It is rare that anything disturbing in human relationships is purely accident. How often I myself have attempted to dismiss a slight, telling myself that it was oversight on the part of the aggrieving party, only to have my worst fears confirmed in the end: It was deliberate. It carried meaning. Thus it is that with so much of the blogosphere in Anerica and Britain making much of Obama's alleged snub of Prime Minister Gordon Brown this past week I am compelled to look for the a priori explanation: What did Obama think, that he acted - or failed to act, in some aspects - as he did?
One theory, a pretty weak one: We know Obama is influenced by his wife. Most people are influenced by their partners, so I do not care to speak in terms of gender here. It is known that Michelle Obama has strong feelings about Anglo history. She comes from the liberal Princeton culture, which Paglia shrewdly pointed out in the '90s has become increasingly swayed by the victims and grievances culture. Michelle has used harsh words before when speaking of the history of the Brits. Some of it is legitimate critique and commentary, some is revisionism and goes in the direction of rewriting against the Patriarchy and Dead White Males. Obama did not do anything outrageous. He ignored a certain formality and protocol. He was a bit lax and not quite in the know. It is part of his generational outlook, for certain. But for many the gut instinct is to say that he was influenced by his partner. Intuition can of course fail us. My own has failed me, but when it hits , it hits superbly well. During the primary season, I felt certain that Michelle had been the true advocate of Jeremiah Wright, and that when Obama insisted he did not recall the sort of talk Wright used on the videos, I grasped that he was not so much lying as covering for his wife. But what about in this case? Perhaps a small part of it. may be attributed to his having acquired reservations from his wife, and perhaps a certain defiance. But here is a link to someone - a Brit - who has the most accurate analysis of the whole affair, IMHO: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/toby_harnden/blog/2009/03/05/top_10_who_gordon_brown_should_blame_for_his_us_visit_flop