Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reporting on Obamania in Europe

Here's yet another item I cribbed from Taranto and 'Best of the Web'. It's from a BOTW reader who is commenting on the fawning coverage of Obama's visit to Germany.

Here's the AP's opening paragraph.

In this city where John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all made famous speeches, Obama will find himself stepping into perhaps another iconic moment Thursday as his superstar charisma meets German adoration live in shadows of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate.

(An aside: I don't know about "superstar" charisma. I find him rather vapid, completely lacking in substance. Methinks the media is projecting a bit too much.)

Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton... Huh? Clinton?

Read on. It's hilarious.

The Associated Press story you quote refers to famous speeches delivered in Berlin by John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

We all remember the first two speeches, but what's Clinton doing in that group? Am I the only one who's forgotten the vivid imagery of 1994's "Chisels of Liberty" speech? Should I be embarrassed that I hadn't realized that those immortal (and pithy) words known to the most casual student of history, "Nichts wird uns aufhalten. Alles ist moeglich. Berlin ist frei," were actually first spoken by our 42nd president? Heck, I thought that was from Lincoln.

Or maybe the the AP is referring to Clinton's equally memorable 1998 remarks honoring the Berlin Airlift, the oft-quoted "Berlin Is Still Berlin" speech. If only I had a nickel for every time subsequent presidents, commencement speakers, and just plain lovers of the spoken word have borrowed that great line!

It might even be in danger of becoming a cliché. Sure it's an instantly identifiable and resonant phrase, but do we really need even one more newspaper headline using it for a play on words? "Cleveland Is Still Cleveland." "Beckham Is Still Beckham." "Bacon Is Still Bacon." Yeah, yeah, we get it. I imagine it's even worse in Germany.

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