Thursday, December 10, 2009

Noble Woes

The Norwegians who gave the Nobel Prize to Obama before he did anything to deserve it were bowled over by their assumption that he's just like them, "our sort of chap".

Alas, he isn't even that. Now they're furious that having given him the honor, he's not going to give them any of his time. Not even to have a sandwich with their King. Americans, alas, aren't really into kings, nobility and that sort of stuff.

Though, if you really want to know, it seems Americans do have all the trappings of protocol, in their republican sort of way. Here's a glimpse into that world: a New York Times writer is absolutely scandalized by the way those two party crashers at the White House desecrated all the norms in their unseemly haste to get near their leaders. What do they think, it's a democracy where the people own their leaders and their house? Maybe it was in Abe Lincoln's day; perhaps even Teddy Roosevelt's. Not anymore, it isn't.

Finally, since I'm already so far off-topic, here's another one from the NYT, severely admonishing Tiger Woods for wanting his own life. Who does he think he is? A private citizen who can simply cheat on his wife and have her go at him with a golf club? Doesn't he understand there are inviolate rules, and by those rules he owes us a carefully scripted public apology?

On second thought, maybe the Norwegians were right to expect more from the American President.


Anonymous said...

"maybe the Norwegians were right to expect more from the American President"

I am especially puzzled by his not wanting to one-on-one with the king - he bowed to a Saudi and a Japanese king in a way which looked very reverential to me and he "snubs" a European one? What's wrong with European nobility? King Harald's blood-line not long enough? ;-)))

Anonymous said...

Lots of blacks think Obama will be shot by whites. Thus, annoyance that a couple whites walked past security.

Off topic, hasn't the Economist dumbed down over the last ten years? I remember reading it in the 70s. It was tough. All those clever, lucid articles about some business I'd never heard of cleverly building gadgets I didn't understand in a place I could barely find in an atlas with lots of local political-economic detail I was too naive to get. But they made it clear.

The editorials were perfunctory. 'Yes, business is greedy. So is politics. Back to a real article.'

Still like that in the 90s.

Now, it's like Newsweek. Every other page has some politically correct opinion piece of uplift writing. And the articles are written by guys who really want their own opinion column.



Anonymous said...

I am a federal employee in DC, and my anger at the gatecrashers is wholly due to the fact that my experience of security in this town is that it is suffocating and often humiliating - being threatened with arrest for using the wrong entrance to my own agency, being turned away from the State Dept, even though I was cleared in and had a badge, for the crime of carrying knitting needles, having to go 20 minutes out of my way because another unexplained "security incident" has occurred in front of the White House...When I heard that these two poseurs had made it past the Secret Service and into the same room as the President and Indian Prime Minister, I was beside myself. I think that is behind at least some of the rage felt in Washington. The NYT article gets it right - this is a city of rules and conformity, and people who jump the line are detested because they have helped themselves to something everyone else has to work for.