Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obamao Mao Mao

Our illustrious Messiah-in-Chief made a fool of himself yesterday in Japan when he practically licked the emperor’s boots, and it’s more than likely he will do something similar in China on Monday, humiliating the United States in new ways that no one has ever dreamt of.

Meanwhile, China is busily preparing for President Obama’s visit, and a Chinese entrepreneur who marketed an “Obamao” T-shirt was promptly shut down by the authorities for his innovative idea:

Obamao T-shirt

I feel compelled to point out that this johnny-come-lately — or should I say Mingjie-come-lately? — is by no means the first to retail the “Obamao” meme:


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Yes, that’s right: Gates of Vienna was on it more than three weeks ago, thanks to the indiscretions of White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who waxed eloquent on the virtues of her favorite philosopher, Mao Tse-Tung.

It will be interesting to hear what pearls of wisdom are blurted out by our Dear Leader when he visits Beijing on Monday. Anyone want to go out on a limb and make a guess about what he might say?

Hat tip: Legal Insurrection, via Larwyn.


Unknown said...

"America's racist past has resulted in shameful episodes such as the Nanking massacre and the atom bomb dropped on oriental people. To this day, the racist campagin by my predessor and the racist American people behind the guise of consumer protection discriminates against Chinese manufacture hiding behind racist scare stories of lead in toys and whatnot. No more! Like my director of communications, I, Barrack 'The One' Obama, peace be upon me, pledge to wipe the slate clean of the ragtag bunch of racist white scum who cling to guns and religion and follow the exemple of that great compatriot of yours, Chairman Mao, in instigating a properly environmentally concious and richly politically diverse society and a new golden multilatteral age under the aegis of the UN, of which body, of course, you, my gracious hosts, are such shining stalwart members!

Seditious Blasphemer said...

"Since we all know I AM the President of the US, what I think is that, for your own good, China needs to keep buying our treasury bonds!

I also think that the American people are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the Chinese economy number one in the world.

Besides, we already have a nation wide network of FEMA concentration camps to ensure the American tax payers compliance with what I think is in their best interest. And I think that the American people will be alright with that.


[bows real low]"Obama"[/bows real low]

Henrik R Clausen said...

Treasury bonds?

Just as great as Eurozone bonds. Paper currencies are tied to each other, thus we don't see just how fast they're falling.

Professor L said...

Your distaste at Mr Obama's meeting with the Emperor of Japan ignores Japanese etiquitte (when in Rome people).

When you introduce yourself to someone, you will always bow. If they are of superior social position to you, you must bow lower (and you can bow more shallow if they are of inferior rank, as you can see the Emperor do so in the picture). The Emperor is, of course, at the apex of the Japanese social structure, and as such, you bow as low as you can to him (remember, not 70 years ago the position was considered divine).

Basically, it gets summed up in The Last Samurai - 'If he stands you must bow, if he bows you must bow lower.' Though it isn't quite the same now, basically, the idea still holds.

Oh, and before you criticise me for defending Obama, there is indeed such thing as being too polite (and someone who is is termed by the Japanese a 'polite idiot'). And yes, I do have some knowledge of Japanese language and culture, and not just from watching too much anime.

Professor L said...

I think I should qualify my previous remark by declaring myself an avowed monarchist, and frankly, no President or Prime Minister can ever outrank a monarch (of any rank), especially in the monarch's own country (Mr Cheney's greeting would have been considered almost rude, especially since he was vice president).

Or is a bit of deocrum and respect for others simply beyond the purview of the United States? The world can't be made into America, any more than it could have been made into England in the 18th Century. We have our own cultures, and maybe you'd better learn to respect them. Who knows - that respect might get reciprocated.

Baron Bodissey said...

LAW Wells --

I won't criticize you about your defense of Obama -- that's your prerogative.

But you're wrong about the significance of the bow. I don't have to know anything about Japanese customs to know that; all I have to do is look at photos of Dick Cheney, British Prime Ministers, Chinese leaders, and many other heads of state, all of whom shook hands with the Japanese emperor. A simple handshake was good enough.

I don't believe that Obama somehow knows the correct protocol when all those other seasoned statesman don't.

Obama is a callow fool, and his bow said, in effect, "you are my liege lord and I am deeply inferior to you." That's the real meaning.

Professor L said...

First of all, the way other have greeted the Emperor with a mere handshake is not sign that they are meeting an equal - it is a sign that they are proud (ahem, Seven Deadly Sins). Too proud to be proper gentlemen. Were a Holy Roman Emperor to meet the Japanese Emperor, it's another matter entirely. But Obama is a commoner, no matter which way you cut it.

As an Australian, I would show deference to a president. That does not make me American. So how does an American showing deference to foreign leaders who actually do outrank him makes that leader subservient?

Honestly Baron, I question your choice of name for this blog, since the Vienna you alude to was ruled by the Hapsburg Emperors. Would you condemn your president if he were to bow to their heirs, those who have done as you demand of those who do currently lead us?

And I'm not defending Obama per se - I'm defending proper decorum. One part of being a Tory means you believe in a bit of class and some manners. The Mad Monarchist puts it well enough:

Then again, you are American. You have a nasty habit of forgetting most of the world actually doesn't want to be like you.

Baron Bodissey said...

LAW Wells --

I have no such "nasty habit" and I resent being insulted in such a fashion. One more comment like that from you and I shall delete your future postings without even bothering to glance at them.

Proper decorum towards the Japanese emperor has been established by the precendents set by many foreign heads of state, including the Chinese, the Europeans, and previous American presidents. That decorum is simply to shake hands.

Obama's behavior was overkill born of a profound and embarrassing ignorance.

That's all I have to say.

Gryffilion said...

For someone who sets so much stock in old-fashioned Tory manners, you seem to be severely lacking in them, Wells. said...

1. The United states was formed specifically to get the people formerly of England out from under the irrational and often whimsically cruel heel of monarchs. It is crucial that no president of the United States ever bow to any monarch. It flies in the face of the very reason de etre of the USA in the first place. The people of the US are a people with a government and until recently, not the other way around.
Also, the obsequious bow by Obama to the Emporor of Japan, was done without any vetting of proper procedure of Japanese etiquette. In fact a case could be made albeit a poor one, that he was merely following proper diplomacy. But he was not. The act was without research, and an embarrassment to all. By all means feel free to live in a fantasy land of monarchs and chivalry. So long as these rules hold no real power they are lots of fun as indulgences and can give one a personal sense of moral superiority in holding nobility as valid. I am Canadian by the way. We also have a Queen. One who knows that silence is the better part of royalty. She does breed some mighty fine dogs though.
Here is a video of the bow and here is what the NYT had to say about a similar bow by Clinton towards the same office.

Gryffilion said...

Vlad, check this out. It was written by an Obama supporter:"Kyodo News is running his appropriate and reciprocated nod and shake with the Empress, certainly to show the president as dignified, and not in the form of a first year English teacher trying to impress with Karate Kid-level knowledge of Japanese customs."

X said...

If we're talking about precedence leading to bowing then et me ask this: The Japanese Emperor is still considered to be a god on earth, a divine emperor, whilst our Queen is merely appointed by divine right. In that case she's of a lower rank than the Emperor and should bow when she meets him according to the idea that people bow to their superiors. Yet, the Queen never bows to anyone. Ever. Lack of decorum?

Another thought to take home: Obama never bowed to Her Majesty.

X said...

An extra point I just thought of. Bowing to the Queen doesn't involve bending right at the waist unless you're getting a knighthood, and then you're kneeling as well anyway. The typical bow is lean forward and duck your head. At most a half bend at the waist, enough to lower your eyes. A sign of respect without being obsequious. Obama completely abased himself to the emperor and to the Saudi king. Completely. If someone were to bow like that to the Queen there'd be a scandal.

Professor L said...

My apologies for offence caused, Baron. This is your blog, and I do not begrudge you the right to ignore me.

Still, I feel that my comments are fairly apt, at least for your criticism of the President's action. Many of those who simply shake hands with the Emperor are, to my mind, motivated more by ideology and nationalism; ideology in that the idea of respect to recieved authority is anathema to them, and nationalism in the basis that it is basically lese majeste to a nation (though how a democratically elected president can claim to be representative of an entire nation, a good chunk of which didn't support him, is to my mind one of the great paradoxes of the modern republic). Both motivations, as I see it, undermine the institution, and Obama has done right by my monarchist tendencies. If you disagree, that's your perogative.

That others have shaken hands with the President means nothing to me - it's a bad precedent to my mind. Frankly, though I hold to my guns, you can very easily call him a polite idiot.

Vlad, I refer you to this transcript to consider and reflect on those cruel and irrational injuries claimed by the revolutionaries:

Mr Dawson - as both are reigning monarchs, neither the Emperor nor the Queen would bow to each other. That there is an order of precedence among monarch is nothing new - Queen Victoria was crowned Empress of India in order to prevent her being outranked by her daughter who would become German Empress. However, I have never heard of monarchs bowing to one another in the modern age (unless it's the Pope. Different matter).

The difference in bows is also something purely cultural. A polite nod of the head is basically the same as a bow in Japan, even if the latter seems quite formal to us.

Oh, and the Emperor hasn't been considered Divine since 1945.

X said...

Our rules are our rules, and the Americans have their rules as is their right. One of their rules is that their president does not bow to any foreign ruler, no matter what their status. The closest any president came to it was Clinton's visit to Japan, where he bowed his head to the Emperor. The Emperor returned the favour with a toast.

Presidents don't bow and the Emperor doesn't toast, but on that occasion they did. That was the action of two equals making a mutual gesture of respect. Obama's bow was an inch away from picking open the Emperor's fly with his teeth. There was no respect there. It wasn't diplomatic, any more than his boot-kissing the king of Saudi Arabia.

And that crack about nationalism? Yes! Let them have their national pride! No leader bows to any other unless that leader feels his nation is inferior to the nation he's bowing to.

The rules of monarchy don't apply to people who don't believe in the idea of monarchy. They might accept that monarchs exist and treat them with the respect due to any other world leader but that doesn't mean they're going to follow the rules monarchies follow for each other.

Professor L said...

Well, I'll say this much - sleep is a great cure-all.

Baron - my hat is now consumed. My words were contemptuous. Though a common perception, it is one you didn't necessarily allude to, and one that did not need to be raised. The comment against you is withdrawn, and you have my apologies.

Everyone - monarchy is obviously an issue about which I am passionate. I don't ask your agreement. I'm happy to agree to disagree on the point at hand, and I will not post again.

[That's what I get for posting after midnight]

Baron Bodissey said...

LAW Wells --

Thank you; apology accepted. Your revised attitude makes you a welcome commenter here in the future.

Civil disagreement is not only acceptable; it is preferable -- it makes the conversation more interesting.

Gryffilion said...

You may consider my earlier comment retracted as well, LAW Wells. It seems that Tory manners are alive and well after all. Cheers.

Tin said...

Hey, don't you like free or at least freer trade? As president of the United States, it is Obama's job to open and better diplomatic relations to other nations, especially ones we've relatively little direct contact with. Opening this door will open more trade opportunities and quiet many fears of confrontation with China. Confrontation may still happen, but we now have some added grounds for mitigating it. The Chinese people love him. Even if you don't (I'm pretty mixed about him myself), that's still a good thing for us. If they like Obama, they like America.

Tin said...

Sorry to revisit this post so long after it's been closed, I didn't read the timestamps.
But just to clarify my last post while I'm at it, I was talking more about trade relations with China and any greater future potential. As for Japan, personally I think it was a little excessive.

And, even if this was from a week ago now, about democracy vs. monarchy, I can honestly say I believe in both. The president stands for his people, as does a monarch. Monarchs are distinguished by their line, but presidents by their actions. So I don't think it's going too far to say that they are diplomatic equals, even if not social.