Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama Bows to the King

The Obamas have a new puppy. His name is Bo. He's a Portuguese water dog. And he's all we've been hearing about.

Something we're not hearing about? President Obama subjugating himself and the United States to the king of Saudi Arabia. Um, did the leader of the free world seriously just bow down to King Abdullah? (No, no, no. He was stooping to shake the king's hand, says the White House). Hmm...funny, because the bow happens after Obama has already taken hold of the king's child-sized mit. And it's a pretty deep bow, too - are we sure Obama wasn't aiming to kiss Abdullah's feet? Oh, nevermind. It doesn't matter. It was just a sign of respect (not the mutual kind - like in Asian traditions - mind you; the king certainly did not bow in return). But c'mon, a bow is no big deal! Well, if that's true...then why is the White House going to such pains to deny it was a bow?

The media's minions will scoff and say, "Why are you getting carried away by a bow, for crying out loud? Aren't there more important things for the news to report?!" Oh, you mean Bo the new puppy? Hmm, I don't know...if President Bush struggling to open two doors in China was deemed national news, then surely President Obama bowing down to the king of Saudi Arabia - father of 22 - deserves a little attention. No? I guess not...

Women - are we feeling nervous yet? Our president just bowed down to the king of one of the world's most oppressed female populations; a place where women are restricted, segregated, and deprived basic human rights (such as the right to vote, or, say, leave the house without asking their husband's permission). Our president honored that man and his country (and their billions of dollars) with a bow.

In my experience, after three summers of tutoring Saudi boys at English summer camps in Switzerland (their sisters, of course, stayed at home behind the "walls" - as the boys explained), I've learned that Saudis are obsessed with two things: 1.) gestures and perceptions, and 2.) power and submission. So...thank you, Obama, for your gesture of submission, and for giving all my old students a moment to celebrate: to jump on their desks and belt out victorious, manly chants (as they did at every single camp social).

Media, whoa. Bo is a bigger story than this? Really? You know you're journalists and not Obama's personal PR machine, right?
I'm going to have to give you a twenty-minute TIME OUT, Media. In a room full of celebrating and victorious Saudi boys.

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