Tag Archives: Politics

Democracy requires a nation of participants

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Please don't do it...

I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else how to vote, let alone people who live in a different country to me. However, to any external observer (and to most of the Americans I’ve spoken to) the current Presidential election campaign has been singularly depressing in its negative tone. And that’s what prompted me to build this model.

Here’s hoping whoever wins out in tomorrow’s vote will at least attempt to heal some of the divisions that have opened up. Whatever happens, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.

LEGO Builders Of America — from our worldwide team of contributors to our friends in the USA — put your bricks down for a little while tomorrow and go exercise your franchise.

Our thoughts are with Brussels: A LEGO tribute

Yesterday’s bombing attacks in Brussels left over 30 dead and hundreds wounded during bombings at the airport and Metro, with responsibility being claimed by Daesh.

TBB’s own Simon Liu has created this touching tribute showing Belgium’s famous son Tintin and Snowy the dog giving comfort to each other with the flag of Belgium in the background.


Our thoughts are with Belgium and the friends and family of those killed or wounded in the attacks.

Make Donald Drumpf (and LEGO) again

Here in South Africa politicians are a joke. While you may be shouting at me stating that it’s the same in your country, did your president ever state that showering after sex lowers the chance of contracting HIV? Did your health minister need a liver transplant after heavy drinking? Did you have a finance minister who was in office for a total of four days?

All that said, let me tell you, Donald Trump Drumpf is still a real joke of a politician. The rest of the world is looking in shock as he continues to gain popularity and we’re legitimately scared of him becoming president of the United States.

To mark these trying times, SuckMyBrick brings us this recreation of the loudmouth. Uncanny, isn’t it?

Donald J. Drumpf

I’m going to stop typing now. I don’t want to get sued.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...”

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, there have been a lot knee-jerk reactions from politicians and leaders regarding the refugee policies of their respective states. Satirical Swedish building duo SuckMyBrick decided to add a little LEGO-colored commentary on the debate, that should serve to remind us here in the US that Europe’s refugee situation is considerably more dire and complicated than our own.

In the builders’ own words: “Europe is struggling to accept more refugees every day and is partially doing a good job at it. But from the refugees standpoint, it’s hard to understand a closed door when what they are running from is so much worse than the problems that arise for us by helping them.”

A story of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, LEGO, and a lot of miscommunication [News]

LEGO is usually in the news for positive events — recently it was a tower of the stuff breaking a world record — and even when the news is bad, it’s because everyone wants some of it. But this is a different story altogether.

Chinese artist, political prisoner, and human rights activist Ai Weiwei is known for his strong stance for freedom of speech and other civil liberties in the People’s Republic of China, and this reflects in his work. In September Ai requested a bulk order of LEGO for his studio and a project the studio was working on, and was denied. He quotes the reply stating “they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works” on his Instagram account.

A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on Oct 23, 2015 at 6:04am PDT

Up until that point this seems to be par for the course: The LEGO Group, a company that produces and sells toys aimed at children and teenagers, has the right to restrict sales of their products freely. It must be noted, however, that Ai could have purchased what he needed through standard retail or secondary market channels, albeit without the discount associated with a bulk order directly from the LEGO Group. This was not clear when The Gaurdian reported on the story, incorrectly stating that he was “banned” from using the product.

Ai WeiweiThe article, which has since spread and lead to numerous other stories that seem to confuse key details, seems to be the root of the misconception. Strangely, the body copy of the story and the headline are contradictory, as no source is ever given for Weiwei being “banned”.

A day after the original story, The Guardian ran a follow-up which focused on Weiwei receiving a large influx of Lego donations. Again, there is no source citing Weiwei being banned, or how such an incident would be incited or enforced.

We reached out to our contacts at the Lego Group for comment, and they shared the following statement:

The LEGO Group does not comment on the dialogue we have with our customers, partners, consumers or other stakeholders. We acknowledge that LEGO bricks today are used globally by millions of fans, adults, children and artists as a creative medium to express their imagination and creativity in many different ways, including projects that are not endorsed or supported by the LEGO Group. We also respect any individuals’ right to free creative expression, and we do not censor, prohibit or ban creative use of LEGO bricks.

As a company dedicated to delivering creative play experiences to children, we refrain – on a global level – from engaging in in or endorsing the use of LEGO bricks in projects that carry a political agenda. Individuals may obtain LEGO bricks in other ways to create their LEGO projects if they so desire, but in cases where we receive requests for donations or support for projects – such as the possibility of purchasing LEGO bricks in very large quantities – and we are aware that there is a political context, we uphold our corporate policy and decline the request to access LEGO bricks directly.

Based on this additional information directly from LEGO, we can say for certain that The Guardian is incorrect in their usage of the word “ban” and “banned” in their articles, and that Ai enjoys the same freedom to purchase LEGO bricks as every other builder and “LEGO artist” in the world. He has simply been denied the ability to purchase LEGO bricks in bulk quantities at discounted prices directly from the The LEGO Group.

Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint

Almost ten years after his previous foray into the middle east, mysterious artist/activist Banksy recently popped up in the Gaza Strip, in an effort to once again highlight the plight of people in this region. Flickr member TheBrickAvenger was inspired to recreate one of the Gaza pieces in LEGO:

Some LEGO “purists” may scoff at the choice of the stacked bricks technique used here. But hey, maybe the builder was using it to make a statement? Or maybe there was literally no other way to create this image convincingly at mini-fig scale. Either way, the result is impressive – especially when you consider the effort it must have taken! For context, here is a photo of the original:

Remember to vote, innit?

It’s election day! This Thursday, British voters will be exercising their democratic rights by rushing to the pub, then staggering to the polling stations, then (if memory serves) heading straight back to the pub.

So far this version of 10 Downing Street by Ben and Rachel Apps is the only remotely relevant MOC that I’ve been able to dredge up for the occasion. Personally I blame the British government …for not producing any political figures memorable enough to be worth modeling in LEGO!

Anyway, hope you all have a great election – if nothing else it’ll be good practice for when this happens all over again at Christmas.

Je Suis Charlie

Although the tragic events that unfolded yesterday in Paris were simply the act of a few deranged individuals, they are a reminder to us that – like all members of the visual arts community – LEGO builders should value their freedom of expression too. French builder Jimmy Fortel decided to show his solidarity with the beautiful creation below.

Je suis Charlie

It’s impossible to please all the people all of the time. I for one have had my fair share of negative feedback for things that I’ve created. But I appreciate having the freedom to push those boundaries and make artistic statements without fearing physical retribution. Sadly, that is not the case for people living in some parts of the world today. Yesterday’s incident should serve as a reminder of the freedoms that most of us do enjoy, even when they are being tested.

Nous somme tous Charlie.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts below. But please be aware that any overtly abusive, offensive or disrespectful comments will be deleted.

Och aye the “No”

Last night the people of Scotland voted against breaking away from the United Kingdom, thereby ensuring an uninterrupted flow of Mars bars in one direction, and Doctor Who actors in the other. And proving that I certainly have no monopoly on capturing current events in LEGO, James Pegrum built this scene to mark the occasion:

Pointless political war to now rage in the comments…

Brick Obama: LEGO Hope poster by Michael Fortress

As I type this, Barack Obama stands on the steps of the Unites States Capital with his right hand raised, taking the Oath of Office as the 44th President of the United States of America.

Brick Obama \"Hope\" poster by Michael Fortress

Like many LEGO fans, Michael Fortress wanted to mark the historic inauguration of president Obama. Inspired by the iconic Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster, Michael combined his graphic design skills with his passion for LEGO to create his own LEGO-themed Barack Obama “Hope” stencil poster.

Check out more of Michael’s design projects on deviantART.

Sarah Palin, the plastic Vice Presidential candidate

I’m sorry to have missed meeting Ochre Jelly during the public hours at BrickCon, but I was very pleased when he sent me a link to his latest LEGO creation.

OJ has captured the Alaska governor winking during her debate with Joe Biden:

Sarah Palin

OJ writes:

This is a new scale of LEGO that I am experimenting with. Not minifig scale, not miniland scale, but I’m calling it “marionette scale”. The goal was to figure out the smallest (which in my mind is the most interesting) scale at which I can create recognizable 3D facial likenesses.