Archive for November, 2009
So Obama botched a bow, beclowning himself before the Japanese emperor.
Ace was the first place I saw this (he’s got video, too), and I got into it in the comments. Me, I see a newby who is trying to do the culturally aware thing but royally screwing it up. But, others took the position that US Presidents, Olympian Heroes that they are, never bow before monarchs. But in Japan, bowing is similar to shaking hands; it doesn’t have the same meaning as bowing to a monarch does in the West, so I am less than outraged; maybe, bemused? (Enough buts yet?)
Then the 1994 NYT article comes out about Clinton slumping – but not bowing! – to the emperor, and I think my goose is cooked.
It wasn’t a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan.
“It was not a bow-bow, if you know what I mean,” said Ambassador Molly Raiser, the chief of protocol.
I bowed my head in shame and submitted to the slings and arrows of outrageous Ace of Spades morons. But then, Instapundit chimes in with another take, this time linking to a HotAir story which linked an ABC story linking a photo of Nixon bowing to the emperor. So, fine, now I think I was right in the first place, BUT I should have said what this guy at ABC said:
“This picture shows two things,” my friend writes.
“1) The ‘right’ is wrong about Obama’s bow.
“2) The ‘left’ is wrong about Obama’s bow.
“His bow is neither (1) unprecedented nor (2) a sign of cultural understanding.
“At their 1971 meeting in Alaska, the first visit of a Japanese Emperor to America, President Nixon bowed and referred to Emperor Hirohito and his wife repeatedly as ‘Your Imperial Majesties.'”
(See that picture HERE.)
“Yet, (and?) Nixon gets the bow right. Slight arch from the waist hands at his side.
“Obama’s handshake/forward lurch was so jarring and inappropriate it recalls Bush’s back-rub of Merkel.
“Kyodo News is running his appropriate and reciprocated nod and shake with the Empress, certainly to show the president as dignified, and not in the form of a first year English teacher trying to impress with Karate Kid-level knowledge of Japanese customs.
“The bow as he performed did not just display weakness in Red State terms, but evoked weakness in Japanese terms….The last thing the Japanese want or need is a weak looking American president and, again, in all ways, he unintentionally played that part.
No, I’m not adding a ‘Miss Manners’ category.
Oh, go on!
Do you have paraskavedekatriaphobia? How silly! As for me, it’s paraskavedekatriafilia all the way.
Wikipedia has an interesting history of this particular phobia, claiming it really only started a couple of centuries ago, and About.com also has a good article on it. Some interesting thoughts from there:
Friday has considered bad luck by some because Jesus was crucified on Friday. 13 has been considered an unlucky number because it comes after 12, an allegedly perfect number, marring it in some way. Apparently, in some places there is a superstition that if 13 people eat together, one of them will die, which may go back to the Last Supper, or to Norse mythology.
But the truth of it all is, no one seems to know why Friday the 13th became considered an unlucky day, and around here, it is like a second Christmas. So Happy Friday the 13th! I hope you’re having a good one! Me? I’m celebrating it in the traditional fashion with friends after work.
Gerard Vanderleun illuminates one facet of what I see in Obama:
Doing “something” in Afghanistan has no possible benefit for either anarchy or Obama. Anything that is “done” – be it sending in more troops or bringing troops out – only increases order and reduces entropy. Decisions, one way or another, direct management solutions. In Afghanistan as it is in America these days increased and directed management of problems decreases chaos and uncertainty. It is not an accident that all of Obama’s domestic agenda involves replacing private sector management with government czars and bureaucracies.
If your inner goal is the destruction of established systems of governance you will seek in increase chaos and uncertainty at every turn. This is exactly what we see in Obama’s personal style of what passes for “governance.” We do not have to intuit this. We need only observe and not deny the evidence of our senses.
Veterans of dysfunctional corporations will recognize the Obama style as the one in which upper management is fond of giving middle management “All the responsibility, none of the authority, and zero resources.” It’s a time-tested recipe for failure and demoralization while maintaining an aloof, “concerned,” and above the fray posture on the part of the CEO. It is what is being done to the US military, day in and day out, in Afghanistan and, as such, works to Obama’s favor as long as it can be done slowly and without alarm.
One of Vanderleun’s commenters who goes by the nom de web ahem offers a link to an American Standard article by Mark Hyman which explores another facet:
The central conviction of Obama’s ideology is that America is guilty of limitless moral failures and is the chief architect of the world’s ills. Obama has boundless enmity for America, its key institutions, and its longtime allies. Consider these facts.
The author then submits Obama’s relationships with Davis, Wright, Ayers, his assistance to Farrakhan, his disregard for key allies, his deference to anti-American leaders, his actions against the CIA, his repeated apologies for various American actions, his radical staff, and much, much more in support of his contention. Despite roughly two pages of examples, he leaves off ties to ACORN, Holder’s dismissal of the Black Panther’s voter intimidation case, intimidation of critics, and more.
I’ve said it elsewhere and now I’ll say it here: The enemy of the Left is always domestic. This is one of the key differences between the Left and the Right. The Right is concerned about foreign enemies, some of whom are here in the US. The Left sees the Right as the enemy in a very real way.