More than stumping their crafted popularity or their hallway scheme-antics among friendly cohorts, we must demand superior qualifications from world leaders.
If George Bush were as well read and educated as our “childrens”, we’d hear more than slogans over borrowed policies.
If Queen Elizabeth enjoyed literature as eagerly as students of Oxford, read on, this is how she would explain Proust to her staff.
“Terrible life, poor man. A martyr to asthma, apparently, and really someone to whom one would have wanted to say, ‘Oh do pull your socks up.’ But literature’s full of those. The curious thing about his was that when he dipped his cake into his tea (disgusting habit) the whole of his past life came back to him. Well, I tried it and it had no effect on me at all. The real treat when I was a child was Fuller’s cakes. I suppose it might work with me if I were to taste one of them, but of course they’ve long since gone out of business, so no memories there. Are we finished?”.
John Naughton is certain we’ll hear these words in a movie someday.
As if leaning your elbows on 14th Century oak while enjoying a British pub, read Naughton’s superb composition describing his new Prime Minister.
“The truth is that much of what is most detestable about New Labour — its authoritarianism, contempt for civil liberties, adulation of ‘wealth creation’, micromanagerial obsessiveness over ‘targets’, etc. — are actually more Brown’s creations than Blair’s. The only difference is that Brown is now varnishing them with a new layer of patriotic tosh about “Britishness”, “British values”, etc. If the Tories weren’t so pathetic there might be some hope of unhorsing the pompous ass.”
Varnish and tosh. Seems similar to politics in the USA. We call it pandering.
Jeff Jarvis noticed how accustomed politicians have become to spoon feeding us when he captured this sound bite from Barack Obama.
“One of the things the next president has to do is to stop fanning people’s fears. If we spend all our time feeding the American people fear and conflict and division then they become fearful and conflicted and divided. If we feed them hope and we feed them reason and tolerance then they will become tolerant and reasonable and hopeful.”
Jeff continues, “Isn’t that essentially insulting? We are politicians’ empty vessels. We are molded by their rhetoric? The Presidency isn’t a PBS self-improvement show. It’s an executive job.”
Exactly. These jobs require superior qualifications.
We expect a mountaineer, for example, to be an expert.
“… If you wanted to go up or down a mountain, you had to look at it rather carefully. You wanted to reach the summit – but it would have been a mistake simply to look for an easy way up. As an experienced mountaineer, you first of all figure out where you must not go. You try to see possible avalanches, ice breaks, crevasses, and other fatal constraints. Only when you have, so to speak, blocked out the treacherous parts of the mountain, would you begin to plan your way up.”
It’s our turn now. No more easy way up.