Friday, November 7, 2008

God save us from the imbeciles

I was recently reading through a summary of the responses and congratulations sent to Barack Obama by various European leaders after Tuesday's election. They were saying things like "it was a brilliant victory" (Sarkozy), offering "sincere congratulations" (Brown), and expressing desire "to work together in search of opportunities and solutions to address common challenges" (Zapatero). Prime Minister Berlusconi rounded them out: "I can give him advice because I am older," a sentiment only slightly improved by its conclusion, "but I'll give the advice while I embrace him."

Later this week he told President Medvedev of Russia that Barack Obama "has all the qualities to get along well with you: he’s young, handsome and suntanned, so I think you can develop a good working relationship" (video at Corriere della Sera, via NYTimes). Berlusconi, himself not one to miss a tanning session, responded to criticism of his remark, "Are there really people who don’t understand it was a cute thing to say? God save us from the imbeciles. How can you take such a great compliment negatively?"

I imagine the tanned joke did not go over so well in Russia, either.


brett said...

I don't think I have ever said the word imbecile, but maybe I should. What an odd, nasty, little word. I am probably not prodigious enough to use the word properly though. I need to lead something or at least get a job first. Then I apparently need to hold some opinion with extraordinary confidence. But I am often too afraid of my own subjectivity to be too broadly confident in some opinion of mine--a late modern conundrum. Alas, I may never get to use the word imbecile very effectively. I feel slighted.

Swiss Ms. said...

ha! I, too, have the same problem having opinions. We are cut from the same cloth, Brett.

jenicrob said...

This guy Berlusconi is hilarious! What a character. I am glad you are keeping a close eye on his antics and reporting the highlights.