Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, April 2nd, 2009.


Anyone Else Remember the Five Chefs?

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Obama Administration

The Right has worked itself into a frenzy about the alleged outrage of the British public over the Obama visit. The Obamas gave the Queen an iPod! Michelle Obama touched Her Majesty for a couple of seconds! Oh Noez!

Avedon Carol, who actually lives in Britain, says bull. Eric Boehlert notes that all of this outrage seems to be coming from the Times of London, owned by (guess who?) Rupert Murdoch.

I seem to be the only one who remembers the 2003 state visit to Britain by President Bush. Very little about the visit is still online, but I found this:

TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL BUSH. Queen Elizabeth II reportedly was steamed when George W. Bush brought five personal chefs to Buckingham Palace, London’s Daily Telegraph reported. “She’s not thought to be [thrilled] about the whole visit anyway,” a snitch told the Telegraph, “but when you consider that she has excellent cooks herself, you can see why this would be taken as a bit of an insult.” Then it got worse, according to the Nov. 23 Daily Mirror: “The Queen is furious with Bush after his state visit caused thousands of pounds of damage to her gardens at Buckingham Palace … Palace staff said they had never seen the Queen so angry as when she saw how her perfectly-maintained lawns had been churned up after being turned into helipads with three giant H landing markings for the Bush visit. The rotors of the Marine Force One helicopter and 2 support Black Hawks damaged trees and shrubs that had survived since Queen Victoria’s reign. And Bush’s army of clod-hopping security service men trampled more precious and exotic plants.”

Here are some old posts from the Mahablog archives:

Travels With George (November 18, 2003)

Heavy Fish (November 22, 2003)

At the time, many still were hoping against hope that George W. Bush was a real POTUS. When he behaved badly, everyone pretended not to notice. So George W. Bush could be a five-alarm boor and trash the Queen’s plants, and it was all politely swept under the rug.

How times have changed. Leslie Savan writes at The Nation,

The real question about how Barack and Michelle Obama are being received on their Rolling-G-20-Summit/Euro-Tour ’09 has nothing to do with how the Europeans treat them, but all about the American mainstream media itself: What infinitesimal nit will they find to pick about the new president’s conduct abroad that can be blown up into a two- to three-day pseudo-international incident? …

… Turns out the Queen requested the video iPod the president gave her, and he filled it with footage of her American visits and 40 showtunes; he also presented her with a rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers, the Broadway composer who wrote one of the Queen’s fave musicals, “Oklahoma!” But that won’t stop the piss-ant dramas. When Gift-gate turned out to be just another murder of Vince Foster, some of the same folks started getting the vapors over Michelle patting the Queen’s shoulders during their meet’n’greet. Nobody “touches” the Queen, for chrissakes, they mooned–at least, until Buckingham Palace put out word that there was no violation of protocol, and the Queen thought Michelle was expressing a very natural “affection,” which she shares.

Also: In his last year in office, Bush still didn’t know what the G20 was.

Oh, yes, the G20. Heads of state form around the world are discussing the future of the global economy, but there must be 20 times the news coverage of the Royal iPod than about, you know, real stuff.

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