Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I told you Bush was besotted with Angela Merkel, but his unsolicited neck massage (his "love attack," as it's being called in the German press) really proves it. If you can't see the pictures or video at that link, try Wonkette, AMERICAblog, or Crooks and Liars.

Why is he fascinated with her? I don't want to creep you out too much, but I'll try a little amateur Freud:

Fig. 1: Merkel.
Fig. 2: Mom.

All together now: Eeeeuuuwww.

Seriously, I think Shakespeare's Sister has it right:

This is the ultimate in rude and presumptuous behavior. I've worked with men who feel compelled to touch me in exactly this way, with one even responding to my terse request to back off with a more determined shoulder rub and the comment, "But you're so tense." To which I replied, "That's because you won't get your fucking hands off of me." He backed away then with his hands in the air and a big, "Geez!" like I was a bitch. What an asshole I was for not considering my body community property like he did.

As Lindsay notes, "Every woman will recognize the guy who sidles up and starts 'casually' giving you a backrub without even looking at you, because he wants to preserve deniability in case you freak out. Like any practiced groper, Bush stares right past Merkel as she recoils from his touch. The play fails, but he just moves on, eyes averted, like it's her problem. ('Oh my God, there's a hysterical woman displaying inappropriate behavior! I'll just pretend I don't notice her egregious gaffe.')" Exactly right. A woman who doesn't welcome being groped is always the one with the problem -- not the groper.

But don't expect anyone to talk like this in the mainstream press (with the possible exception of Maureen Dowd). If this gets covered at all, I guarantee the press will walk it back for the president and make it seem as innocuous as possible -- or possibly portray it as a sign of some positive character trait. (Don't laugh -- they'll find a way.)


UPDATE: I also like James Wolcott's take:

Perhaps it was nothing more than Bush's usual privileged-snot appropriation at play. A symptom of the same syndrome that has him hanging nicknames on people, and kissing bald men on the head. Reports in the Financial Times and elsewhere have indicated that Bush is hoping/planning to groom Merkel as the US's number one ally to fill the spot of the fading Tony Blair... Bush has always been a taker, not a giver. He wasn't giving Merkel a massage, he was taking possession of her, letting everybody know, "This little lady's mine."

But in addition, I think it's about the sex.

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