Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What didn't the IOC like?

I mentioned George Will's column on Twitter, but I'm not sure if anyone is looking at the box on the right or if Twitter's really worth it. Will takes the Obamas apart for their speeches in Copenhagen last week. Will says that the Obamas talked mostly about themselves in their bid to entice the IOC to award the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago.
In the 41 sentences of her remarks, Michelle Obama used some form of the personal pronouns "I" or "me" 44 times. Her husband was, comparatively, a shrinking violet, using those pronouns only 26 times in 48 sentences. Still, 70 times in 89 sentences conveyed the message that somehow their fascinating selves were what made, or should have made, Chicago's case compelling.
Will doesn't leave it with the vanity charge either. He asks that the White House speech writers eschew the "egregious cliches" that seem to be overlooked by the "tin-eared employees in the White House speechwriting shop."
The president told the Olympic committee that: "At this defining moment," a moment "when the fate of each nation is inextricably linked to the fate of all nations" in "this ever-shrinking world," he aspires to "forge new partnerships with the nations and the peoples of the world."

Good grief. The memory of man runneth not to a moment that escaped being declared "defining" -- declared such by someone seeking to inflate himself by inflating it. Also, enough already with the "shrinking" world, which has been so described at least since Magellan set sail, and probably before that. And by the way, the "fate" of -- to pick a nation at random -- Chile is not really in any meaningful sense "inextricably linked" to that of, say, Chad.
I know a lot of people will dismiss this - the Olympics pitch - as not all that important, believing that maybe the President didn't give it his best shot. That's possible, but that only confirms that he shouldn't have gone in the first place.