Friday, October 24, 2008

God Help Us!

I can see the self-empowerment embassy dinners now. Oh, and the book club, I almost forgot about the European book club.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmn...Obama's potential appointment to the Court of St. James (Oprah or Caroline Kennedy) sounds all too familiar...

"When Walter H. Annenberg was appointed by Richard Nixon to be the ambassador to Great Britain in 1969 his principal qualifications for the job seemed to the fact that he had contributed to Nixon’s re-election campaign and was a member of the Palm Springs set. He was singularly unqualified to represent his country at the Court of St James’s an ancient institution steeped in tradition.

"Annenberg was not big on protocol. When he presented his credentials to the Queen he supposedly made every gaffe in the book despite having been closely instructed on what to do and what not to do. The occasion is captured deliciously by Gore Vidal in an essay in the New York Review of Books engagingly titled "Ambassador erect". It would not be the last time Annenberg would be skewered in print. When Annenberg passed away in 2002 at the age of 94 Jack Shafer’s obituary in Slate magazine ("Citizen Annenberg: So long you rotten bastard") was a vicious condemnation of Annenberg and all his works. This despite Annenberg’s record in later life as one of the most generous of philanthropists.

"The rank of ambassador was first used by the United States in 1893. Of the 33 appointees to the position of US Ambassador to Great Britain since then only a handful were career diplomats, the others having been public servants, political functionaries of varying distinction or, like Annenberg, prominent businessmen who may have helped the party in power. Most have been forgettable. Cast in the same mold as Annenberg was Joseph P. Kennedy, ambassador from 1938-1940, a crucial period in the history of Great Britain and the world.

"Kennedy wanted the job in the worst way for his own reasons. James Roosevelt the president’s son, who was somewhat beholden to Kennedy, broached the matter with his father. When FDR heard of Kennedy’s request he supposedly laughed uproariously. Roosevelt apparently thought it a rich joke indeed that Joe Kennedy would aspire to be the first Irish-American ambassador to Britain and dismissed the idea out of hand. But he was subsequently to change his mind with important consequences for Anglo-American relations at a critical time in history.

"Like Annenberg, Kennedy was ill-suited by experience and background for the excruciating pomp and circumstance of the London appointment. First of all his associations with the mob and bootlegging during Prohibition were scarcely promising recommendations. Moreover, FDR thought it a huge joke to impose an Irish-American on the British. But he also welcomed the opportunity to get Kennedy out of the way and safe from any mischief he might generate in the 1940 presidential election. The thought that this might be an important appointment at a critical point in history does not seem to have been a consideration.

"While Kennedy was dickering with FDR over his appointment an apocryphal tale has the pair of them at a meeting in the Oval Office at which FDR ordered Kennedy to drop his pants. Kennedy supposedly complied and FDR immediately assured him he was the most bow-legged man he had ever seen. He would have to wear knee-breeches and silk stockings when presenting his credentials to the king. When photos subsequently appeared in the press, FDR went on, America would be held to ridicule across the world. Hence, he concluded, Joe was not the right man for the job.

"But Joe did an end run around the president. Through his connections at the British Embassy he requested and received from the Brits permission to appear before the king wearing a cutaway coat and striped pants. Despite misgivings FDR eventually capitulated and Kennedy received his appointment.

"The Kennedy’s cut a wide swath across the London of 1938 existing in a surreal world of glittering society cheek by jowl with some of the most abject poverty anywhere in the developed world as the storm clouds of war gathered in Europe.

"Rejected by the Wasps of East Boston the Kennedy’s were nevertheless embraced by London society and royalty. The Kennedy daughters, Kathleen, Eunice and Rosemary were at various times presented at court. The Kennedy’s socialized with the Astors among many others and became part of the Clivedon set. Jack Kennedy and his elder brother Joe womanized with alacrity and great success as Jack continued to do throughout his life. The ambassador was a close friend of both prime minister Neville Chamberlain and his foreign secretary Viscount Halifax. The Kennedy’s in London in other words were a great success. Aside, that is from the fact that the ambassador backed the wrong horse when war eventually broke out.

"Joseph Kennedy’s political reputation was damaged beyond recall after his stint as ambassador because of what was and is widely perceived as his isolationist and defeatist stance. Kennedy was convinced that Germany would win the war. At the start of the Blitz he predicted that Hitler would be in Buckingham Palace within six weeks. It was not a position that especially endeared him to Winston Churchill in the summer and fall of 1940 when the fate of the nation and the world hung in the balance.

"In "The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm" Will Swift presents a revisionist history of the Kennedy ambassadorship, highlighting the good things that Kennedy did along with his defeatism. He is only partially successful. But at the same time he brings to life an aspect of pre-war London that was previously hidden from view and opens up a period in the life of the Kennedy family that is in stark contrast with their contemporary public image.

"Churchill’s war strategy was based on bringing in the United States at the earliest possible opportunity. Kennedy’s isolationist position was a hindrance although he was scarcely influential with FDR who repeatedly humiliated, ignored and sidetracked his ambassador. Eventually Kennedy had had enough and tendered his resignation. But not before Roosevelt was safely installed in the White House for an unprecedented third term.

"Richard Payne is a research laboratory manager and a longtime resident of Sudbury."

Funny too how Annenburg is (in this election cycle) considered a great guy by the Left. Must be the way Bill Ayers directed Annenburg's foundation money to fund the quirky projects of his buddies....

C.S. Perry said...

Well…I’ve consulted the Ouija Board on this one, just to see how True it might be.
And, wouldn’t you know it? It’s a little wide of the mark.
Oprah will be appointed but she will be seriously injured in bowling accident shortly after her appointment. But, thanks to the miracle of prosthetics, she’ll still hope to carry on.
Then…after exposure to dangerous radiation she encounters on a no-holds-barred trip to the middle east… her medical attachments will mutate and cause her to grow to (even more) enormous proportions.
In her enlarged and enraged state, she will terrorize Chicago, LA, New York and, of course, Tokyo.
Obama will be forced to beg President McCain to take action and dispatch the military.
“The Oprah” will escape to a secret lair on a skull-shaped island in the South Seas and brood over her future Evils.
She will return five years later with the new moniker “Eater of Worlds.”
Then, she’ll choke to death on the bodies of Bill Maher and Al Franken who she will attempt to consume simultaneously in a Douchenozzle Sandwich.

FLG said...

I can't wait for the movie version of her world eating exploits.

C.S. Perry said...

I’ve heard that there’s already a script in the works and that Oliver Stone was attached to direct but he has since fallen out due to impending drug and white slavery charges against him in Argentina.
A brief rumor in the trades mentioned Michael Moore’s name but the producers decided that the picture had enough douchebags involved already.
In fact…the title of the film has been changed several times. To wit:
“The Oprah.”
“It Came From the Land of Lincoln.”
“Bring Me Another Slice of Pie, DAMMIT!”
“20,000 Leagues Under the Chins”
“The Behemoth Strikes Back!”
“I was a Teen-Age Douchebag”
“Those People”
“The Attack of NEGROPOTUS”
And finally

“Douche Troup Sings!”

 
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