RSS
Obama’s iPod for the Queen
Was giving Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II an mp3 player a protocol gaffe?
A

fter being “panned” by the British press for giving British Prime Minister Gordon Brown 25 DVDs that don’t work on British players, said David Saltonstall in the New York Daily News, President Obama clearly tried “to play catchup” when he and his wife met Queen Elizabeth II. Obama presented the Queen with a rare songbook signed by Broadway composer Richard Rogers and a “generously loaded iPod,” with videos of her U.S. visits and 40 show tunes.

Really, an iPod? said Allahpundit in Hot Air. Apparently “nothing says ‘special relationship’ like a gadget you can buy in every mall in the western world.” And the “inevitable punchline” is that the Queen already has an iPod, which she bought in 2005. “Seriously, none of this merits a firing or three in the protocol office?”

The “Emily Posts of the right” think this is a major gaffe? said John Cole in Balloon Juice. At least Obama didn’t give the Queen a “sly wink” and suggest that she was 200 years old, like President Bush did in 2007.

To be fair, “it’s kind of hard to find something that’s both useful and new for a queen,” said Jonathan Chait in The New Republic online. But that this is even garnering press—that “Obama’s gift-giving practices have actually damaged in some small way the transatlantic alliance”—just shows how silly the gift-exchange “racket” is.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week