The Plastic Hippo

July 10, 2017

Ich bein ein Hamburger

Filed under: History,Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 2:47 am
Tags: , , , ,

Not Colonel Sanders

Perhaps the most enduring and delightfully amusing myths generated by the cold war, is the continued belief that a President of the United States stood before a crowd in West Berlin and described himself as a jam-filled doughnut.

Few cold war orators could work a crowd like John F Kennedy even when the crowd spoke a different language and his assertion in 1963 that he, along with other free men would be proud to call themselves citizens of Berlin went down a storm with the German-speaking audience. Only non-German translators raised an eyebrow at the reference to deep-fried confectionary by completely missing the point that people in Berlin call jam-filled doughnuts Pfannkuchen and people in, for example, Hamburg call Pfannkuchen “Berliners”. Imagine JFK announcing to a New York crowd; “I am a weekly news and comment magazine celebrating the cultural richness of New York City”.

Food related political sophistry is mercifully rare but we can surely look forward to the day when a politician supports a government in Copenhagen by declaring themselves to be a Danish Pastry or “Je suis une Quiche Lorraine” every time France needs a bit of solidarity. In the United Kingdom, headline writers could enjoy a field day every time Jeremy Corbyn speaks in a West Manchester enclave with “Ich bin ein Eccles Cake” or in Derbyshire with “I am a Bakewell Tart”. Len McCluskey and John McDonald along with Wayne Rooney can proclaim with confidence; “Ich bin Ein Scouse”.

Kennedy`s Berlin speech in 1963 came two years after the construction of the infamous wall and less than a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis very nearly led to the mutually assured destruction of Planet Earth. Five months after the speech, Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas.

Some 24 years later, another President of the United States stood before the Brandenburg Gate and urged the then Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” What is Interesting is that Reagan did not enjoy the adoration of West Berliners in the way that Kennedy did. There were protests against his presence in Berlin and some thought his speech to be provocative and “un-presidential”. Reagan left office in January 1989 and in the following November, the gates were opened and the wall started to come down. Berlin and Germany would again be unified and by 1991, following glasnost and perestroika, the Soviet Union collapsed resulting in Yeltsin and then Putin.

Observing the current President of the United States and the way he operates is something of a guilty indulgence as rather than listening for nuggets of wisdom, we watch through finger covered eyes for the inevitable gaff or for a monumental breech of manners, taste and decency. It comes as no surprise that the President was mostly kept away from microphones and was spared the ordeal of a press conference. With engagements in Frankfurt and Hamburg but mercifully avoiding a Bratwurst festival in Nuremberg, Trump`s PR team had enough to deal with over and above inappropriate food jokes. The eagerly awaited first handshake between President Trump and President Putin passed off without a hitch although some of us anticipated some form of alpha male arm-wrestling causing both combatants to fall off the sofa and roll about all over the floor. This, sadly, was not to be and we can only imagine the conversation:
Donald: Hey, is it true you rigged my election?
Vlad: Niet
Donald: Are you going to rig elections in the future?
Vlad: Niet
Donald: Okay, that`s cool. Hey, wanna form a Joint Impenetrable Cyber Security Unit?
Vlad: Niet, I have your passwords already. Just keep the cheques coming.

The main outcome of the day when Donald met his maker is that the CIA, the FBI and the NSA are not to be trusted by the President of the USA whereas the President of the Russian Federation is an honest sort and an all-round nice guy. Another outcome is the renewal of the claim that man-made climate change is a myth and that the Paris Climate Accord is a direct threat to American jobs. With Trump and Putin as allies, or at least partners in some unholy alliance based on mutual distrust and the possession of potentially damaging information, then the rest of the world needs to wake up and smell the Chicken Kiev.

It is unlikely that Trump would address an American audience by stating; “I am a fortnightly satirical magazine that usually features Alfred E Neuman on the cover.” However Mad Magazine recently published a disturbingly accurate comparison between Donald Trump and burger. It claimed that both share an unnatural orange hue and appeal to the most basic of appetites that disregard health or self-control. Both might be interesting at first but a continual diet of mechanically rendered reconstituted bull is not a viable diet. Mad concludes that neither will make America great again and that both are the perfect, depressing embodiment of America at the moment.

Trump is obviously not a hamburger. He is, though, very, very dangerous.

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