Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obamateur Hour

You'll recall, perhaps, that upon his recent visit to our shores British Prime Minister Gordon Brown presented President Obama and his family several gifts that fairly shimmered with historic significance and which evinced elaborate consideration and preparation. President Obama, for his part, presented the British Prime Minister with a set of classic movie DVDs that could have been purchased at Wal-Mart - and Brown doesn't even watch movies all that much.

Now we find out that the diplomatic gaffe is even worse than we thought. The DVDs, it happens, don't work in British machines.

Mark Steyn pokes a little fun at what he calls the "Obamateur Hour" crowd at the White House, and over at Powerline John Hinderaker asks the obvious question:

Can you imagine the Democrats' reaction if the Bush White House had given a European head of state a set of DVDs that can only be played on North American machines? It would have been conclusive proof of Bush's provincialism, lack of sensitivity to our allies' sensibilities, ignorance of the wider world, techno incompetence, failure to appreciate the superiority of European civilization, blah blah blah. That's how it would have been reported and editorialized on in every newspaper. So let's check tomorrow's papers and see whether that's how Obama's gaffe is covered. Or whether it's covered at all.

The media will doubtless downplay the blunder, just as they downplayed Secretary Clinton's embarrassing "reset" button blooper. This is, after all, no longer the Bush White House. No need, now that Bush is gone, to focus the country's attention on troubling signs of incompetence in the White House.

Actually, it's hard to fault the media for their inattention to the appalling lack of thought put into the Brown gift. The ongoing circus up the street on Capitol Hill is much too diverting to dwell on the administration's diplomatic lassitude. For sheer entertainment value it's hard to beat listening to the Democrats in Congress fulminating against corporate CEOs for handing out the bonuses the Democrats told them they could have in the first place. The "Obamateur Hour" is being played out at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, it appears, and lots of places in between.

Speaking of which, when is Treasury secretary Geithner going to get a staff?


Letter to the President

Somehow this letter to President Obama found its way into my mailbox:

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for helping my neighbors with their mortgage payments. You know the ones down the street, who in the good times refinanced their house several times and bought SUV's, ATV's, RV's, a pool, a big screen TV, two Wave Runners and a Harley. But I was wondering, since I am paying my mortgage and theirs, could you arrange for me to borrow the Harley now and then?

Richard Ford

Queen Creek, AZ

P.S. They also need help with their credit cards, when do you want me to start making those payments?

P.P.S. I almost forgot - they didn't file their income tax return this year. Should I go ahead and file for them or will you be appointing them to cabinet posts?

Pretty funny.



If you're in the mood for a film that'll make you feel good, make you laugh, and make you wish the world were like the microcosm depicted in this story, rent the 2007 movie titled Arranged. It's the story of two young women, one a Muslim, one an orthodox Jew, who find themselves working together as school teachers in New York City. They also find that despite the hatreds and hostilities between Muslims and Jews on the world stage these two women have much in common, especially since both of their families are trying to arrange marriages for them. It's a beautiful and funny story of friendship, and it provides an interesting glimpse of what it's like growing up Muslim and Jewish in America.

The film is for the most part very well acted, though I think the portrayal of the school's principal is a little heavy-handed, and I'm confident that you'll find much in it to enjoy and think about. It's unrated, but should be PG.