The Null Device

Presidential present falls flat

On his recent trip to Washington, British PM Gordon Brown gave President Obama a penholder carved from the timbers of the sister ship of the one whose wood formed the desk of the Oval Office. In return, Obama gave Brown a box set of classic American films, seemingly not realising that Brown can't actually watch them because they're Region 1, and Number 10's amenities presumably don't extend to a £20 off-brand multi-region DVD player. And, of course, with both Brown and Obama being obliged to give lip service to maximalist interpretations of copyright laws, neither could publicly condone circumventing lawful restrictions such as DVD region coding. Oops!

Jeremy Clarkson, meanwhile, has a rather witty take on it, which turns into a rubbishing of the unequal terms of Britain's "special relationship" with the US:

Gordon gave Obama Barrack a penholder carved from the timbers of an antislavery ship. The sister ship, in fact, of the one that was broken up and turned into the desk in the Oval Office. Barrack, meanwhile, gave Brown The Graduate on DVD. Which smacks of an “Oh, Christ. What shall we get him?” moment at the local petrol station.

There are 2 comments on "Presidential present falls flat":

Posted by: mark Tue Mar 24 22:40:47 2009

It *would* help if Mr Clarkson knew Barack Obama's name. But then, maybe that's his point ...

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/acb/ Tue Mar 24 23:29:56 2009

I suspect he's just being mischievous and/or waggish, much like his reference to "Johnny Frenchman".

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