Sunday, February 22, 2009

Obama-mania is still alive and well in Britain

Well, folks, it's been a while, hasn't it? I took an unannounced hiatus. It's not that I haven't had anything to say; it's that I lacked the time, energy or motivation to. It's a curious and ironic thing that the one thing we writers occasionally fear and can't be bothered with is writing.
Anyhow, the other day somebody at the bus stop turned to me and said, out-of-the-blue, "Not happy with your new President, then?"
How the hell does he know that?, I wondered, but I decided not to elaborate. Instead, I simply asked, "What makes you say that?"
"Well, you've got the American flag hanging upside down on your coat there," he informed me. I wear a small American flag pin on the lapel of my sportscoat-like jacket, and when I looked at it, it had indeed been displayed upside down. Accidentally, of course.
"Thanks for that," I said. "I wasn't even aware."
The man smiled at me, as if in relief. "So you are happy with your new President then?"
I shrugged. "I'm happy to give him his first 100 days. But, to be honest, I didn't vote for him."
"Ah," the man replied, looking a bit downcast again. "Now that's a bit of a shame."
Obama-mania has yet to die down here. Curiously, despite opinion polls regularly showing that 70 percent of the British public would like to pull out of Afghanistan, they are still in rapture of the man who remains committed to fighting the Taliban. It seems that the man can do no wrong here. Picking a tax-dodger for his Cabinet? Piffle! Everyone dodges taxes 'ere, matey.
It's gotten so crazy that the supermarket chain Tesco is now honoring Mr. Obama. See for yourself:

Here's a close-up:

See that? They've got Barack blowing a trumpet to summon the angels to his presence. 
The only thing I fear more than this is the fact that the British may officially be losing the time-honored art of the understatement.