November 14, 2009

Obama is bowing again.

This time to the Japanese emperor.



Power Line says:
Obama's breach of protocol is of a piece with the substance of his foreign policy.
Breach of protocol? Obama is establishing the protocol here. It is what he intentionally does, I would think. But it is fair to tie the gesture to Obama's general message:
He means to teach Americans to bow before monarchs. He embodies the ideological multiculturalism that sets the United States on the same plane as other regimes based on tribal privilege and royal bloodlines. He gives expressive form to the idea that the United States now willingly prostrates itself before the rest of the world. He declares that the United States is a country like any other, only worse, because we have so much for which to apologize.
That's rather exaggerated. To bow is not to prostrate yourself. Prostration looks like this:



The image of prostration is a religious one — and it is closely, though not entirely, associated with Islam. Did Power Line intend that association?

Bowing is a more modest gesture of greeting and respect, more like the American handshake. If a foreign emissary shakes hands in our country, I don't see the problem with our President bowing in a country where bowing is conventional. The question is whether he bows to a potentate who does not bow to him. Emperor Akihito did not bow to Obama, did he? And Obama did that extra-low bow, not that Japanese businessman thing or... oh, hell, what do I know of the details of Japanese bowing?! Here, it's a little complicated, but you'll be able to figure out exactly what sort of bow Obama did and what, perhaps, he ought to be doing....

209 comments:

1 – 200 of 209   Newer›   Newest»
DADvocate said...

Barack is making a fool of himself in front of foreign leaders. They know it and like it.

How long till the majority of Americans realize Barack is a fool?

Triangle Man said...

You call that prostration? A feeble half measure compared to the Roman Catholic version. Definitely not a bow.

pm317 said...

Did you notice the difference in his bow for the king (deep and deeper) and the queen (not so much). I hate cultures that don't respect women equally if not more. Obama comes from that culture (sic).

David said...

This drives me up the wall. The Administration thinks that they're making a point about (non-)arrogance, but they're really making a point about how dumb they are.

First, Americans shouldn't bow to foreign princes and potentates. We should politely nod as equals do (including in Japan).

Second, regardless of what Americans generally should do, he's the head of state. He is, even as a matter of mere protocol, the equal of Elizabeth, or Abdullah, or Whats-his-face, the Japanese Emperor -- all of whom owe their throne to us.

Bowing in this situation doesn't show respect, it shows either ignorance or a psychologically peculiar need to abase himself.

miller said...

So the President bowed to a foreign leader to show obeisance and submission?

How is this surprising or news?

Next up: MC President apologizes for winning WWII.

Rialby said...

Obama will do anything to distance himself from Bush and Cheney even if it takes things to the other extreme. So much for nuance.

Bissage said...

Gee, I dunno.

What's with all the hubbub?

Things could be a lot worse.

Triangle Man said...

Reagan did not bow to Hilrohito (as far as I recall). There was some brouhaha when Bush Sr. went to a shrine in Japan, and a mosque somewhere else. How did Clinton handle this?

For me it doesn't matter because bowing has no meaning here (except "bow to your sensei"). The US projects power with a carrier battle group, not by ignoring the customs of archaic impotentates.

bearbee said...

Wussy spine syndrome

traditionalguy said...

The body attitude of lowering one's head before another's head level is an acknowledgment of being a servant under the other's power. In the context of meeting with a religious representative it is what we call worship of that representatives god. Obama cannot help his Kenyan heritage showing when he leaves the USA melieu. Kenyans instinctively bow to the Strong Man we used to call a devine right King. We did too until that unpleasantness lead by a George Washington type commander who became President and ended the rule by kings here at Yorktowne follwed by stubborn and uneducated George refusing to reign as a strong man king with his Officers as his new aristocracy. Obama has his sights set upon a major raise and rebuild project to all these traditions we call American that we have taken for granted since 1789. He just wants those traditions to be redistributed everywhere George Soros, not George Washington wants them. And the Czars and the Democrat Party are eager to be our new aristocracy. I fear that Alaskan are dumb and out of the loop on this brave New World.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Well I confess you've got me here. I was pretty offended by O's bow to Abdullah, but bowing to Akihito just seems like good manners. I cannot mount any rational defense for this, so my head will explode in five, four, three, two...

EDH said...

To bow is not to prostrate yourself.

"Never take your eyes off your opponent, even when you bow."

Paddy O. said...

I would have liked to see the one knee bow. It would have added some great soap opera to think that Obama violated the ninja code by falling in love. That would make a great movie!

I'm really glad we didn't see the Dogeza bow, not yet at least. Obama admitting he had been caught red handed in an orgy of evil just would provide blog fodder for all the haters out there.

What's the proper obeisance for a libtard pirate?

LoafingOaf said...

This is just another in the long line of manufactured controversies our two major parties pull on each other to get the public obsessing on stupid shit. MEanwhile, our two major parties have almost destroyed the U.S. economy.

bearbee said...

Days Until Obama Leaves Office

Balfegor said...

I think it's entirely proper to bow to the Emperor. Whether you like it or not, he's a sovereign in himself. The American President, on the other hand, is merely the temporary representative of a sovereign people. And why should the Emperor bow to the President?

That said, I don't think his bow to the Emperor is really an ordinary bow. As a man who bows in his everyday life, as a matter of habit, I think he's doing it wrong. You don't shake hands and do a deep bow like that. If you combine with shaking hands, you should at most do a shallow bow -- incline the upper body a few degrees (10? 15?), and perhaps duck the head down a bit. You usually don't shake hands when you do a deep bow like that. And if you're going to show appropriate respect for the person of the Emperor, don't go touching him. I'm pretty sure that's lese majeste.

LoafingOaf said...

Rialby said...
Obama will do anything to distance himself from Bush and Cheney...

As America wanted him to do when a majority voted for him.

...even if it takes things to the other extreme.

You call THAT extreme? Looks like he's just trying to be polite, to me.

Balfegor said...

Incidentally, as I look at the picture more closely, I think the Emperor is bowing slightly. But he's doing a normal handshake-bow, not whatever Obama's trying to do.

Balfegor said...

Not really related question -- when did double-breasted suits become the uniform of royalty? They all seem to wear them.

pm317 said...

Watch how another American greets Japanese royalty? at around 5:20..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wqRTobkPHQ

Seneca the Younger said...

Balfegor, it's not that it's improper to bow to the Mikado. There I think the rightosphere is getting a little overheated. Note that the mikado is bowing too — about 10 degrees. If Obama had failed to return the bow, it would have been very bad protocol, a little like (say, hypothetically) if Bush were to refuse to call the Pope "His Holiness" and instead referred to him as "the Papist satrap".

But what Obama is doing is the sort of bow a Japanese commoner would make to the Mikado; indicating deep respect and reverence (not necessarily apology.) It's not what another head of state does.

Irene said...

I was reading this thread when one of my friends asked my to join the Facebook Cause, "Join The Fight To Stop Dishonoring The President."

Time to clean the keyboard!

Eugene said...

Compare and contrast: President Hu Jintao shakes hands with Emperor Akihito.

Andrea said...

Obama is dumb!

And/or his advisors are. Seriously, I thought Americans knew something about Japanese culture by now. Is the average anime fan smarter than the people in our government? (I know -- rhetorical question.) Anyway, the bow and its different permutations is central to Japanese culture -- it's not "just being polite" for the PUSA to bow so low to the Emperor of Japan -- who holds his throne only because we let his father keep it, I might add -- that he isn't looking at him. It's showing that Obama is of lesser rank than the Emperor. Incidentally, Balfegor -- while the Japanese might believe that a monarch-for-life is of higher rank than a "mere" representative of a sovereign people, that's no reason why we should believe that.

Which brings me to another thing -- as our representative, Obama has the responsibility to not lower our dignity in the face of other nations. So far he's been failing at this across the board. The Japanese emperor and his wife look like a nice couple, but I refuse to consider myself or any other American citizen to be of lower rank than them. (Cue sputtering from the Obamadroids on the list on how they don't feel any loss of dignity; well of course you don't, you never have any dignity to begin with.)

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Oh no! Japanese leaders are making fools of themselves by shaking hands with Western leaders and no longer wearing traditional garb. They know it and like it!

How long till the majority of the GOP realizes that emulating the Showa period of nationalist resurgence is foolish?

Learn your history, Tea Partiers. Don't forsake the Meiji period. Also, Japan is keen on removing an American troop presence. Why you want to assert American nationalism while insisting that we're not doing enough to offend the same sovereign Japanese who have been so kind as to allow our troops to be stationed there for decades after we bombed them into pacifism and two of their cities into oblivion is beyond me. I guess I'll just have to take a stupid pill to get that one.

You guys make a mockery of historical literacy. There is nothing wrong with treating foreign dignitaries respectfully in the manner in which their own culture understands respect. Might make us less likely to be on the receiving end of global enmity and an atomic bomb but hey, that's something you guys can wiggle out of explaining to the public.

former law student said...

I'm going to say Obama bowed because Akihito's a pretty old dude compared to Obama, and respect for age is big in Asia. Note Akihito performed that peculiarly Western handshake ritual. Asians are not big on touching each other.

Reagan did not bow to Hilrohito (as far as I recall).

Hirohito was only ten years older than Reagan. But, who was Reagan's etiquette advisor?

prairie wind said...

Americans don't bow to royalty. Learn a little history, will you? When O bowed to the Saudi king, I thought perhaps he was just an idiot without a protocol office. But surely that office is filled by now and someone understands what he should be doing. I'd like to know what the protocol officers' reaction is to the bowing and scraping.

Seneca the Younger said...

Good pickup pm317, thanks, I was just thinking I should look for other examples. I'm pretty sure Obama shouldn't have kissed the Mikado on both cheeks, though.

prairie wind said...

He treats royalty as someone above him, and he treats a piece of shit like khalid sheikh mohammed as if he were an American citizens.

Fred4Pres said...

Is this Emperor related to the one who came out of the hills to sign the peace treaty on the deck of the USS Battleship Missouri? Which of course never happened except in Barack Obama's own personal alternative bizzaro history of WWII.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I don't care if someone criticizes Obama for bowing insofar as they are able to comprehend the significance it would have had on Japanese culture and diplomacy. But to equate this with American revolutionary ideals and the end in Europe and Western culture to the divine right of kings is pretty fucking dumb.

Seneca the Younger said...

Ritmo, baka na.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Loafing Oaf...Is it true that Hirohito is not a king nor a head of state, but is rather a Sun God incarnate that owns all of the Japanese race as his special people with which to rule the earth? If not, then this is all a made up incident with no meaning. But what if that is true? Should we iqnore it? Over at instapundit there is the story about the Emperor's plans to use biological plague war upon NYC and San Francisco with special submarine aircraft carriers. It would have worked since it was well tested upon American POWs and the Subs had been specially designed for that mission in 1942. Only the dogged determination to take Iwo Jima and Okinawa beat them to the punch. At Okinawa Hirohoto sent 1200 suicide bombers mixed with 3000 fighters that killed 10,000 Amercan sailors in 30 days. He even sent the world's largest battleship on a one way suicide mission there. Fortunately we had a Dumb as rocks Missouri hick named Truman as our totally unqualified President and he had the guts and character to do the right thing to protect the USA.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Omae wa empitsu no oki san chin-chin, Seneca the Blunder.

Windbag said...

Obama was wrong to have done this, whether it was intentional, trying to signal remorse for the past "sins" of the United States, or if it was unintentional, demonstrating just how clueless and amateur this administration is.

David said...

Althouse, you are correct that it is not a breach of protocol because Obama sets the protocol. But it is a striking change in protocol. As I understand it, American Presidents log ago established that they would not bow to monarchs or other heads of state.

This protocol comes directly from the revolution, and the rejection of monarchical trappings in the Constitution. The change is disconcerting, even if Obama believes that it sends an important message of respect. It sends another message, about so called American Exceptionalism.

Obama's message is that we Americans are not exceptional, that we will bow before others as a symbol or our ordinariness, that as President he will not symbolize American superiority, because Americans are not innately superior.

In one sense that is true. There is nothing intrinsically superior about Americans as people. We are human and fallible like everyone else.

But it also conveys that there is nothing superior about out system, our 200+ years of democratic government and our openness to people of all nations. It is disconcerting to see Obama, our first black president, send this message to the head of state of one of the most racially exclusive nations in the world.

[This is from the other David, or the first David. Whatever}

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

... o moteru!

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

wv: ingli

;-)

Eugene said...

Hamid Karzai meets Emperor Akihito. Putin meets Emperor Akihito. Karzai gets it exactly right.

Paul said...

What do expect from a schmuck who thinks America is the source of all the world's ills? Of course he'll go about bowing and scraping and apologizing. The fucking traitorous worm.....

The good thing is he is awakening the sleeping giant that is patriotic normal America and the inevitable backlash against him and his neocoms will serve as the huge national enema we've sorely need for decades.

pm317 said...

It is all about the "audacity, baby!" Audacity to do what he pleases (get away with it and by golly, he has been successful in getting away with it so far). But democracy does not necessarily tolerate such attitude for long and I wonder when it will come back to bite him.

Seneca, right. I would not expect him to hug and kiss the queen on both cheeks but should he not behave as though he is an equal.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

How long have people been waiting to hear "Karzai gets it exactly right"!

One thing you can say about the leader of Afghanistan, at least he understands the fashion and protocol aspects of diplomacy if nothing else.

Father Martin Fox said...

I see the President's defenders say, "oh, what's the big deal?"

A few days ago, the President laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. As far as I know, he comported himself with dignity as one would expect. But if he'd checked his fingernails or picked his nose...what's the big deal?

It's a case of respect--and in this case, self-respect. He's not there as a private citizen; if he were, no one would care much what he did.

What do you suppose the remaining allied veterans from World War II think when they see the President of the United States bowing profoundly to the Emperor of Japan?

Finally, for those defending Mr. Obama--you think this'll be an issue in the next election? One time, easy to dismiss; twice? Plus the apology tour?

I can't believe there aren't Democratic advisors tearing their hair out over the Administration giving the opposition some very useful things to create a narrative.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You know, personally, I'm sick of people saying that America ever gets anything wrong. The president, that's a different story. But America itself is an error-free construction. If it happened in America, by definition it is perfect. If it is related to America, it is perfect. Including President Obama's acts while in office. Including Nixon's acts while in office. Including blah blah blah.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I can't wait for the weather to get better.

But it's America so maybe the sun's really shining through the cloud cover.

former law student said...

Hey, didn't GHW Bush throw up on the Emperor? Maybe Obama's trying to make up for that little incident.

traditionalguy said...

Hey Ritmo...Delta is ready when you are.

Quayle said...

And if I call you Rabbi, know ye by this that I too want to be called Rabbi.

And if I bow to you, know ye by this that I too want to be bowed to.

Seneca the Younger said...

Asians are not big on touching each other.

Actually, the Japanese have adopted handshaking wholeheartedly. With a bow.

And see Hu Jintao meeting Akihito.

Paul said...

Yeah Ritmo go fuck yourself. Don't let the door hit ya.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Is Delta ready for Gordon Wood, too?

You know what Newt Gingrich had to say about Gordon Wood's work, don't you TG? After all, his review is published on Amazon (an un-American name if ever I heard one). If not, I suggest you offer him and Wood a flight out of Dodge, pronto!

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I'm sure the door won't hit me as I fuck myself, Paul. I never tried those autoerotic asphyxiation techniques that you're so fond of, much less while hanging from a doorway.

edutcher said...

prairie wind said...

Americans don't bow to royalty. Learn a little history, will you?

Damned straight. MacArthur didn't bow, Reagan didn't bow, and I doubt Perry did.

David said...

Althouse, you are correct that it is not a breach of protocol because Obama sets the protocol. But it is a striking change in protocol. As I understand it, American Presidents log ago established that they would not bow to monarchs or other heads of state.

Nonsense. There is a Chief of Protocol for determining such things, although I don't doubt the Community Disorganizer has replaced him/her with a stooge from ACORN or its wholly owned subsidiary, SEIU. Ann's wrong on this one.

Michael E. Lopez said...

I don't have a problem with Barack Obama the man deciding he wants to vary from traditional American protocol and bow to the Emperor... Whatever.

But he's the President, and he's now pulled the rug out from his constituency. If, say, I were to meet the Emperor, and I were to choose NOT to bow, the Emperor could properly argue, "But your chosen leader bows to me, so you should, too." In a milieu of ceremony and perception, such arguments, even if implicit, carry a lot of power.

So then I'm stuck in a position where I have to choose between showing solidarity with my elected leader in front of a foreign leader or debasing myself in a decidedly undemocratic, unamerican fashion.

It's a no-win scenario, and I am (and all other Americans are) now stuck in it because my President decided to abandon what he must know is traditional American attitudes towards monarchy and instead indulge his personal tastes for the cult of aristocracy and what he sees as polity.

And putting me -- and everyone else in the country -- in that situation is just rude.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I quote Gordon S. Wood, for the benefit of those whose ignorance of America blinds them to the harm they do to it:

A new generation of democratic Americans was no longer interested in the revolutionaries' dream of building a classical republic of elitist virtue out of the inherited materials of the Old World. America, they said, would find its greatness not by emulating the states of classical antiquity, not by copying the fiscal-military powers of modern Europe, and not by producing a few notable geniuses and great-souled men. Instead, it would discover its greatness by creating a prosperous free society belonging to obscure people with their workaday concerns and their pecuniary pursuits of happiness--common people with their common interests in making money and getting ahead. No doubt the cost that America paid for this democracy was high--with its vulgarity, its materialism, its rootlesness, its anti-intellectualism. But there is no denying the wonder of it and the real earthly benefits it brought to the hitherto neglected and despised masses of common laboring people. The American Revolution created this democracy, and we are living with its consequences still.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Ritmo Brasileiro--

Just a couple of tips. I think they just might improve your troll credentials a tad.

1) Don't go so far over the top. It is better if you can subtly plant discord and then sit back and watch it grow.

2) Pick positions that are at least a little defensible. Otherwise your arguments die aborning.

3) Design your comments to attract at least one ally. That way you don't have to support your assholery all by yourself.

You don't have to thank me. I'm just trying to improve the general tone around here.

Paul said...

"Gordon Wood is the favorite historian of America's liberal establishment. His essays appear regularly in the New York Review of Books and the New Republic, and liberalism's leading intellectuals—from Michael Sandel to Morton Horwitz to Bruce Ackerman to Cass Sunstein—regularly cite him with approbation. What virtues do they see in his work? In Wood's books, particularly his Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, they see a hammer with which to bash American individualism and capitalism, and to support an ever-growing administrative state."

Yeah Ritmo. Fuck him too. You're both free to take your contempt for this country to more hospitable climes.

Jon said...

The NYT in 1994, describing how Clinton almost made the "unthinkable" error of bowing to Akihito:

"It wasn't a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan."

(...)

"Administration officials scurried to insist that the eager-to-please President had not really done the unthinkable."

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/19/weekinreview/the-world-the-president-s-inclination-no-it-wasn-t-a-bow-bow.html

LarsPorsena said...

He can bow but can he grovel?
I betting he can and will.

Balfegor said...

But what Obama is doing is the sort of bow a Japanese commoner would make to the Mikado; indicating deep respect and reverence (not necessarily apology.)

Yes, um. No. A Japanese commoner would not make that kind of bow to the Emperor. Why would a commoner be shaking hands with the Emperor? I'm not sure of the protocol for a private audience with the Emperor, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve touching the Imperial person at any point.

As people above have pointed out, Karzai's half bow is appropriate in this context, because it's how Japanese shake hands nowadays.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"troll credentials"? What's that even supposed to mean? And why are you offering me tips in Alinsky-ism for conservatives, Tyrone? If the arguments are not defensible, then go ahead and attack them. No one has.

I'm here for the ideas and for the arguments in themselves. Not to build a movement. Sorry.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Fuck Gordon Wood. I see. That's what it's come to in Paul's world.

But hey, if you're going to quote someone, at least source the attribution. Like this.

And besides, I was talking about Newt Gingrich, not Wood himself. Try reading the link.

Seneca the Younger said...

I don't care if someone criticizes Obama for bowing insofar as they are able to comprehend the significance it would have had on Japanese culture and diplomacy.

okay, 'baka' was probably overstrong. Yame da. Yahari gaijin da.

DCPI said...

Reagan met Hiroto with a good-ol' American handshake. Based on the smiles, Hirohito did not seem to mind.

Invisible Man said...

But he's the President, and he's now pulled the rug out from his constituency. If, say, I were to meet the Emperor, and I were to choose NOT to bow, the Emperor could properly argue, "But your chosen leader bows to me, so you should, too." In a milieu of ceremony and perception, such arguments, even if implicit, carry a lot of power.

Yes, the fact that our President bowed before the Japanese Emporer OBVIOUSLY means that we submit to their rule. I look forward to our conversion to Yen by 2012.

And the Republican freakout continues. This is going to be a looooonnng seven years.

ricpic said...

Another giant fuck you, America, from the alien.

Balfegor said...

Actually, the Japanese have adopted handshaking wholeheartedly. With a bow.

The Emperor is not like other people. There's an historical taboo about touching the Imperial person. I think it's still active -- when I search for 天皇と握手 (Handshake with Emperor), the only early result I can see discussing Japanese people shaking hands with the Emperor is a bunch of people who want to shake hands and follow it up by screaming for the abolition of the Imperial system. All the rest are foreigners, mostly heads of state or prize winners, etc. And here's one of those Yahoo Q&A things, where the "best answer" makes clear that it's a breach of propriety for a commoner to shake hands with the Emperor, but he'll shake hands graciously with a child who doesn't know any better.

Paul said...

That's right Ritmo. I despise all anti-Americans like yourself and Gordon Woods. What makes you think I care about Newt Gingrich either? I'm not a slave and sycophant as you left wingers all seem to be, getting cricks in your necks kissing the arses of your superiors. That's the difference between free men with self respect and leeches like you who need to attach yourself to some authority figure to attain a sense of legitimacy.

Shahid said...

Obama's bows to both the Abdullah and Akihito are bows of a liege to his lord, or the bows of the apologetic.

To Akihito, if he is going to give the bow of greeting, he bows slightly (no more than 35%) and keeps his eyes on Akihito's. And, as the equal of Akihito, another head of state, he doesn't bow any further than Akihito does. (It doesn't matter that the President is a temporary position.) To a Japanese looking on, this doesn't look like Obama trying to respect their customs, it looks like Obama being clueless at best, or expressing an unnecessary level of deference at worst.

The Abdullah case was even weirder. In Islam, the Quran enjoins a Muslim from bowing to any other. (The bows are owed only to God. Allah just means God with a capital G in Arabic.) A slave may bow to his master, but Islam requires a slave accepting Islam be freed. A subject may bow to his King, but that a contra-Quranic custom. The President is not a subject of the King.

So, in both cases, we have Obama creating a new protocol, but it's an "Obama" protocol, created out of some vague notion that there is bowing in the culture, and failing to appreciate the finer points. It sounds to me less like a new protocol than a protocol breach.

Darcy said...

Fun to watch, ain't it?

Someone I know keeps assuring me that this man will be reviled and laughed at more than Carter. I believe him. He's just too stupid for words.

Learn anything from the first bowing episode, Barry? Uh...no.

Balfegor said...

Seneca, Ritmo: 日本語で書くんなら真面目にしろ。何だ、そのローマ字は?まったく!

Andrea said...

I was going to point out to the Ritmo Brasileiro troll that the two cities we "bombed to oblivion" in Japan (for no reason but sheer meanness, apparently) are rebuilt and thriving, and also a couple of other things -- but I had a notion and clicked on his profile link and of course he's the same tiresome troll who used to call himself Brazilian Sambo Jungle Bunny or something like that, so I'm not going to bother.

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo...Your quote of Gordon Wood @ 11:35 is a perfect position to take against the traditonal American experiment. Good job. Have you been here from England long? The academy award movie The Unforgiven had a character called English Bob that suits you to a tee. Yes, we are uncivilised and wallow in the mire of democratic elections. You have that right. Too bad you guys lost in 1783. We could have been passive Englishmen serving true aristocrats as we deserve to, like all the Kenyan tribes did until a stroger man named Kenyatta beat your pretended authority derived from the English version of Roman Empire. It must be hard to be a Ceasar trapped in an American world that refuses to bow to slave masters.You can flee to Ontario along with Obama soon.

William said...

His bow will play better in Japan than it does here....It's not the depth of the bow, it's what you're bowing to that matters. I was more offended when he listened politely to a lengthy, anti-American diatribe by that child molesting, piece of shit from Nicaragua.

Joan said...

That how-to video is all kinds of awesome. Both the captions and the actor display a sense of humor that I did not expect, making it all the more delightful.

Obama looks like an idiot. If you're going to do a deep bow, you oughtn't shake hands. If you're shaking hands, a shallow bow/inclination of head and shoulders is OK.

My theory is that Obama has protocol advisers that he routinely ignores, so he ends up looking foolish. If GWB did this, the NYT et al would be howling over his gauche ignorance of appropriate behavior for days. This is especially troubling after all the kerfuffle when O bowed to the Saudi king. Is O just an absent-minded professor? Does he not care or not understand that he's in a fishbowl and everyone parses every tiny thing he does?

jag said...

Obama sees his role on the world stage as similar to that of a Pope. Pope John Paul II did his famous "kissing the soil" of each host country b/c, in part, he was positioning himself as servant leader of the entire world. Obama's irritating habit of bowing is, I think, a version of this.

reader_iam said...

Bush I barfed on the prime minister, not the emperor.

Paul said...

And since you are so eager to cite Gingrich as an authority here's an article entitled, "The Job Killing President and Congress". Or is he only an acceptable point of reference if you can somehow use him for your agitprop?

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/The-job-killing-president-and-Congress-8523375-69906672.html

Darcy said...

Oh, really...a Bush got very ill and barfed. Haha, so funny. Does it compare to this intentional subservient bow? Please.

Seneca the Younger said...

Well, if Ritmo needs a defender to establish his "troll" credentials, I'll be your huckleberry. Ritmo has it exactly right where he says we have to consider what this means in Japanese culture.

Now, since the Japanese are just as sophisticated and just as worldly as Europeans, they don't think this really means Obama was expressing subservience; they just think he has beclowned himself.

reader_iam said...

Who said it was funny?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I appreciate what you're saying, Tyrone. But I think it's important to point out that with congeniality, as with everything else, there are limits.

TG, with whom I've had very civil disagreements in the past, suggests I deport myself. And "Paul" stumbles around with more vulgar and intellectually self-demeaning versions of the same sentiment. Did I say anything as personally directed and pointed to either one of these two characters as these remarks to which I justifiably responded?

But getting back to the real discussion, the larger point is that there is even a limit to the "love" that people believe informs their nationalism here. "Love it or leave it". I'm sorry, but at the sake of being uncongenial (but not personal) that's a really stupid idea. If love is the same as not having any criticism then they should change the saying to "Praise it or leave it". At least be honest if a theological and invincible form of appreciation of America is required in order to better it. Regardless of whether or not that's the way to better it.

I apologize if historical literacy gets in the way of one's Obama-hatred. Ironic that the goal of someone declaring his interest in improving "tone" would center around a thread so obviously devoted to unthinkingly trashing the president. At least this time though, the author of the post realizes that Obama-hatred and an all-out Obama hate-fest might not be warranted, depending on what we actually know or would care to discuss about the many ways of properly addressing dignitaries in Japanese culture, and how that affects American interests - for better or worse. But I digress. Let the hate roll on.

Darcy said...

I think the original comment was to ridicule him, reader. No? That kind of funny.

It's a silly comparison.

rcocean said...

Tradition: The US President does NOT bow to Royalty. Period. As for the flag: "This flag dips to no earthly king,"

Darcy said...

And by the way, I didn't say you made the comparison, reader. I was referring to the original commenter.

somefeller said...

What do you suppose the remaining allied veterans from World War II think when they see the President of the United States bowing profoundly to the Emperor of Japan?

I suppose some might be offended, while others would not be. Kind of like when Reagan went to Bitburg.

PatCA said...

I thought protocol was something established...something you follow rather than invent at the spur of the moment. The State Dept. reports that the now bowing custom has been observed for 200 years.

I'm sure our friends are puzzled and our enemies gladdened.

Isn't the KSM terror trial set for NYC a bow towards Muslims?

Baba said...

Bow to show respect? I don't know about that. But, bow to make some bankruptcy records for America, that would be sucks. If Obama want to making a fool of himself, that would be totally fool. Show us some respect, then we give you the same. Equal.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Since both Woods and I am criticizing American culture, Traditional Guy, and not America itself, then I expect you to apply the same standard to yourself. From now on, no more attacking American culture, the licentiousness of this country, its vulgarity, its affection for narcissism writ-large as applied to every individual within the masses who aspires to Lady Gaga levels of fame and the Palinism that informs that desire when applied to political aspirations and political thought. No more bitching about how unseriously America takes the sanctity of life, or of traditions, and certainly not of the traditional family.

From now on I expect you to shut up about those things lest you be threatened with imminent deportation for exposing your own hatred of America, too!

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo...Newt the Grinch was my Congressman.I have known him personally since 1974. He is an unlikable man with a German since of power. However Newt is a History Professor and for that reason I respect him. Are you a Professor of History? If so then repeating a charge that Americans are a rude and selfish people that also pull for the underdog and respect their neighbor's rights is a complement. Thanks for the praise. Delta is still ready when living among free people gets insuferable for you. Toodles.

Balfegor said...

His bow will play better in Japan than it does here.

Kind of. I went and looked for reax on Japanese blogs and BBS's just now. 2ch is having fun with it -- there's a comment: "ちこうよれ,くるしゅうないぞよ" (Chikou yore, kurushuunaizoyo), which is like, "Do not fear to approach" -- kind of a stereotypical line a lord will deliver to his subordinate. And there's comments about how, truly, the Emperor is amazing, or how Emperor outranks King outranks President, or how the Imperial Aura compelled the President to do that, even though people will beat him up for it back home. And people commenting on how it's a breach of protocol for the American president to try and bow like that -- contrasting Obama's behaviour with, e.g. Kennedy. Comments about how he better try and bow to the Emperor, because otherwise he'd be elevating the Saudi king over the Japanese Emperor. And a lot of comments contrasting Obama's subservient attitude with the half-assed banzai that the new PM, Hatoyama II, gave, with a few jokes about how Obama should be the new PM instead of Hatoyama (a lot of these comments are coming from fairly right-wing BBS's).

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Since both Woods and I are criticizing American culture, Traditional Guy, and not America itself, then I expect you to apply the same standard to yourself. From now on, no more attacking American culture, the licentiousness of this country, its vulgarity, its affection for narcissism writ-large as applied to every individual within the masses who aspires to Lady Gaga levels of fame and the Palinism that informs that desire when applied to political aspirations, political thought and political discourse. No more bitching about how unseriously America takes the sanctity of life, or its traditions, and certainly not the traditional family.

From now on I expect you to shut up about those things lest you be threatened with imminent deportation for exposing your own hatred of America, too!

reader_iam said...

No, Darcy, I don't think the original comment necessarily has to be read that way. In fact, that's not how I read it. Of course, I could be dead wrong in how I read it. But then, so could you.

Seneca the Younger said...

Balfegor, believe me, romaji is had enough.

Balfegor said...

Incidentally, I hadn't thought about it, but the Japanese reactions have sort of elevated it to my attention. Now that he's made a practice of doing this weird deep-bow-handshake combo thing, the world public expect him to do that as a sign of proper deference to their royalty, so he's kind of stuck. He has to continue doing it, or people will understand it as a deliberate insult.

Seneca the Younger said...

Crap. I mean "bad enough."

See, I can't even type in English.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

If so then repeating a charge that Americans are a rude and selfish people that also pull for the underdog and respect their neighbor's rights is a complement. Thanks for the praise. Delta is still ready when living among free people gets insuferable for you. Toodles.

Right. So this could never be charged of people in other countries?

I think your downgrading the humanity of other people, despite a respect for their universal rights as individuals as spelled out in The Declaration, is also downright un-American!

So who shall I book the tickets for your seat under, TG? Delta won't take a reservation for just your pseudonym.

Seneca the Younger said...

a lot of these comments are coming from fairly right-wing BBS's

Golly, it sounds like.

Wow, Balfegor, you should translate some more of that and write it up for PJM. Or contact me (chasrmartin at gmail) if you like and we can collaborate.

Balfegor said...

And here's a bunch of comments including a lot of people saying they burst out laughing at messed-up Obama's bow was. With some saying "good try," and then some people riffing on Bush II grabbing at peoples' clothes.

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo@12:11...Thanks again. As far as I can comprehend your list of forbidden speech, it all sounded like everday American interplay of bitching and complaining. why again does that seem forbidden speech. It's ok. You can stay here. In fact its fun to hear your views, as much as I reject them.That is the reason Free Speech is near sacred around here. Just get used to not being obeyed evertime Lord Brasiliero speaks. We talk back.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You can "talk back" (or as I call it, object intelligently) as much as you want to, TG. Just why not make it intelligent and humane, as you used to in the past?

Florida said...

I think this is wonderful. Barack Obama is dissing Japan with his bow, as any student of Japan would know.

He is bowing in the Ojigi manner. This manner doesn't say:

"Sorry for nuking your country - um, twice."

It says: "Soup is out of stock today ... so soly."

So, Barack is backhanding the Emperor and telling him that ... yes, he's been pwned and that Japan is still our bitch.

So soly.

Barack Obama ... is a fucking maroon. He can't even prostrate himself correctly.

Seneca the Younger said...

Just in passing, by the way, I don't think prostration is particularly associated with Islam specifically.

Father Martin Fox said...

Apropos English Bob's comment, above, about the U.S. being "anti-intellectual"...

Yep, it's too bad Americans haven't had any significant impact in the arts, literature, science, medicine and so forth; imagine how inspiring it would be if people from the world flocked to American universities, but alas, what might have been!

Balfegor said...

Just in passing, by the way, I don't think prostration is particularly associated with Islam specifically.

No -- there's full prostration (lying flat on the ground), when priests are made cardinals by the Pope. In East Asian cultures, historically, you prostrated yourself (more in the Islamic sense) before the Emperor of China. Even today, in Korea, you make a full prostrate bow like that before your ancestors (grandparents, etc.) on New Years, and do two full prostrate bows and a standing bow to your deceased ancestors when you make offerings to them.

Re: translating Japanese reax -- too much trouble, and there's also a difficulty with ensuring you're getting a reliable cross section. I mostly do not read news blogs (I read blogs about, er, the soppy dramas that I watch), and when I do go looking for news, like this, I usually go to 2ch (largest BBS in the world, I think), where the commenters trend kind of rightist, though it varies by subforum and topic.

Seneca the Younger said...

Father Martin, don't you suspect that "anti-intellectual" is usually used to mean "failing to pay proper deference to their betters"?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Science and medicine, yes - although it's too bad we're deporting so many well-trained aspiring immigrants and residents. Literature, so-so. And the arts? If only. Cinematronic Hollywood stuff might be an advancement of the technical state of that art. But the obsession with violence, explosions, poor character development, inanity and questionable statements on the meaning sought in those plots do not inspire value among Americans or the ROW.

Father Martin Fox said...

Balfegor:

Yes, and also when a man is ordained a deacon or priest (I cannot recall if a priest prostrates when ordained a bishop); and on Good Friday, the celebrant (bishop or priest) prostrates before the stripped altar, representing the stripped Christ.

Seneca the Younger said...

Balfegor, I wish you'd reconsider — my Japanese really isn't up to the idioms. It doesn't have to be representative, we could write it as just examples.

Seneca the Younger said...

But the obsession with violence, explosions, poor character development, inanity and questionable statements on the meaning sought in those plots do not inspire value among Americans or the ROW.

Dude, do you watch Bollywood? or Hong Kong films?

Or read what the French say about Jerry Lewis?

Seriously, grinching about American pop culture is popular in a few areas, but it doesn't seem to be very influential in the real world.

Maguro said...

But will he kowtow when he gets over to China?

Paul said...

America has revolutionized music. The melding of African rhythms and European harmony has produced an explosion of musical forms, low, middle, and high brow.

Pretentious and insecure boors like Ritmo (he can't even keep the same moniker, he is so unsure of himself) no doubt turn their nose up at it, but music like Coltrane's is so far over his head so much deeper than his shriveled little bitter soul could ever feel the image of casting pearls before swine seems insufficient.

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo @ 12:23...One last thought and the the golf course beckons. A civil and thoughtful discourse is indeed better than a diatribe and insults exchange. I apologise to you. After yesterday's blog storm over intelligent posts by our beloved Althouse, I have become defensive over percieved attack comments. Shalom to you.

former law student said...

(I cannot recall if a priest prostrates when ordained a bishop)

C'mon Father, priests are not "ordained" bishops. Are you really a priest? Or is this just the type of everyday verbal slip that conservatives constantly castigate Obama for?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Dude, do you watch Bollywood? or Hong Kong films?

Or read what the French say about Jerry Lewis?


Since when did I praise the artistic merits of Bollywood, Hong Kong films or the ideas that inform French appreciation for Jerry Lewis?

Father Martin Fox said...

Gee, I wish Gershwin, Copeland, Bernstein, Sinatra had been Americans! If only Jazz and the blues had originated here! If only the U.S. had made some contribution to the popular music the whole world enjoyed...*sigh*...

David said...

First of all, history experts, it's "Gordon Wood" not "Gordon Woods."

Some of the commenters seem to know next to nothing about Mr. Wood or his work. He's hardly a radical lefty. His "Radicalism of the American Revolution," from which the quote about American "vulgarity" is taken, is a story about the exceptional and radical nature of the America experiment, and particularly it's emphasis on the social and political equality of the common man with elites. The current displeasure we conservatives have with elites is directly traceable to the revolutionary ethic Wood describes so well.

One of his more recent books, "The Uses of History" is a measured takedown of some of the more ideological trends in historical scholarship in American academia.

Gordon Wood is one of the best historians this country has ever produced, and it's not out of ignorance that Newt Gingrich cited "Radicalism of the American Revolution" as describing a strong historical basis for contemporary conservative thought.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Have a peaceful day as well, TG. And hope you have a good day at the course!

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Thanks for the correction, David.

It's been a long time since I've referred back to what he wrote, but I'd like to think I'm still cognizant of the arguments he posed regardless of how they were appropriated (or not, as in Gingrich's case) for political purposes.

Kirby Olson said...

Equality is an interesting idea. Does Obama believe in it?

I thought that that was the idea we were supposed to have taken from Gettysburg, according to the G. Address by Lincoln, that was all the rage in late 1863.

And I thought Obama was supposedly basing himself on Lincoln.

Did Lincoln bow to kings and emperors?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Although I think it's pretty clear that Wood is saying that there was a price to pay for rejecting so many aspects of elitism. Actually, it says as much in that verbatim quote which I supplied. Wood is certainly not praising the anti-intellectualism that was extended from an anti-elitist sentiment. Nor is it clear that he is saying that the more populist course, taken by generations subsequent to the founders' generation, was necessary or an unalloyed good.

Wood subsequently distanced himself from Gingrich's praise and, as I understand it, had the review removed from Amazon's comments.

Steven said...

Screwing up with Abdullah is one thing. People make mistakes. Repeating it with Akihito is quite another; it moves it from a human error to a policy error. He owes the American people an apology.

What commoners do or do not do is utterly irrelevant. Americans are not commoners; we're all co-sovereigns. That's the point of a republic. Commoners and even noblemen in other lands are our inferiors, because they, by their own laws, are inferior to a sovereign.

Now, Akihito is a head of state in addition to being a sovereign. Fine. The same is equally true of Obama. While any other American might make an unreciprocated gesture of respect to a foreign head of state, Obama has no business doing so.

When Obama makes an unreciprocated bow, he is, as the American head of state, placing the whole American people, his co-sovereigns, below a foreign potentate. Which is utterly out-of-line.

Michael E. Lopez said...

Quoth the Invisible Man:

Yes, the fact that our President bowed before the Japanese Emporer OBVIOUSLY means that we submit to their rule.

Except for the typo, yes, that's pretty much exactly what the gesture means. That's what it's meant for thousands of years of history, and that's why Americans don't do it.

Now if you're argument is that we aren't actually becoming a Japanese territory, so the bow doesn't mean what I say it means, well...

How about you dress up in tight leather and follow me around on your hands and knees wearing a collar and a bright pink bow? Since everyone knows I'm married, it will be clear that you won't actually be my sex slave, then the symbolism won't mean anything, right?

Yeah. That's what I thought.

Father Martin Fox said...

"EUCHARISTIC CONCELEBRATION FOR THE EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
OF FR JERZY MAKULEWICZ, O.F.M. CONV., TITULAR BISHOP
OF NARA AND APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR OF UZBEKISTAN

HOMILY OF CARDINAL ANGELO SODANO

Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles (Rome)
Saturday, 14 May 2005"

Found at this site: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2005/documents/rc_seg-st_20050514_ordination-makulewicz_en.html

Ah, but that's probably not the real Vatican...

Here's a search for anyone who cares to spend the afternoon looking up other references.

For those who are genuinely interested, not simply choosing to be needlessly obnoxious, the sacrament of holy orders (as the Catholic Church understands the matter) has three dimensions or degrees, if you will. It is first received in the diaconate; a fuller sharing in the sacrament is received in the priesthood, and the fullness of holy orders is received by those who are bishops. Prior to Vatican II, it was customary to refer to bishop being "consecrated"; since Vatican II, while this usage is still used, it has become customary to refer to the reception of holy orders in all three aspects as "ordination."

Seneca the Younger said...

Sorry, Balfegor, I meant to come back around to that; I wasn't sure if that had changed since Showa or not. But the main point is that Japanese do bow and shake hands at the same time, certainly with hakujin.

Cedarford said...

somefeller said...
What do you suppose the remaining allied veterans from World War II think when they see the President of the United States bowing profoundly to the Emperor of Japan?

I suppose some might be offended, while others would not be. Kind of like when Reagan went to Bitburg


Exactly. Japan has been idependent since 1952 and a generally top tier, powerful nation ally of the US. And our relations with them should reflect the fact that WWII was a long, long time ago. First and foremost, that we are equal nations and the conquerer/conquered relationship went away a long, long time ago as well.

And we also have to be a little tought on saying "No!" to maintaining the feeeeeeeeeeeelings of this special interest group or that. There are no ultimate limits on what a head of state should or shouldn't do based on opinions from Vets who served 70 years ago or the ever media seeking "NOble Victim Families of 9/11". That is not how a nation should conduct itself. We are not subject to the dictates of a miniscule number of Americans with "absolute moral authority" based on their small sometimes peripheral involvement in events. Nor those who seek to use their absolute moral authority to their own ends. "Don't want to invade Iran???? TELL IT TO!! the Victim Families of 9/11!!"

Shahid at 11:56 got it right. Obama really blew the protocol on how much to bow...His bad, or his staff's - but he looked stupid doing so. And likely completely clueless to the average Japanese picking up their WiFi electronic news stories and pics of the day on laptop or breakfast TV screen.

(Old joke from days in Japan.
"How do you ensure instant and prompt attention from have the staff of a Ginsa store?"
Simple.
Just show up with a black American serviceman and the clerks will be with you every step.)

rhhardin said...

Obama is trying to avoid swine flu.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

It is subservient. Obama is conceding that these other leaders are superior to him. And since he is the symbol of the United States, he is ceding superiority to Japan, Saudi Arabia and anywhere else in which he shows obeisance.

He isn't even saluting or putting his hand over his heart for our flag again, just like he didn't during the campaign. And this time on Veterans Day.

The man has no respect for the country he leads nor respect for the office he holds.

m00se said...

My god - that man is just tone deaf. The left is loving it, but this looks completely wrong to the majority of the US populace.

Its not for us, though - this is to show the world that we know our place now in the world community.

God help us...

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Ritmo--

Your comments are offensive to me because they betray a cultural snobbishness peculiar to the intellectual left, and blanket contempt for any and all values others deem patriotic.

American culture contains elements such as bluegrass music, vaudeville, the Three Stooges, Elvis and hamburgers, all of which I think you would damn as vulgar. I might be attributing opinions to you that you did not actually express, but I think from your comments this is a reasonable assumption on my part. The fact is these elements of American culture are known and loved throughout the world, regardless of the elitist opinions of self-appointed gatekeepers such as yourself.

As for love-it-or-leave-it nationalism, I defy you to point to anyone here as a jingoist. Since you have thrown your blanket assumption over the lot of us, I can only assume that you do not read our posts, unless they refer to you.

What I think most of us "nationalists" believe is that this country, while imperfect, has the best form of government yet devised, and it takes vigilance to keep it that way. Chief among its virtues is the idea that individuals should be free to make their own choices, even if that means that they choose the Three Stooges.

knox said...

I wouldn't mind if he did that customary brief bow that the Japanese do. His was a low, low, bow. I wouldn't bow that low to anybody--it's just weird. Especially if it's not the emporor/king/whatever of my own country.

Gary Rosen said...

C-fudd, a few days ago you were licking the shit out of BO's asshole for not going to Berlin. How do you feel about him going to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Probably all for it since your butt buddy Buchanan says WWII was a Joooo conspiracy on both fronts.

Let's have another round of claiming the Poles started WWII. It's like blaming Megan's Law on Megan, but it figures that you and Pat take your ethical cues from NAMBLA.

Father Martin Fox said...

Moose:

What I don't get is why anyone on the left could be happy with this. yes, certainly, I get why they are dismissing or excusing it...but I don't recall more left-wing folks being particularly royalist.

As I said above, I can't believe Democratic politicos aren't cringing, because this is exactly the sort of thing that can be politically damaging.

Look how much trouble Dukakis had over wearing a goofy helmet while riding in a tank. Or Carter and the "killer rabbit." These latter things really weren't important--but when they become part of a narrative...it's very hard to shed them.

President Obama is (needlessly to my mind) feeding a damaging narrative: bowing and scraping to kings, appeasing our enemies, stiffing our allies, and apologizing for America. For all the criticism directed against Clinton for his foreign policy, I don't recall this being part of the indictment; it certainly was for Carter.

rcocean said...

"Buchanan says WWII was a Joooo conspiracy on both fronts."


That's a lie and a false, slanderous statement.

IMO, "Gary Rosen" = C4 sock-puppet = trying to stir the pot.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Your comments are offensive to me because they betray a cultural snobbishness peculiar to the intellectual left, and blanket contempt for any and all values others deem patriotic.

I am glad that you now choose to modify your willingness to speak for all with an interest in speaking principally for yourself. Let's see if we can continue that qualification in the subsequent comments...

American culture contains elements such as bluegrass music, vaudeville, the Three Stooges, Elvis and hamburgers, all of which I think you would damn as vulgar. I might be attributing opinions to you that you did not actually express, but I think from your comments this is a reasonable assumption on my part. The fact is these elements of American culture are known and loved throughout the world, regardless of the elitist opinions of self-appointed gatekeepers such as yourself.

Your assumption of me regarding honky-tonk and the like is unnecessary. I already had a little side-bar with Seneca on the gratuitous violence, narcissism and poor character and moral development that pervades American cinema. I see that you choose to leave that unaddressed - even though direct quotes are available.

I am not sure whether you do that because it would weaken your argument on what things American the rest of the world does or does not value or whether these things have or lack much intrinsic value. But I do suspect that it weakens your argument.

As for love-it-or-leave-it nationalism, I defy you to point to anyone here as a jingoist.

Well, for a jingoist statement, why not start with your own final paragraph which I quote at the bottom of this post? "Best form of government ever devised?" I guess that would leave out the ancient Greeks and Romans after whom we either modeled it off of or - to a critic of the self-serving right-wing narrative - plagiarized it, now, wouldn't it? I mean, it would be like totally awesome if democracy was dropped onto us out of heaven from God, sort of like an Afghan food package. And it would like, totally fit the narrative you're attempting here. But that just ain't so. In fact, some guy named "Plato" told me it ain't so.

Since you have thrown your blanket assumption over the lot of us, I can only assume that you do not read our posts, unless they refer to you.

Some I read carefully (if they are carefully written). Some I've become accustomed to sniffing out what's missing from them based on tone and prior history of the person making the comment.

What I think most of us "nationalists" believe is that this country, while imperfect, has the best form of government yet devised, and it takes vigilance to keep it that way. Chief among its virtues is the idea that individuals should be free to make their own choices, even if that means that they choose the Three Stooges.

Since jingoism is the most damning charge of which you would like to accuse me of falsely charging, I would just like to point to the jingoism of bizarrely assuming that freely being able to make one's choices in life is the sole province of an American. It is not. Neither was this devised by Americans or even the founders. But since antiquity seems to elude you, why don't I start with a more contemporary European source: John Locke, for one. And I suspect a long string of successors after him who had the misfortune of either being born on the European continent, or before the American Revolution, or both, would also apply in discrediting this idea of yours as both erroneous and possibly jingoistic. But it's not necessary. Subsequent un-American -- whoops, I'm sorry - non-American(!) [I do that sometimes!] thinkers or movements would also apply in removing this fantasy of freedom being an exclusively American concern.

Sometimes ideas are recycled or exchanged from nation to nation, culture to culture. Your nationalism would benefit by trying to see itself in that light.

elHombre said...

No President in history has had a greater following of dupes and, therefore a greater interest in duplicity.

The first bow, in Saudi, was a political error resulting from sycophancy and indifference to tradition.

The Japanese bow was a cover-up for the first, calculated to show the dupes, and others, that the first was not error and that he is indeed just a humble man despite his messianic status.

His extension of the delay on the Afghan decision is a similar ploy. He hasn't a clue what to do. Hence the original delay.

The recent rejection of his advisers' proposals and further delay offers idolaters like Andrew Sullivan the opportunity to characterize him as "thoughtful" while he contrives a political, as opposed to military, "save."

He is the quintessential poseur.

Cedarford said...

Ah, I see Gary Rosen has slithered into view again like a rat out of a sewer...What a craven creature he is!

Obama might have gobe to Berlin if he had planned his 1st 6 months better, but it seemed that he had spent nearly one quarter of his Presidency away from his urgent tasks at hand doing foreign trips or meaningless symbolic trips within the US to this ceremony or that.

By the time of his Copenhagen trip to puch for the Olympics, Obama had done more air travel and visited more countries than any President in any year of office. (16 after only 8 months). He now is on a 9-day Asian trip with rumors of a symbolic trip to "get the facts and meet the Heroes" in Afghanistan.

Which will be followed by yet another overseas adventure in December of 3-4 days to get his stinking Peace Prize and likely stick around to get a TelePrompter speech in at the Climate Change Summit.

All while people - even his own Party - have been saying way too much time spent on symbolism, not enough on substance. So when healthcare finally came up for a razor thin vote on the weekend - almost no one thought it was smart to see Obama go galivanting off for another "feel-good symbolic speech" outside the country.

Had he done so, even the Palinistas would have jumped on him for abandoning fighting for his vision of healthcare to make a quickly forgotten "symbolic speech".

The right thing to do, since he was locked in DC in a critical fight...would have been to dispatch HW Bush or Bubba in his stead. However, it appears that HW wasn't feeling well..and Hillary didn't want Bubba overshadowing her being "Lead Official" as SOS.

The reviled Dubya and out-of-control Carter were not options.

Maybe he will be around to make a meaningless symbolic speech in Berlin on the 30th anniversary. Maybe not. Maybe he will get a call to do some soaring oratory there as a former POTUS on the all-important symbolic 40th anniversary.

I thought what mattered most was HW Bush determined to NOT make speeches rubbing Russia's nose in it back when the Wall and the Soviets DID fall. Because, as Nixon advised him - Russia would recover a measure of it's power and it was not in US interest to have a humiliated, revanchist power with long memories of being kicked when they were down. (See Germany, post WWI for the downside of that approach).

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Of course, I've tried Googling "Gary Rosen" to find out just how contemptible a Jew he is - let alone what on earth he has to do with the conversation, and I can't find anything other than a hit on a lawyer admitted to practice in several states.

Alas, Tyrone, C-Fud's Jew hatred will have to do as an acceptable substitute for jingoism today. Maybe tomorrow we will find less ancient and more topical specimens of social sickness to examine.

Seneca the Younger said...

"Best form of government ever devised?" I guess that would leave out the ancient Greeks and Romans after whom we either modeled it off of or - to a critic of the self-serving right-wing narrative - plagiarized it, now, wouldn't it?

Well, now, that one's just silly.

Gary Rosen said...

Only one thing you need to know about C-fudd - he *always* lies, especially about himself. Two examples: his claim to have a teenage child while he was giving a slobbering blowjob to the molester Polanski, and his neurotic insistence that he is younger than he really is even though it is quite clear he is an old boomer:

http://tinyurl.com/cl2t9t
http://tinyurl.com/yfkesax

So when he claims some "inside" knowledge on allegedly being a veteran you can ignore it. If you just assume he makes everything up then it all makes sense.

Gary Rosen said...

Ritmo - I'm surprised that's all you found since interestingly there are a number of people out there with the same name as me. If you check out one of those "people search" websites there are a couple of dozen in California alone. But there's only one C-fudd LOL.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Ritmo said..

Well, for a jingoist statement, why not start with your own final paragraph which I quote at the bottom of this post? "Best form of government ever devised?"


Name a better one.

If it happened in America, by definition it is perfect.

Who here wrote anything remotely resembling that?

Cedarford said...

rcocean said...
"Buchanan says WWII was a Joooo conspiracy on both fronts."


That's a lie and a false, slanderous statement.

IMO, "Gary Rosen" = C4 sock-puppet = trying to stir the pot.


I don't use sockpuppets, RC. Gary Rosen appears real, though he confirms the worst stereotypes.

================
Buchanan is not an adherent to "the Joos caused WWII". You are right on that. He is revisionist in believing that WWII was created by some very bad mistakes by the Brits, French and Poles. The menace of Bolshevikism and the Red Terror looming over all of Europe.

The Germans get more sympathy from Buchanan than many writers have given them, but Buchanan bases his belief on grounds that a revanchist Germany was following a rational course. Following WWI, Wilsons 14 points included the principle that all majorities of an ethnic people deserved their own self-determination..and the maps of Europe were redrawn to do that. Except for German majority areas.
Hitler sought to use popular opinion and voted on democratic plebiscites to take majority German areas and add them to the Reich. Almost all of which were in sovereign German or Austrian hands only 20 years before. (Much as the Poles, Italians, Romanians, etc, did taking majority ethnic territory as their own with "full sanction of the League of Nations") And it is true that majority German areas in Poland and the Czech Sudetanland were treated as 2nd class people and strongly wished to join Germany.

As for how credible Buchanan is, his book is a huge bestseller in Europe and now is part of a serious academic movement reassessing the causes of WWII. (Finally moving past the simplistic - "It's all one man - Hitler's - fault, as a meany-bully that no one stood up to.)

No Hitler - there would have been thousands of other German and Austrian leaders with the same objective to bring back their lands lost after WWI. And probably the same politics in the 30s (and 40s - assuming the revanchists were not as bold as Hitler was about getting German lands back..and WWII had not broken out in 1939 but happened 4-5 years later over the same issues and the matter of the Red Menace.)

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"Name a better one."

Define "better".

If you want to have a decent argument, try working around words that aren't as vague and subjective as they get.

And while Seneca's at it, define "form of government". Apparently the democratic innovation (for the time) wasn't enough. Maybe it was the senators who were originally appointed rather than elected. The separation of branches devised by Frenchman Montesquieu? The "republic" that Plato wrote about, in that obscure and never-read book of his titled, curiously enough, "The Republic"?

Oh, and don't forget to credit those Iroquois Indians for coming up with that confederacy the Founders looked to for insight in forming their own union.

I think arguing for absolution of jingoism is a lost cause at this point.

Synova said...

"Define "better"."

No.

You can name a better one and include your own qualifications to what you think "better" means... or else concede that there is not a better one.

Better does not mean perfect. It does not even mean *good*. It does not even require a lack of humility. It means better.

Paul said...

For a great overview on how liberal useful idiots think and their reflexive anti-Americanism and self loathing I recommend this brief essay:

http://www.financialsense.com/stormwatch/geo/pastanalysis/2009/1002.html

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Thank you so much, Synova, for reminding us of the comparative meaning of the word "better". Do we now need instruction in the meaning of the superlative word "best", also as vague and personal in application as the word "better"?

Tyrone is the one making the argument in the form of an opinion. If he wants to turn his vaunted opinion back into an actual argument, he will have to define some terms. All I'm pointing out is that he has, in all likelihood and probably without knowing it, borrowed some of those terms. But he is refusing to even define his own concept of "better" so I will wait and keep toying with him until he does.

And by the way, "better" doesn't mean non-jingoistic. In fact, it's actually a way of conceding the jingoism charge. Regardless of whether or not your nation or form of government actually is "better". Whatever that means.

Synova said...

You know... we're all about self-esteem as a good thing. (Some of us might quibble that it's really not, and what we ought to aim for is self-respect, but our culture, in general, is concerned with improving self-esteem.) So how do we get from that to the excessively odd notion that we ought not have national self-esteem?

Or better... not have national self-respect?

Think of how we view the treatment of other people who are loved. Do we tear them down, insist to focus on their failings and then say we only do that because we love them? No we don't. Do we say of our wife or husband that he or she is not "better" than others, that we don't love him or her more? Do we snub our spouse and fawn all over some other?

Obama is embarassing when he does things like this. He represents us and ought to demonstrate a little bit of self-respect. Gawd... and lets not even get into the potential racist connotations of bowing and scraping, huh?

We're about equality. Proudly about equality.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

So Paul, is Gordon "Woods" also a liberal useful idiot, complete with reflexive anti-Americanism and self loathing?

Oh wait. David already answered you on that.

Keep up the autoerotic asphyxiation, Paul. It's choking your brain but I suspect that doesn't deter your knee-jerking need to make stupid comments.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I dunno, Synova. I'm really trying to stretch my head around this idea of relating to one's nation in the context of a spousal relationship, but coming up short of practical application.

People equally argued that Bush embarrassed the nation. So what? That's not the same as an argument for rehabilitating jingoism.

If anyone wants to extol the virtues of America and the American form of government without acknowledging its potential for democratic self-correction, then it seems to me that they might be missing a piece of their own puzzle. Self-correction and self-love are not the same things but they might be related. But one (at least, one) allows for criticism. And in the democratic context, if you're going to start by acknowledging the capacity for democratic self-correction, you should figure out whose criticisms are winning that process and why.

Synova said...

AoSHQ coverage of this includes the NYT responding to an extremely brief almost bow of Clinton...

"It wasn't a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan."

Heh.

Paul said...

"Keep up the autoerotic asphyxiation, Paul. It's choking your brain but I suspect that doesn't deter your knee-jerking need to make stupid comments.'

Is that supposed to be clever?

I don't know if Gordon Wood is a useful idiot or not but you certainly are and the essay, which you didn't read, explains the psychology of your ilk quite succinctly.

However you are too far gone to be enlightened by it of course. I posted it for the benefit of the commenters who are always flummoxed at the truly knee-jerk anti-Americanism that bots like you always resort to, as it is historically unnatural for a person to always take the side of enemies and adversaries. There is obviously a subversive psychological element at play, and the essay describes it quite well.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Paul, don't go into psychology. It's clearly not your forte. At least when it comes to analyzing the psychology of people more intelligent than you, it's not.

What have I once said that is even vaguely, remotely "anti-American"? I am arguably being put in the position of a debate with people who could very well be anti-Iroquois, anti-Greek, anti-French, and anti-a whole bunch of other nations and peoples to whom we owe our nationhood. But somehow no one else is the jingoist (well, except maybe Synova - I'm not sure) and I want to relegate this country to obsolescence by way of insufficient praise.

Or something.

Interesting way of looking at things. Completely stupid, but very interesting.

Paul said...

"Paul, don't go into psychology. It's clearly not your forte. At least when it comes to analyzing the psychology of people more intelligent than you, it's not.'

You're not clearly more intelligent. Just clearly more arrogant and conceited.

You are anti-American to your core. Anyone can see it. Except you of course. So much for your intelligence.

Once again the essay is obviously lost on a brainwashed fool like you and is for the folks here who, unlike myself living and working inside the belly of the leftist beast, can't understand why you people reflexively soil your own nest.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You can call me whatever you want to, Paul. But I can call your bluff. And the one thing you can't call me is incorrect.

Again, a single instance of an anti-American utterance? Anywhere here? Anyone? Bueller?

So go ahead and call me arrogant and conceited (hmmm... paging Mr. Bush. Sound familiar?) Call me whatever else you want to. But just don't call me something that "anyone" else "can (supposedly) see" when you have no evidence whatsoever for it.

Or do and just concede that you have nothing to say. You see invisible things that everyone else does as well (or so you say) and you have no evidence for them. Kind of like UFOs. Or ghosts. Or whatever it is that makes your tinfoil hat more comfortable. So there!

Just stop it already, Paul.

Joe said...

Wow, all this and nobody goes for the obvious: Obama is a really stupid man.

For all its faults, the state department has people very well versed in international protocol and one or more of those people briefed Obama on exactly what to do when greeting the emperor; it wasn't a hint, or a suggestion, it was a series of precise instructions. Obama ignored them.

One explanation is that Obama is an arrogant man who has his own agenda. I find the better explanation to be that Obama is a really stupid man who has faked his way through life. The latter does a much better job explaining Obama's decisions and actions without resorting to conspiracy theories.

(Obama may very well be able to memorize and recite what he's memorized, but that doesn't mean he knows how to apply what he's memorized. I know a woman with a "photographic" memory but who can't follow simple instructions for something mechanical; she can't even cook near instant meals without messing it up.)

Paul said...

"You can call me whatever you want to, Paul. But I can call your bluff. And the one thing you can't call me is incorrect."

Bullshit. The tone of all your posts and all the leftists' posts for that matter are anti-American.

To wit, you bolded this passage:

"No doubt the cost that America paid for this democracy was high--with its vulgarity, its materialism, its rootlesness, its anti-intellectualism."

Of course you'll twist this into not being anti-American, but no one here is fooled. The fact you choose to emphasize "vulgarity, materialism, anti-intellectualism" is not lost on us.

Yes you are an arrogant, conceited, self loathing ass and an utterly unremarkable and typical leftoid who while reveling in your imagined wit and intelligence is increasingly perceived here as a weakling and a tool.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Those are Wood's words. Not mine.

Remember Wood? The one that David convinced you might not be "a useful idiot"? Remember him, Paul?

You should. You mentioned him, oh, not quite an hour ago.

So once again, you are mixing up your perceived enemies on the great list of anti-American liberals who hate America.

You are also mixing up your mind.

But you are exercising your vocabulary with such witticisms as "weakling", "tool", etc. I see. Which is nice. It's not doing a thing for your poor excuse for an argument. But it is making you look not only conceited, arrogant and like an ass but exceedingly desperate.

You have lost this argument and become distracting. If Tyrone, Seneca or Synova feel they have any more cards left to play with they are welcome to show them. Poor Paul has none left.

Richard said...

Lots of commentary on Japanese discussion boards. Lots of folks remarking that Obama showed more deference and respect than even the prime minister of Japan generally displays for the Emperor, and lots of the typical patting-the-gaijin-on-the-head comments. But all of the commentary suggests that the Japanese saw this as a remarkable gesture. Here are some representative comments from discussions boards:
-Does the US president bow this deeply? Is our Emperor that impressive?
-The emperor should have bowed, too. After all, he and the president are equals on the international stage.
-Obama, you're lucky to have met the only true royalty in the world.
-The emperor must be amazing if he can get the president of the United States to bow this deeply. He must have been overwhelmed by the Emperor's aura. Doesn't he have his back hunched over, making him look really small? . . . One of the seven wonders of the world.
-He is the president. Isn't this level of respect a little excessive?
-The Emperor is the only person in the world who could walk in front of the Queen of England, the US President, and the Pope.
-This is impressive. If I were suddenly thrust in front of the emperor, I'm not sure I'd be capable of bowing this deeply.
-Is it possible that even Obama feels nervous when appearing before our royal family?
-The emperor's expression suggests he's thinking "I've got to do something with this guy." I feel sorry that he has to deal with shits like this.
-We should make him an honorary Japanese.
Obama was brought up well, wasn't he?
-You really don't have to go that far . . . it makes us feel uncomfortable.
-Did Obama join the cult of the Emperor?
-Obama gets it.
-For better or worse, he knows how to grab Japanese hearts.
-He's the kind of guy who would bow like this intentionally when he wants to insult the Japanese.
-An amazing photo. The royal family is really something...
-This shows the power of the emperor.
-Prime Minister Hatoyama should learn from Obama how to properly respect the emperor and the national flag.
-Obama heard that the Emperor had ordered him to make an appearance and flew over right away.
-Well, it's obvious that the US President is about the same level as our Foreign Minister...
-Obama is an impressive person with an amazing grasp of the situation.
-Well, he is the descendant of slaves.
-This is the first 90-degree bow I've ever seen by an American. Obama's impressive for being able to give the most respectful bow possible to our emperor.
-The US president will probably get criticized for bowing this deeply to the Emperor, but I was moved by it. The Emperor's obviously a wonderful person but Obama is too.
-This one picture has made me like America.
Obama's bowing his head lower than his waist; it's too far. Where'd he learn this?
-After we lost the war, I never thought I'd see this.
He has a lot more respect [for the emperor] than [Prime Minister] Hatoyama does.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elHombre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elHombre said...

You have lost this argument and become distracting.

LOL. Pot, meet kettle.

Paul said...

"Those are Wood's words. Not mine."

You bolded them asshole. Pathetic attempt at obfuscation even for a lightweight such as your self.

Looks like you're the loser here.

Marcia said...

"that he is indeed just a humble man despite his messianic status."

I think el hombre is onto something here. False modesty is a likely explanation for the deep bows.

Or a related theme: all the world is a stage and Obama is met with ovations (some silent) everywhere he goes. It's traditional for performers to bow deeply before their admiring audiences.

paul a'barge said...

Bowing is a more modest gesture of greeting and respect, more like the American handshake

Unless you are the President of the United States.

In which case you not only look like am moron, in B. Hussein Obama's case you actually ARE a moron.

PatCA said...

Joe said: "Obama ignored them."

That's true...and it reminds me of another president who ignored his handlers when they cautioned him against a certain line in a speech. He replied, "I'm the president, I can say that." At the speech then he said the disputed line: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

What a difference. What a difference.

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo...The golf course was still too wet from Tuesday's deluge, and I am back and reading your tour de force of commenter interractions. Most of what you throw out is true such as the influence of the Iroquois Confederacy and John Locke. These were ideas of great influence at the inception of the US Government. But you accept that as a final word, when in reality Jackson's populism began changing those theories in the pure practice of Democracy and Lincoln by standing his ground against revolution by secession in an intense and cruel war reset everything. The nation we lived in after 1861 was another place, and Willim T. Sherman proved that it would never be the same again. Now the power is National unless the National government says it isn't. The British Empire in Canada and the French Empire in Mexico were thus thwarted by a gangly trial lawyer born in a settlers log cabin in Kentucky who had learned to understand juries and used that skill to lead the North to victory against great opposition. You seriously under estimate people like Lincoln that this country keeps producing. The USA is not a better form of government than Europe, ancient Greece and Great Britain which did a great job governing. The USA just has better and smarter common people than those others because we don't cripple them by despising them like you do. To bring down the USA, the other world powers in the world would first need to destroy the traditions taught to our children. And I bet that all the Obama illusions and political correctness gone wild has not finished us off yet. We will see when Palin runs against the Obama/Soros machine.

Balfegor said...

But all of the commentary suggests that the Japanese saw this as a remarkable gesture.

And hilarious, in a lot of cases, although part of this is just the usual "laugh at the funny foreigner" stuff. I liked all the ワロタ! (warota, internet slang for "I laughed") comments.

Kirby Olson said...

He should just kiss the guy's feet and say a word of Japanese or three: Mitsubishi! Toyota! Sayonara!

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Define "better".


Would you like me to define what the meaning of "is" is? If you can't answer the question you should have the nuts to say so.

The best descriptor for your style of argument is jesuitical

Nomilk said...

Yes, and also when a man is ordained a deacon or priest (I cannot recall if a priest prostrates when ordained a bishop); and on Good Friday, the celebrant (bishop or priest) prostrates before the stripped altar, representing the stripped Christ.


Fr. Martin: there is an even much more complicated taxonomy to the somatics of worship in the Byzantine rite.

Of course, all that involves the postures of man before God--not Obamaroon before foreign potentates.

Father Martin Fox said...

Ritmo:

In this thread at least, you lost standing to admonish anyone else for being supercilious or condescending.

vbspurs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

You call that a reverence, President Obama? Check out King Albert in last month's visit to the Vatican.

Now that's a bow.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

For those of us who believe in America's exceptionalism, in America's leadership and strength, stomaching this man is almost impossible. Groveling, bowing and scraping, saying I'm sorry -- whatever that is, it ain't American.

I cannot stand seeing this photo. It's disgusting.

Cheers,
Victoria

Penny said...

Victoria, I think that's a bad link? Least it is for me.

elHombre said...

To bring down the USA, the other world powers in the world would first need to destroy the traditions taught to our children. And I bet that all the Obama illusions and political correctness gone wild has not finished us off yet.

What the government schools have not done to destroy our traditions, the leftist Democrats and the forty per cent of our population who vote for a living will do if we let them.

William said...

This is a comment upon C4 2:14 post. It wasn't just the opinion of Hitler that the Germans had gotten hosed by the Paris Treaty. That was at the time the opinion of decent liberals. Keynes in his Econonomic Consequences of the Peace elaborated that Germany would never be able to recover because of the reparations. Most modern economists deny that assertion, but that was the opinion of decent liberals at the time. Keynes book was a big best seller in Germany and that became the settled opinion of Germans. The Sudetanland gave Czechoslovakia a defensible border. The Germans there had to live under Czech rule, but there were greater injustices under the Paris Treaty. Here again the liberals--prior to Hitler--sympathized with the Germans. The depiction of the Germans as an oppressed folk did not start with Hitler. It was a dogma that was also preached by the liberals.....The Germans were not oppressed. They were defeated. I'm tempted to draw some analogies with Iraq, but my natural sensitivity forestalls such contentious statements....It is fair to say that the Germans would have been better off accepting their defeat and its subsequent inequities than by trying to rectify the situation with WWII. At the end of WWII, the Germans of the Sudetanland and millions of other Germans were forced to evacuate their homes. It is interesting to note that to this day this ethnic cleansing of Germanss has never been been a concern of the left...In this connection, it is also interesting to note that the Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi sympathizer. The Mufti was the de facto leader of the Palestinians. At the end of WWII, the Russians had scant sympathy for Nazi supporters. They were the first country to recognize Israel....Some 250,000 Palestinians became refugees as opposed to ten million Germans. It is interesting to compare and contrast the treatment of German vs Palestinian refugees by the left....Much as they did to the Germans after WWI, the left feeds into the victim scenario of Palestinians.. It would be better for the Palestinians to accept their defeat and get on with their lives. That was certainly the case with the Germans after WWII.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I dunno Father Martin. Tyrone claims I've become jesuitical. Go figure.

I don't recall admonishing Paul for being condescending. I do however recall pointing out that he was doing nothing different than what he claims I was doing (and admonished me for doing).

Miles White said...

This reminds me of that scene From the Birdcage where the gay house maid Agador Spartacus pretends to be a formal butler and bows too low for all the guests.

DrSquid said...

Man, whoever this clown Ritmo is, it really must suck to be him.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Thanks for the intelligent response, TG.

One (minor) quibble, though:

What I am (and Wood is) addressing, is not a hatred of the "common man", or the possibility that he may rise to greatness as Lincoln did and as some of the louder voices on the right claim that Obama will never do. I will also take issue with the assertion that Europe has worse commoners/"common people" than America. They don't. America just believes in the ideal that they can and when possible should aspire to and achieve greatness when possible just like any other elite. That's good and well and fine and I have no problem with that.

What Wood (and I) are addressing is the destruction of certain values along with the destruction of the idea of elitism itself. As Wood's comment attests, the generation of the founders elevated the idea of certain ancient virtues, against which the subsequent generations took offense. He doesn't say that the founders hated the heretofore "lower" classes or believed none among them could or should aspire to greatness. But what he does imply is that the elevation of vulgarity (which conservatives had spent the better portion of 1980 to 2000 decrying) and anti-intellectualism (which anyone who has ever taken part in any guided instruction would have the good sense to decry) that accompanied that development was unforeseen, likely to have been protested by the majority of the founders and hasn't been demonstrably shown to be an exclusively positive thing.

I take the apparently controversial, perhaps even scandalous(!) position (at least by Althousian standards) that these can be very negative things, and suddenly get lambasted as anti-American for it. And yet, I think at least one among the crowd here might want to re-think that lambasting. And at least a few others might want to re-think what it means to throw any and all positive sentiment toward America with anti-intellectualism and vulgarity. Is that seriously the position you wish to endorse? Is thoughtlessness and unseriousness the new civic American virtues?

Think about what that says. Think about what that says about the country you proclaim to love. Think about what that says about the direction in which you propose to lead it. Think long and hard about those things. And then think again. Because the American people have spoken, and I don't think very many among them or among our friends and allies in the world want to hear much more from the right until you have.

Hey - that's just one person's opinion. But beware of the possibility that a whole lot of other people both here and elsewhere might see something noteworthy in it as well. You can choose to label them as enemies, anti-American and whatever other name you can think of. But it becomes harder and harder to proclaim one's nationalist credentials when you're at war with over half your country. Half the world? Ok. But going to war with the majority of what your country wants doesn't make one a nationalist in a democratic republic. It makes that person a fricking fascist.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Not as much as it sucks to be the loser who goes by the name "Dr Squid".

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Tyrone, no one can answer any question posed by words that never made it out of your own mind and onto the screen.

I can no more define what you think constitutes "better" by any objective criteria that you refuse to list than I can define which flavor of ice cream you should prefer. I mean, I could try to do that. But then I'd be a fascist or someone who has contempt for consumer choice (i.e. a "socialist") and not a nationalist. Rather like you.

former law student said...

Considering how much we owe to the Chinese, I wonder if Obama will knock his head against the ground when he meets Hu Jin Tao

http://www.financialsense.com/stormwatch/geo/pastanalysis/2009/1002.html

A bunch of paragraphs in search of a theme. A content-free type of mental masturbation, irrelevant to our world today. I see nothing explaining how everything in the stores is made in China, or how all of our unskilled labor is imported from Mexico, how the major new employment sector is prison guard, or how the H1N1 virus will reduce the labour surplus around the world.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Oh, and today's exercise in the fallacy of composition:

If you hate American anti-intellectualism or vulgarity, you hate America.

By that (il-)logic:

If you hate the American left, you hate America.

Unless you want a one-party state.

In that case your hatred of America might not be as intense as your love of Communist China. Or the Soviet Union. But I'll leave it to the partisans of single-party legitimacy to figure that shit out.

JAL said...

Tradguy @ 10:39 Obama cannot help his Kenyan heritage showing when he leaves the USA melieu.

His biological father abandoned he and his mother before he was what -- 2? His "Kenyan" heritage is a joke, and everyone with a lick of sense knows that.

JAL said...

Tradguy @ 11:09 Fortunately we had a Dumb as rocks Missouri hick named Truman as our totally unqualified President and he had the guts and character to do the right thing to protect the USA.

My husband and I went to a welcoming of WW II vets returning from visiting the memorial in DC.

In the crowd I started talking with another WW II vet who had taken the trip last April. (He was stunned when he got back into the home airport as he had not expected any kind of greeting. So he came back this time to greet his brothers.)

He served in the Pacific and told me he was so grateful to President Truman for ending the war. He landed in Japan the day after the surrender and said that the Americans would have had to kill tens of thousands, if not millions of civilians, with huge losses for the Americans and the Allies, if Truman had not made the decision to drop the bombs.

He wept.

JAL said...

Gordon Wood quote The American Revolution created this democracy, and we are living with its consequences still.

And I thank God we do.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I can no more define what you think constitutes "better" by any objective criteria that you refuse to list than I can define which flavor of ice cream you should prefer.


Good god, man. Can you not answer the question by positing a government that you think is better? That's the question I asked.

Your argument style is jesuitical because you would rather argue definitions of terms than issues. That is your way of avoiding issues altogether when they don't suit your abstruse agendas.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

There is no agenda more abstruse than an opinion masquerading as an argument.

Good God, my friend! Don't they teach people the difference between facts and opinions these days? I learned the difference (formally) in the third grade.

Let's make a deal. You explain to me, credibly, the difference between a fact and an opinion and I'll tell you which government is "DA BEST" -- according to whichever criteria I get to whimsically choose. But I'll warn you: There will be many criteria and many governments. Hell. Even in Afghanistan the troops laid out several options that the Loya Jirga could pick from in choosing how Afghanistan would be governed. It's political science, you know. Not theology. Not scripture. It's about meeting a social need and designing an aim. Not relegating the people to a system of government that somehow indoctrinates them into assuming its own inherent inerrancy.

Richard said...

[Item reposted, slightly edited] One other faux pas/breach of protocol that I'm not worked up about but that I find funny: The Japanese media is having a field day with this. Apparently, it's customary for the Japanese government to ask foreign dignitaries whether they or anybody in their entourage has any dietary restrictions (religious or otherwise). And apparently, Obama responded not with what he or others couldn't eat but with a very specific request for kobe beef. Now aside from the general ignorance it suggests of Japanese cuisine - Kobe beef is good but it would be nowhere near the top of my list - this was apparently the first time in modern Japanese diplomatic history that a dignitary has responded with a specific request describing what he'd like to have.

Kakashi said...

When no other leader bowed to the Emperor that day, it makes Obama look silly. Even if it's not degrading, Obama just comes off as trying too hard to be authentic and atuned to other cultures and failing miserably. Especially when the Emperor didn't bow back.

Harriet said...

"So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo."

SukieTawdry said...

I'm tired of this no class punkass. I don't care if his obsequious bowing and scraping is a result of cluelessness or if it's one of Obama's "insulting gestures" meant to demean and debase the folks back home. One's as bad as the other. His self-reverence is really quite beyond the pale. From Mike Allen:

In a slap at President George W. Bush, Obama spoke of the importance of "multilateral organizations [that] can advance the security and prosperity of this region."


"I know that the United States has been disengaged from these organizations in recent years. So let me be clear: those days have passed,” Obama said during the first major address of a four-country Far East swing, which will continue from Japan to Singapore, China and South Korea. “As an Asia Pacific nation, the United States expects to be involved in the discussions that shape the future of this region, and to participate fully in appropriate organizations as they are established and evolve," Obama said.


The White House wants to signal U.S. re-engagement with Asia, and the speech was designed to provide an overture to Asia similar to the outreach to the Arab world in the president's famous Cairo address.


Obama spoke extensively of his own roots in the region – his birth in Hawaii, living in Indonesia as a boy, his mother spending nearly a decade working in the villages of Southeast Asia. “The Pacific rim has helped shape my view of the world,” Obama said, speaking in front of 14 alternating U.S. and Japanese flags.


Who the hell does he think he is? The US has been exceedingly engaged with our Pacific allies over the past decade. George Bush made it a priority. We are not in need of the great god Obama to descend momentarily from his lofty perch "above the country, above above the world" to right our course with a few ill-chosen words about his odious predecessor and magnificent self. No president has ever behaved like this on foreign shores before. Somebody needs to slap the everliving shit out of this guy.

The next three years are going to be like an endurance race, but one I'm determined that he'll lose.

Palladian said...

Obama's bow delivered one message, on behalf of the United States, to the miscreants and terrorists of the world.

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