Six Degrees

Many of you, I'm sure, will be familiar with Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the party game that swept Hollywood by storm a couple of years ago. The aim was simple: take any player in the movies and within six moves, link them to the versatile Kevster himself.

For example: Charlie Chaplin was in Brother, Can You Spare a Dime with Orson Welles , who was in Hearts of Darkness with Colleen Camp, who was in Trapped with Kevin Bacon.

Just three moves. Amazing, isn't it?

While this might be a never-ending spiral of joy, I'd like to propose a variation. Let's leave the incestuous arena of Hollywood stars to its own devices and turn our mirthful focus onto the incestuous arena of domestic American politics. We'll replace Kevin Bacon with the President of the United States and use any given scandal as the starting point. (Obviously we should ignore houses of congress, houses of parliament and the United Nations in general, because they're hubs. It'd be like saying that Hugh Grant is related to Kevin Bacon because they both went to the Oscars once.) This should be difficult, right? The current President of the United States is as clean as a whistle, so darn popular and a Christian to boot. He couldn't be related to anything murky or dodgy, could he?

Let's take the Enron scandal as an easy example. Kenneth Lay was the CEO of Enron, and a major campaign contributor for George W. Bush.

We seem to have linked him in just two steps. Perhaps we should try a second example, picked at random, to see if it holds?

Rodney King was beaten fifty-six times by four LAPD officers, who subsequently were acquitted, sparking off the LA riots of 1992. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Daryl Gates, was a friend of George Bush Sr, who of course is the President's dad.

We've established a link in just three steps. This is a fun game, isn't it?

The Republicans reading this are probably getting tetchy by now, so I'll make them happy and pin something on Osama bin Laden. Say, the malfunction of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, which came within half an hour of an irreversible meltdown in 1979.

Metropolitan Edison, the company who owned the plant, had been falsifying coolant leak rate data for months before the accident. Metropolitan Edison is part of the FirstEnergy Corporation, whose President is Tony Alexander. Tony Alexander gave a substantial campaign contribution to George W. Bush, and is now part of his Energy Advisory Team. George's dad was President of the CIA for a short while during the 1970s. The CIA was allied with, and trained, Osama bin Laden to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

And thus, the famous suspected terrorist is linked to the Three Mile Island incident in just five steps. For the last example of just how fun this game can be, I'm going to blame Kevin Bacon for the events of September 11th.

You see, Kevin was in Novacaine with Laura Dern, who was in The Last Party with Ronald Reagan. Reagan's Vice President while he was in office was George Bush Sr, who was, for a time director of the CIA ... you get the picture. Kevin Bacon is just four steps away from allegedly blowing up the World Trade Centre.

How many steps away are you? Send me your links to international terrorism and I'll post the most evil culprits in a future article.

What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...