Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Look! A Gift for Horsemouth!

All this bellyaching about the trinkets exchanged between the White House and foreign dignitaries strikes me as silly. The president is said to have given British PM Gordon Brown a box set of American films on DVD which are not even compatible with UK disc players. Where, oh, where is the Prime Minister of England ever going to find a Region 1 DVD player? I suppose the president expects Brown to fly to the US every time he wants to see Raging Bull. What a lout!

Of course, it's not the usefulness of the gift that raises hackles, it's the perceived frivolity. The Queen just got an iPod, when reports are that she already has one. What's not being honored here, we are told, is the special relationship between our two countries. Maybe Germany deserves DVDs. They could use an extra copy of Schindler's List. The Queen should get a device which emits a high-frequency signal directing every quail within a fitfy-mile radius to fly into a large sack.

I want to suggest that modest gifts make a defensible statement about austerity in lean times. I'm also interested in what it says about how we commune more and more digitally as we move into the 21st Century. But if the White House sends Hugo Chavez a solid gold bust, I'm going to have my doubts.


  1. I have a similar post at my blog
    Even funnier