Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bush embarasses us again

Dear God, the end can't come soon enough. This is a video of Bush meeting the President of the Philipines, Gloria Arroyo. First, notice the body language - staring at the floor, squirming, slumping - could he be any less dignified or uncomfortable? And, of course, stumbling through a basic English sentence. But then he compliments Filipino Americans by noting that the chef at the White House is Filipino. He didn't mention that she's a woman. The LA Times has a nice piece about Cristeta "Cris" Comerford. Even when he's trying to be just a good host, Bush messes up. It's a nice gesture to mention his chef, but this is about the most awkward way possible to do it. His chef is obviously someone very close to him, but this is the most prominent Filipino American he can mention? How about something like this: "I'm sure President Arroyo will enjoy dinner at the White House - our chef is a Filipino American, Cris Comerford. She's really taught me to appreciate Filipino cuisine." He makes this about himself; "when I eat dinner at the White House." If you're going to try to be gracious, it's really helpful to give someone a compliment. "A really good cook?" Of COURSE she's a "really good cook." She's the White House chef! She's got to be one of the best cooks in the country! Paying a compliment is an art form - and we all know what George W. Bush thinks about art.

I got this from from Talking Points Memo, who got it from HuffPost. In all fairness, I have to point out a mistake on the part of HuffPost, which described her as "a Filipino member of his kitchen staff." She is NOT "a member of his kitchen staff." That's like calling the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs a grunt. She is the White House chef, which is a great honor. In a kitchen, the chef is the head honcho, and accorded a great deal of respect. If you're going to criticize Bush for his insensitivity, don't make the same mistake yourself. If Bush had made it clear that he appreciates his chef for her artistry, that would at least made it sound a little better. HuffPost, please don't compound Bush's error.

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