Friday, March 06, 2009

Black Narcissus

This isn't a review of the 1947 British film, though it does deal with films, and it does deal with the British. It's the story that has been bouncing around in the British media the last day or so: the presents given by Obama to Prime Minister Gordon Brown on his first official visit to the White House since the election of The Boy Wonder. First let's start with Gordon Brown's presents to Obama:
The Prime Minister gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet.

The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.

Mr Brown also handed over a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.

In addition, Mr Brown and his wife showered gifts on the Obama children giving Sasha and Malia an outfit each from Topshop and six children's books by British authors which are shortly to be published in America.
In return, what did the Obamas present to the Browns?
Barack Obama, the leader of the world's richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films - a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.
And for the kiddies:
In return Mrs Obama gave the Brown children, Fraser and John, two toy models of Marine One, the Presidential helicopter. Fair enough on the helicopter part, always a popular choice with small boys; but Marine One? It’s not as though anyone needs reminding that Barack Obama is President or that he has his own helicopter. Short of giving the boys Action Man models of her own husband smiting the evil forces of neoconservatism, Mrs Obama’s gesture could not have been more solipsistic or more inherently dismissive of Mrs Brown.
Gifts, as the article points out, procured from the White House gift shop, costing about $13.00 apiece. Class act in the White House.

As for the dvds, it appears that the White House didn't even bother to get Brown Region 2 dvds that would play on a British dvd player. But it's all part of the thoughtfulness that would give a set of movies to a man who is almost legally blind. I'm sure he'll adore watching the 1927 silent film "The General".

And by the way, how did "Lawrence of Arabia" get into a supposed collection of 25 classic AMERICAN films?

This opens up a delightful vista before us, as we can fantasize about the gifts the Obamas will be presenting to heads of state over the next few years.

I suppose copies of The da Vinci Code and The Thorn Birds will be presented to the Pope, and the President of France (who no doubt will be THRILLED with the present of some American movies) will get Irma La Douce and his kids will get a collection of Pepe le Pew cartoons.

The American media sold themselves to convey Obama into the White House, and are still keeping up the happy-talk to try to hide what a buffoon he is. Even before the Inauguration, I said to Dean that they may be able to keep up a one-tone wall of sound in the U.S., but the same won't be true of the foreign press. They went along for the ride while it was fun, but they don't owe anything to Obama, and there's no particular reason for them to cover his ass. They haven't forgotten the pleasures of anti-Americanism, nor have their readers. It won't take many incidents like this to make them swing the taps all the way to hot again, and start in on Obama exactly where they left off with Bush. Then the American media will have a hard time trying to maintain the illusion that All Is Well, when the foreign papers start publishing insulting cartoons and derogatory editorials about Golden Boy. Judging by the Brits, that transformation has started already, and those people really know how to write nasty.


Blogger Priscilla said...

This is the same creature who sent the statue of Winston Churchill (which was given to the people of the United States through President Bush) back to GB!!!! Ignorant jerk.
I also read one of the gifts Brown gave THE ONE was a first edition of Martin Gilbert's seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill - rather a rub-your-nose-in-it moment. If the slimy little creep even gets it!
Guess you know I didn't vote for the thug from Chicago. I love the bumper stickers that say, "Do you like the change?" and others.
I'm attending a big state Republican conference this weekend. I hope to hear about the turnaround of the party, I've been hearing it wants to get serious, high tech, and aggressive.
I just can't believe we are going down the socialist road. I might as well move to France. Socialism with good food!
BTW, I LOVE the BN moniker, hope you don't mind if I use it. You are a gem!

12:10 pm  
Blogger Andrea said...

When I read about the bust I thought "how crass" and then I found out about this.

Oh, it's the Seventies again, and we've got another huge embarrassment in the White House and an economy on its way into the sewer! Hooray! Where's that asteroid...

7:32 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Glad you liked the BN reference, Priscilla - do go ahead and use it! I hope your conference goes well, and that the Republicans start fighting back with a little more muscle instead of apologizing for not worshipping at Obama's shrine.

10:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know . . . if the Obamas had presented more lavish gifts they would have been criticized for flaunting it in the face of those struggling with the economic crisis.
But they still should have put a little more thought into the selection.

8:37 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I disagree. Britain is in worse shape, economically, than the U.S., and nobody criticized Gordon Brown for bring handsome presents to the U.S. What's aggravating people about this is that Obama was acting on THEIR behalf, as their representative. He makes America look cheap and crass by not being able to recognize the importance of the occasion. WE can separate the individual from the office - modest birthday presents for his family wouldn't be a scandal, America as a cheap loser IS. Unfortunately, the past two months indicate that the trends are all in a downward direction: Obama is not ashamed to stuff himself with gourmet goodies when it comes to satisfying his own personal wants, but the country can scrounge for leftovers. What do you expect from Black Narcissus? It's all about him.

8:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be thoughtless to give a gift that is unsuitable and not as costly as the gifts that the recipients gave you.
But it is the height of bad manners for the recipients to complain that your gifts were not as costly as the ones that they gave you or were not what they would have preferred.
Perhaps the next time that the Obamas have to pick out gifts for the Browns, they could choose the collected works of Emily Post, Letitia Baldrige or Miss Manners (Judith Martin).
This would certainly be a gift that the Browns could put to good use.

9:22 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

The Browns didn't complain - the press and people of England did. When George Bush was the one being protested and abused during his trips abroad, people seemed to think that offending foreign sensitivities was a serious matter. Now that BN is the loutish American boor, the rest of the world needs a lesson in manners.

Relations between states aren't governed by etiquette manuals; that's why diplomacy was invented, to try to bring a little order into what could otherwise be dangerous and ugly collisions between countries. If Obama is too stupid not to realize that a ritual present exchange between heads of states, symbolizing the relations between two countries, isn't the same thing as regifting some unwanted dvds to your newspaper boy at Christmas, then he and the U.S. are going to soon experience some social embarrassments that even Miss Manners wouldn't have words to describe.

10:23 pm  
Blogger Priscilla said...

perfectly eloquent,Dr., as usual.

10:34 pm  

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