We Are Not Amused: The First Family Gives IPod to Queen

210px-elizabeth_ii_greets_nasa_gsfc_employees_may_8_2007_editThe Obama assault on English sensibilities continued yesterday with another bizarre gift of an IPod to the Queen — leaving many in that country wondering if the Obamas are trying to be insulting. If you have been following this impressive and growing litany of social faux pas, the Obamas shocked both Americans and English citizens with remarkably cheap and thoughtless gifts to the family of Prime Minister Brown on his recent visit. Then the White House distributed hundreds of briefings on England for the current trip that read like England for Anglophobes. Previously, the Obamas refused to accept an offer of a famous bust of Winston Churchill from the English government (which extended the loan of the piece after the Bush Administration).

Just for the record, the Queen has an IPod (though there are reports that she wanted a replacement). And, as for the box of DVDs dumped on the Browns, they don’t even work on European machines.

President Obama did include a book of songs signed by composer Richard Rodgers, but the IPod was the focus of the exchange and the focus of the ire of the press.

Frankly, I am less critical of Michele Obama’s mistake in touching the Queen in violation of protocol. While one must respect such customs, I find the whole untouchable royalty thing to be a bit much. However, the lack of tact shown in these gifts is really becoming a terrible embarrassment and the treatment of our English friends is bizarre. Clearly, with the sizable staff at the White House and copious budget to airlift 500 people on this trip, we probably could have come up with something a bit more significant and symbolic from the United States of America. I have to agree with the English reaction again.

For the full story, click here and here.

34 thoughts on “We Are Not Amused: The First Family Gives IPod to Queen”

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  4. Jill,
    As I’ve said before you certainly have a right to be critical of President Obama and his policies. Your initial comment on this through though is totally unfair and I must say reflects your personal bias (not bigotry but political bias). I’m sure you are not old enough to have lived through the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcolm X to name the most prominent ones, as an adult. Medgar Evers and Fred Hampton also come to mind.

    Yes this President travels within a wide security bubble, as did the Presidents before him after 1964. Personal chefs to cook his own food? Right on. Poisoning is one of the oldest methods used to assassinate heads of State. I want this man protected because the likelihood of an assassination attempt in unfortunately high. This is not the trappings of imperialism, this is the reality of a world where fanatics of both a political and religious stripes want this man dead. One only has to see clips of quotes from the likes of Rush, Beck and O’Reilly to get an idea of the hate that is festering out there from Americans. That doesn’t even begin to address the coup that killing him would be for Islamic

    I believe this comment is beneath your usually sharp and measured viewpoint, even though you and I disagree on some things Obama, I respect your usual common sense. This whole “controversy” is indicative of the lack of real journalism by the MSM and we certainly don’t have to dignify its’ insignificance in the face of the problems average human beings encounter.

  5. For crying out loud, the Queen is just an ordinary human being! She’s not better than anyone else just because she was born into royalty.

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about! I don’t see why people think she deserves more respect than the next person. I personally have no reason to respect her. Especially if she thinks her backside should always be kissed and pampered.

    I’ll tell you who I do have respect for, those men and women who are in Ken Burn’s movie, “The War”. Now those are people who deserve the upmost respect….way before the Queen of England does.

  6. Am I the only one who thinks the whole idea of gifts is stupid in the first place? These people have everything. If they lack something they want, they can easily get it. Tradition, blah, blah, blah… Just do your job. Is it your birthday? Christmas? No? Then buy your own crap.

  7. There are those of us who think that the exchange of gifts between nations should have some more ‘elegance’ or ‘historic significance’ behind them. I doubt the president spends much time thinking about gifts he will be giving to foreign dignitaries (at least I hope he doesn’t) and that this is just evidence of some goofy choices made by his own protocol/PR people.

    However, if we looked back through history it’s also quite possible we would discover that there were many gifts exchanged throughout the centuries which were considered to be ‘cutting edge’ for their time. There was a time, after all, when a player-piano or a telescope was considered high-tech for the era, so perhaps the iPod gift is our day’s version of the now historic player-piano.

    This gift-thing really is no big deal. I sort of like the idea of the Queen of England whispering to one of her people that she’s surrounded by all this old stuff which people keep giving her that really doesn’t ‘do’ anything, and that what she’d really like is one of those iPods she’s been hearing about …

  8. Yes, an Ipod with showtunes on it, and a rare, valuable autographed item from a Broadway legend.

    It is infuriating to read Mr. Turley start out a sentence with “The Obama assault on English sensibilities…”

    It’s too bad that the professor didn’t do his homework before writing this drivel. Here are some clues as to why President Obama is anything but thoughtless:

    1. The Queen has visited the sets of a number of British soap operas including Coronation Street, East Enders and Emmerdale.

    2. As a young girl, the Queen acted in a number of Pantomimes during World War Two including playing the part of Prince Florizel in Cinderella in 1941. These pantomimes took place every year in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle.

    3. In November 2004, the Queen invited the cast of Les Miserables in the West End to perform for French President Jacques Chirac at Windsor Castle. It was the first time the cast of a West End musical had performed at a Royal residence.

    4. During her reign, the Queen has received many unusual gifts including live animals. The more unusual animals have been placed in the care of the London zoo, among them jaguars and sloths from Brazil, and two black beavers from Canada. The Queen has also received gifts of pineapples, eggs, a box of snail shells, a grove of maple trees and 7kg of prawns.

    Source: Buckingham Palace

    The Queen can buy or have anything she wants. I doubt she has much use for beavers from Canada, but I guarantee she adored the gifts President Obama gave her, and I guarantee that his gifts reminded her that she was once (and forever) Cinderella.

    So much for thoughtlessness, Professor and others.

  9. An Ipod?

    Why not give the Queen a Pac-Man t-shirt while you’re at it?


  10. Jill,
    I did read the entire Guardian article. All I saw was normal craziness to protect and take care of a President. If this is imperialism, it has been going on for decades.

  11. Jill,

    Are you suggesting that the secret service should cease to do their jobs because Obama is on an overseas diplomatic mission? Much is being made of the 500 person entourage accompanying him without taking into consideration how much really goes on at G-20 summits. The heads of state aren’t the only ones conducting business.

    As for the imperialism charge, I’m not sure you have a leg to stand on.

  12. doglover,

    What are the real reasons for all the complaints against Obama?


    Did you have a chance to read the entire Guardian story? There is a lot there to think about. Do we really want our president this divorced from reality and this into military might and imperialism? For my part, I do not.

  13. The gift issue is a non-issue. The IPOD was actually a very nice gift with alot of thought put into it. The book was also a very nice book so I don’t get the outrage? The large number of Secret Service and the rest of the entourage are normal for the President.

  14. I think the Queen would find a Wii or an XBox 360 much more enjoyable.

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