This past week the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown and family, called on the Obamas in a state visit. They brought impressive gifts, including a pen set in a box made of wood from the HMS Gannet, a 19th century anti-slave British warship, a multi-volume biography on the life of Sir Winston Churchill, and some excellent dresses for the little girls. The Obamas reciprocated by giving gifts of their own. The PM's two sons scored a couple of cheap plastic models of the presidential helicopter. The Prime Minister and his wife received a boxed set of DVDs of famous American movies. I'm not sure, but I think they included "Scooby-Doo, the Movie," "Porky's" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." When you're trying to impress major heads of state, you may as well go all out.
However, what films the collection included is a moot point. As Mark Steyn pointed out at National Review Online, American made DVDs don't even play in British DVD players as they are a different format. But it's the thought that counts. Or in this case, the utter lack of same.
Some people have said the Obamas are "Welcome Back Carter," implying that our new socialist president is very similar to our old socialist president, Jimmy Carter. I remember when the Queen and Queen Mother visited the Carters, Jimmy kissed the Queen Mum on the lips, the only man to do so since her late husband was alive. She wasn't impressed. Personally, I think his slipping her some tongue was just too over the top. And making that loud sucking and popping sound was a bit gross. Think of the sound Bugs Bunny makes when he kisses Elmer Fudd on the lips. Or a bathroom plunger suctioned onto the floor and pulled off by brute force.
And calling people to dinner by yelling "Sooey, Sooey!" That failed to impress as well. The Obamas aren't quite that uncouth. Give them time. They're new.
The next time the Brits want to give deeply meaningful gifts to classless and unappreciative rubes, perhaps they would do better to simply buy them a gift coupon from Wal Mart instead. Not to exceed $50.
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