Thursday, April 30, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Separated by a Common Language: Competing Heads of State

I was in Aberdeen in December of 2012 when the Sandy Hook shootings took place in Newtown, Connecticut. In fact, I not-so-fondly remember being lectured about Canada's sensible gun control by CN Slapshot after we went as a group to see the first Hobbit film. Anyway, I'll leave politics aside. While I was in Scotland, a lot of political posturing took place in which the White House was pushing for tighter gun control, and Republicans were resisting it. According to the folks at Know Your meme:
During an interview with New Republic on January 27th, 2013, President Obama was asked if he had ever fired a gun, to which he answered that he goes skeet shooting at Camp David frequently. Four days later, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker began investigating these claims and noted that it could not find any proof of Obama having participated in skeet shooting. In response to this criticism, the White House released an official photograph of the President skeet shooting at Camp David via their official Flickr account on February 2nd, 2013, along with a caption requesting that the photograph not be manipulated in any way.
One of my favorites was this image, in which President Obama with a shotgun is juxtaposed against a photo of Queen Elizabeth II firing an SA80 infantry rifle. Many Americans will recognize Her Majesty's comment as a derisive jab at President Obama. Shortly before I left Scotland in late 2013, I was in The Director's office with him and Critical Mass, and for the life of me, I could not convey to either of them what the context of that particular comment. They thought it was meant to deride Queen Elizabeth II by referring to her with an indelicate moniker. Both of them were fairly critical of President Obama - The Director once referred to President Obama as "strategically illiterate" - and I'm confident that, had I been able to get the joke across, they probably would have been fairly amused. As such, it was unfortunate that they were unable to enjoy the joke because we were separated by a common language.