals often do, this one has not only legs but tentacles. Soon, it was revealed that the governor paid $2 million over the lowest bid for Hurricane Sandy recovery ads so that his family could be featured. To the extent that the “Stronger Than the Storm” ad could be considered a campaign ad, there are other legal issues as well.
A more ominous misuse of Hurricane Sandy relief funds was then revealed: the alleged withholding of such funds from the city of Hoboken because Mayor Dawn Zimmer refused to approve a pet development project, known as the Rockefeller Project. Zimmer met with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and reported that the threat was made at that meeting. Again, circumstantial evidence points to retribution, as Hoboken has not received its share of recovery money despite major destruction from the 2012 superstorm.
Federal investigators are on the case. So are the folks of Little Brick Township.