462 – Bringing the Hurt: 9


While there was much stewing and outrage towards Obama for gifting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his family with such lousy gifts, (even I’ll admit that the Browns way outdid the Obamas with the presents… the Brown kids both got toy helicopters that just happen to sell in the White House gift shop) this most recent bit just puts the icing on the cake.

While Brown gave Obama a penholder made from wood taken from the HMS Gannet, a vessel famous for it’s anti-slavery missions to Africa, commissioning papers for some ship in the Royal Navy that I guess has some special significance in U.S./British relationships throughout the years, and a seven volume biography of Winston Churchill. (First edition, no less!) Obama, who apparently was the only one at the party who believed the “$20 or less” written on the front of his invite, gave Brown a set of 25 classic American movie DVDs.

Now honestly, I don’t mind this. Times is tough all over, and I don’t really want Obama to be spending thousands of dollars on gifts that Brown and his kids are just gonna throw in a closet somewhere and pretend to use whenever our President drops for a visit. But that wasn’t even the real problem. See, the U.S. is what they call “Region 1” in DVD-speak, and Britain is “Region 2.” So when Gordon and his family snuggled up on the sofa to watch some good ol’ classic Amurican movies, all they got were the words “WRONG REGION, PLEASE INSERT ANOTHER DISK” on their TV.

Now that’s classic American.

11 Responses to 462 – Bringing the Hurt: 9

  1. Obviously that post was written before the G20 Summit, at which Barack and Michelle were the belles of the ball. I’m guessing the DVD thing isn’t such a big deal anyway.

    Oh hey, I apparently forgot to mention it when I did it, but anyone voting for HOLE with the convenient “Top 100” button to the left just underneath the books graphic will get to see a sneak preview of the next iteration of Fleece.

  2. They were the “belles of the ball” if you watch only American media. Obama seems to be hated more internationally than Bush was. And that’s a hard thing to swallow.

  3. I don’t think that’s true. I was reading from French and English media, and the Turkish papers are extremely enthusiastic as well. Of course I haven’t seen every paper everywhere, but his reception really has been (nearly) as positive as has been described.

    Now many other governments don’t like his plan for ending the worldwide recession, mostly because he’s asking them to spend money too, and they (rightly or wrongly) feel that the fault belongs to the U.S.. (Most of it does, but certainly not all.) My impression is that these governments are content to sit in a burning house while the neighbor who set the fire tries to put it out with his garden hose… but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

  4. What’s funny to me is that the whole DVD region gaff is exactly the kind of thing people would have expected from Bush. But Bush probably would not have made this gaff at all – he probably would have had an adviser on his staff pick out something cool and symbolic (and expensive, no doubt).

  5. I can imagine how things actually went down. Someone probably, at the last minute, off-handedly asked Obama what he and the First Family had gotten for the Browns. Obama looks surprised. “Shit! I forgot all about the gifts! There’s no time! Quick, grab some stuff from the gift shop!”

    In this tough economy, I’m sure Obama can get a really good personal shopper for cheap. He might want to look into that. 🙂

  6. Hmm, didn’t realise that there WAS a voting button until you pointed it out.

    Comics I read I normally vote for every day that I read them, so you have just got about 5 votes a week extra…

    Just seen the new Fleece, no sign of pom poms though.


  7. Actually, take it from a German here, while moron son Bush jr. and Cheney’s neofascist shadow government (a.k.a. The Project for a New American Century) were detested in Germany (we can spot them when we see them), Obama is well-liked and celebrated as a return to sanity. The rest is politics.

    And in general, Germans forgive politicians a lot of gaffes in their private lives (just as we couldn’t understand all that witchcraze about Bill Clinton’s cheating on his wife) as long as they’re not corrupt or incompetent. Or ultra-rightwing. They’re public clerks, dammit. Provided, we find out about it of course. And then we’re a lot less… volatile than the French, who are much quicker to kick their politicians to the curb publicly when they’re fed up with them. We just take a piss out of them by i.e. putting a statue of a naked Frau Merkel on a Shrove Monday carnival float. (Although the more conservative folks threw a fit and so the owners of the float agreed to remodel the puppet by painting a tiny bikini on.)
    http://www.abendblatt.de/daten/2009/02/18/1054328.html NSFW


    Your blog, Kevin, is the first place I ever heard about this DVD thing. Nothing in the big German news magazines or TV. *shrug* It does sound embarrassing, though. You’d think a president has someone to organize things like that.

    I mean, what do you give, as one elected state-head to another, to a man and his family who can probably buy themselves all they need? British prime ministers don’t get rich, but they can afford toys for their children. (While Blair earned more than Angela Merkel, I’m not sure about Brown, and even for Blair it was less than 300.000 Euro per year, that is if you don’t count Blair’s questionable deals with certain corporations which is where the money is). And while Brown could take refuge in picking something symbolic from Great Britains long history (the pen was a nice idea), let’s face it US-Americans are at a natural disadvantage there. And if you’re representing the former colony, you don’t want to evoke the memory of the War of Independence if the whole meeting is about showing how splendidly your respective countries work together these days. So yeah, difficult.

    Hey, it could have been worse. It could have been a ship full of Earl Grey tea. 😉 “We owe you one.” Heh. (Although I think that tea was already paid for before it arrived in harbour, so… never mind.)

  8. Thanks for that pic, Christina! (Sort of! LOL!)

    The tea idea is hysterical, though it was the tax on the tea that never got paid.

    “Mister Prime Minister, to show our country’s great affection for yours, we would like to present you with this gift certificate to the White House gift shop, in the amount of the taxes owed from the Boston Tea Party… six pound three.”

  9. Don’t forget to add interest. At 3 percent per annum for 234 years, that would multiply the original tax by a little over 1000 times. A rather expensive “late fee”.

  10. “Obama seems to be hated more internationally than Bush was. And that’s a hard thing to swallow.”

    Wrong, at least in french media, which put him and his wife in a very positive light 😉

    “And then we’re a lot less… volatile than the French, who are much quicker to kick their politicians to the curb publicly when they’re fed up with them.”
    Don’t talk to me about it… I spoke with a friend about sarkozy last sunday, and we both noticed how, suddenly, now that people noticed him to be a jerk, everybody bashs him, but almost nobody admits having voted for him. It’s like a good percentage of the population just disappeared ^^
    OTOH, I think this volatile attitude may come from the fact that, having very short term memory (how often have we re-elected corrupt politicians?), we place high hopes in a “new” official, easily trusting their shallow promises, only to be all the more disapointed when he fails to meet these standards.
    And if he completely reneges on his promises, this just get worse. Until we forgot, of course: Despite him being a despised jerk, I think sarkozy has good chances to win in 2012 if he just make some good promises and frightens enough people.

    About the gifts thing, it’s fun, but then, it went completely unnoticed. The zone thing was a great touch, though.