Oh, OK, wait a second…I think I get it.
It’s a “polite” thing, and by invoking the “Mister”, you’re deferring to his title as a head of state. That’s so impressively formal! We’ve got so much to learn from you Europeans.
President Bush, in his public statements on matters of great and non-controversial import, often makes sense. Then again, he does not. The ideas expressed therein will usually be very clear, very concise. Also, they will be very, very hard to decipher. When, on occasion, a matter of controversy is introduced in these contexts, Bush will leave himself little wiggle room for getting out of his assertions. Except when he leaves himself wiggle room for getting out of his assertions.
From Bush Denies U.S. Plans to Attack Iran, via the Associated Press, February 22, 2005:
“This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table,” Bush said after discussing the issue with European allies.
And earlier this year, in a similar vein, from President outlines role of his faith, via the Washington Times, January 12, 2005:
“I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you’re not equally as patriotic if you’re not a religious person,” Mr. Bush said. “I’ve never said that. I’ve never acted like that. I think that’s just the way it is.”
RELATED: The Washington Post‘s Dan Froomkin on Bush’s usage of “On the other hand” to convey variable meanings
An actual caption for this wire service image, by way of Agence France-Presse (take note of the so-called ‘snarky’ quotation marks):
First lady Laura Bush thanked US troops based in Germany for their work in the war on ‘terror,’ as anti-war protesters across the country geared up for her husband’s arrival (AFP/DDP/Martin Oeser)
Secretary: Alex Winter for you, Mr. Reeves.
Keanu Reeves: All right, put ‘im through.
Alex Winter: Ted Theodore Logan!
KR: Ha ha. What’s up, man?
KR: Funny. So, what’s up, Alex?
KR: Right, right. So, what’s goin’ on?
AW: Nothin’ bro. Just calling to congratulate you on the boffo Constantine box office, man. Congratulations.
KR: Oh, thanks. Yeah, it’s a good movie. We’re all really proud of it.
AW: Cool, cool. Did I ever tell you how much I loved that Matrix series? God, it was so good!
KR: Aw, I’m flattered, dude.
So, what’s up with you?
AW: Oh, you know me. Writing, auditioning, do my thing. I’m still in the game, you know. I mean, not in the Constantine type game, but you know it’s like a trade-off: you make those hundred million dollar flicks, but you gotta, like, get on that treadmill and sell it, promote it.
AW: Yeah, I’m totally happy where I am, you know? Remember when we were kids, man, and we’d dream about our careers between set-ups? God, we were so fucking naive, dude! I wanted to be the next David Lynch, you were gonna be the next Marlon Brando!
KR: Funny. Hey, Alex—
AW: And you said you’d be my Kyle MacLachlan and star in all my movies.
AW: So, any sidekick parts in your new flicks?
KR: No. Sorry, man.
AW: What about, like, secondary sort of—
KR: Alex, you know, the thing is, I’m taking some time off since I worked, like, nonstop since ’99.
AW: What about The Night Watchman?
KR: Alex, I gotta—
AW: What about Il Mare?
KR: Shoot, Alex. I’ve got a meeting and—
AW: Cool, cool. Let’s talk again later.
KR: Totally. Good to hear from you, man.
AW: Hey, do you know anything about the Lost Boys remake? Wouldn’t it be hilarious if I played the grandpa? Like, in age make-up, you know?
KR: Yeah, if I hear anything—
AW: I mean, I did age makeup in Bogus.
KR: Alex. I got people outside the door. Talk to you later?
AW: Yeah, yeah. Well, congrats again on Constantine. I mean, wow!
AW: Well, um, be excellent, Ted.
KR: Be excellent… Bill.
Earlier: Two Friends Talking: A One Act Play
You Do the Math: Harvard President Lawrence Summers
“Among his comments to a conference of economists last month, according to the transcript, Dr. Summers, a former secretary of the United States Treasury, compared the relatively low number of women in the sciences to the numbers of Catholics in investment banking, whites in the National Basketball Association and Jews in farming.”
–Furor Lingers as Harvard Chief Gives Details of Talk on Women, by Patrick D. Healy and Sara Rimer, The New York Times, Feb. 18, 2005
“U.S. President George W. Bush answers a question during a press conference at a White House office building, February 17, 2005. Bush on Thursday nominated John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as the new director of national intelligence who faces the tough job of improving the quality of intelligence from spy agencies that have been sharply criticized.” (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
“A Bird in Flight,” from Hand Shadows to Be Thrown upon the Wall, by Henry Bursill
low culture applauds President Bush’s nomination of Nicholas Negroponte to serve as intel chief. As founder and director of MIT’s Media Lab, Mr. Negroponte has done much to further all forms of digital media. His 1995 tome, Being Digital is a remarkably prescient distillation of the computer revolution. Most recently, he has pursued the development of a laptop computer that would sell for under $100. While Mr. Negroponte’s relationship to the intelligence community is as yet unclear, the President’s choice deserves accolades.
…he’d probably look a lot like his older brother Jason.
Comedy Gold: Iraq’s possible new Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jafari (via The Washington Post)
The Man Who Would Be Jafari: Andy Blitz (via Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
We can almost hear Blitz campaigning for Jafari now: “We… Want… Ibrahim… Jafari… To be Prime Minister of Iraq… To… Bring… Unity… And peace… And… I kinda look… Like him… And it… Would be funny… If I played him… On the show… But unity is the key… And my resemblance….”