Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sometimes A Shoulder Rub Is Just A Shoulder Rub - And Yet Still Completely Inappropriate

So, George Bush has been caught unscripted again, this time giving a squeeze to the German Chancellor.

Some idiot women - on both sides of the aisle - are using Bill Clinton to draw bullshit analogies:

GOP commentator and Fox News political analyst Karen Hanretty said the outraged reaction shows how "President Bush just can't win."

"Aren't these the same women who have been angry about cowboy diplomacy?" she asked. "Do they want a kinder, more sensitive Bush -- or a cowboy? Once again, there's no pleasing women," she said. "Give them the cowboy and they want Alan Alda.''

Hanretty went on to say that "these women who would criticize the prez for making a friendly gesture are the same women who refused to say anything about Bill Clinton when he was accused of sexually harassing Paula Jones. Where were they when Katherine Willey was grieving for her dead husband and Bill Clinton was rubbing them in all the wrong places?''
Compare that with:

"You could use this video for sexual harassment training. It's something you'd show and say, "No one in a boss' position should be doing that," Whetstone said.
And with:

San Francisco Chronicle reader Christine Curtis was outraged and wrote in to say the video was a scary look into Bush.

Merkel "recoiled as I would also do if someone came up from behind me and started touching me,'' Curtis said.
Now, for starters, despite the fact that Bush, a man, put his hands on the Chancellor, a woman, it's not a sexually charged situation. He may have felt freer to give the overly-friendly gesture because the Chancellor was a woman. Or he may not have given it another thought.

Take away the gendered aspects of the discussion and we're still left with an example of the President making a complete ass out of himself by failing to comport himself according to normal standards of conduct. Perhaps if Bush had stopped to consider our Germanic roots, he'd have stopped short of the more Latin-based physical expression of interpersonal bonding.

Then again, isn't this the President who, rather proudly, has little pre-election experience traveling internationally?

As for the comment that the video could be used in sexual harassment training: only if we really want to impress upon the world that we feel we are absolutely superior. Bush insulted - or at least surprised the hell out of - a peer leader. He certainly isn't the Chancellor's boss. He's not in a boss position - though perhaps his behaviour implies that he thinks he is.

The most likely explanation is that Bush meant no ill-will, no implicit invalidation of either Germany's or a woman's place at the table, no Machiavellian exertion of world dominance via humiliation. Bush probably meant to give his buddy a friendly, break-time hello squeeze. The great sadness, of course, stems from the likely explanation that our President is far too simple, fall to fallen-up in the world to be expected to comport himself any better in social settings.

As the article also highlights - the world is less bothered by Bush saying "shit" than by the fact that he said "shit" with a mouth full of it.

Forget sensitivity to mid east culture - Bush continually proves his disregard for ours.

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