Sunday, April 12, 2009

Laugh, and the world laughs at you!


...and the world laughs at you. (Warning: Turkish alert!)

Even as this incident has been extensively reviewed, methinks that too much effort is made in explanation while ignoring the fact that - even if we accept the prevailing meme that the Turkish anchor was attempting to show respect while asking for assistance from the Obama administration - this is the first time of which we are aware that a Turk donned blackface in order to "ask a favor" of an American president.

Whatever. The point is not that culturally "insensitive" (this word is my nominee for most Orwellian double-speak) people exist in other countries; as much has always been the case. But when it is painfully obvious that a leader of a democracy is willing to denigrate and disrespect his own people and their plight in order to increase his own standing, it will be hard for that leader to gin up respect from the rest of the world. As discussed elsewhere, for as much as Barack Obama may be appreciated throughout the world's capitols (as opposed to the U.S., where he has become a polarizing figure), his global poll numbers have not translated into tangible support for his policies, a point that was made recently by Charles Krauthammer. After Obama's "America Sucks" tour through Europe, all he has to show for his effort is the thinly disguised disdain of the world.

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