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Body Language

And speaking of German-American (mis)communications, apparently, welcoming Bush to Stralsund with a barrel of herring and a dinner of wild boar (a big hit with the president – after Bush mentioned it 4 times during a press conference, a German reporter asked, “Apart from the pig, Mr. President, what sort of insights have you been able to gain as regards East Germany?”) gave him an entirely wrong idea of the level of intimacy between Angela Merkel and himself.

How else to explain what happened at G8 (and I’m not referring to the open mic incident with Blair)?

Click here to see stills of the whole incident. The Bild Zeitung, not a rag I put much stock in by the way, titles this whole episode a “Love Attack” on Merkel by Bush, but that strikes me as the wrong word. This is not about love, or respect, or intimacy, unless you mean the liberties certain kinds of men think they can  take with any woman’s body.

Frankly, it’s creepy. It’s bad enough he thinks he can just walk up to a woman he knows and “surprise” her by touching her in a semi-intimate manner – how well do they really know each other anyway? – but this is the German chancellor, the first female German chancellor, and the only female head of state at that summit. And Bush goes and treats her like that?  What a putz.

Bush always came across as arrogant to me in all the press conferences, debates (such as there were) and TV clips I’ve seen of him, and this just crystallizes it. He is being arrogant and disrespectful and doing it in an entirely casual manner, highlighting how utterly unaware he is of any cultural, political, or interpersonal implications (or maybe he just doesn’t care to think about that stuff). Didn’t anyone ever teach him not to treat people in such a cavalier manner?

Oh wait, I guess he’s answered that question many times over already. Never mind.

For a further, excellent, female perspective on this, check out Majikthise :  “Every woman will recognize the guy who sidles up and starts “casually” giving you a backrub without even looking at you, because he wants to preserve deniability in case you freak out.”

Yep. Or the guy on the bus who, while ostensibly “sleeping,” will just as “casually” start letting his hand fall on your thigh, timed to coincide with the motion of the bus.  Not that I would have encountered this. Certainly not more than once.

Yep, Mr. Bush is leading by shining example here. Because if the leader of the free world can grope Frau Merkel, a head of state, then why should that guy on the bus show any restraint?


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