Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mary Steyn on Arnold & Graz

The ever-amusing and pointed Steyn writes in the Chicago Sun-Times on the Arnold Schwarzenegger / Graz kerfuffle:

But, mysteriously, the governor's severing of ties with his home town seemed to distress them. The mayor, Siegfried Nagl, begged Arnold to reconsider, only to be told that the ring was already in the mail. It seems that, aside from Kurt Waldheim, there haven't been a lot of internationally marketable Austrians in recent years, and somehow the campaign to rename it the Tookie Williams football stadium has lost its momentum. The former Crip gang leader would certainly look very fetching on a souvenir dirndl or baggy gangsta-style lederhosen, and no doubt you could have a range of commemorative dishes on the cafeteria menu -- say, a 7-Eleven schnitzel, to mark Tookie's murder of 26-year old store clerk Albert Lewis Owens, followed by a Brookhaven strudel, to honor the motel at which he murdered an elderly Taiwanese family for a hundred bucks, all washed down with a Muthaf - - ka apfelsaft, named for the term he used to threaten the jurors who convicted him. Should do wonders for the Austrian tourism industry.

Schwarzenegger is no conservative and has been a disappointing governor. But his letter is magnificent, and the pleasure it affords only heightened by the hilarious Guardian headline to its report on the "controversy": "Schwarzenegger Faces 'Tookie' Backlash In Austria." No, he doesn't. With one typewritten sheet, he's ended the whole damn backlash, and usefully offered a good basic template for U.S.-EU relations that recognizes the basic differences between the two: Americans have responsibilities, Europeans have attitudes. Indeed, the EU has attitudes in inverse proportion to its ability to act on them. It's able to strut and preen on the world stage secure in the knowledge that nobody expects it to do anything about anything. If entire nations want to embrace self-congratulatory holier-than-thou gesture politics as a way of life, why not give them a hand? The politicians of Graz want Tookie to be a domestic political issue? Now he is, if only for the tourist industry.

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