Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When Tarō Meets Barack

Prime Minister Asō Tarō arrives at the White House for his hour long meet-and-greet with President Barack Obama. To break the ice, the prime minister tries some cute wordplay and physical comedy--to show how unique and unusual he is. His jokey routine collides face first with the stony wall of President Obama's serious post-inauguration demeanor. Finding that his jokes are going nowhere, the PM doubles down, sweating as he tries harder and harder to be funny, the president's eyes growing ever more narrow and misty...

Why I am worrying like this?

Perhaps it is because when George W. Bush was in the White House, Japan's leaders could be well-bred non-entities, comfortable in the knowledge that:

1) they were dealing with a man with fewer little gray cells in between his ears than they had in between theirs

2) he was, at the base, just like them - a son of privilege whose fathers and grandfathers -- greater and better men -- had handed them control of the nation on a silver platter

On Tuesday, Washington time, Asō Tarō, grandson of a premier, a rich princeling (his family being the union of political royalty and big construction money), a miserable student ("lackluster" does not begin to describe his lack of school smarts), high-living bar-hopper will meet a much younger, dead serious, scholarly, accomplished man who in his own words is a "mutt" -- the son of cash-poor but gumption-rich pair of students, one from Kansas and the other from Kenya.

The man raised behind high walls meeting the man for whom walls are anathema.

What could possibly go wrong?

Image courtesy: The Asahi Shimbun
morning edition, February 24, 2009


wataru said...

Not only that, but Aso will probably try to show off his English to Obama, thereby chopping another 30 or 40 points off his IQ.

Lionel Dersot said...

The trip to Washington will be forgotten next week. But I did laugh reading your article which is welcome in the current gloom. Merci. Incidentally, the word verification to check I am no robot when sending this comment is "torpor".

wataru said...

I guess his English was even worse than I feared. The White House transcript has "unintelligible."
What an embarrassment!