It appears that at NPR, even a fat lip for the President is to be heralded as a crowning achievement furthering his prestige and street cred when dealing with despots like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to Scott Simon, a president with a "gnarly, vivid scar" might even be able to intimidate China's rulers into halting their currency manipulation (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):
SCOTT SIMON, NPR: Just three weeks after getting a shellacking in the midterm elections, yesterday President Obama got a fat lip. The president played basketball yesterday with some friends in the gym of the Fort McNair Army Base, and reportedly took an elbow in the mouth from an opposing player who went up for a shot.
It took twelve stitches to close The First Fat Lip, if you please. I'm not sure that Joe Frazier needed twelve stitches after the Thrilla in Manila, though the White House stressed that a smaller filament was used, which increases the number of stitches, but leaves a smaller scar. I wonder if having a larger scar wouldn't actually fortify President Obama's profile, as he contends with Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Vladimir Putin. Imagine a president with a gnarly, vivid scar telling the rulers of China, "Nice country ya' got here. I'd hate to see something happen to it if you didn't stop foolin' around with the value of your currency. Know what I mean?"
As recent presidential injuries go, President Obama's is almost valiant. His immediate predecessor, President George W. Bush, famously choked on a pretzel. President Bill Clinton tore a tendon stumbling on the steps of Greg Norman's house after a round of golf. But an elbow in the chops is a battle ribbon in basketball.
This was obviously a tongue-in-cheek commentary, but one gets the feeling Simon quite believes it.
I'm surprised he didn't compare The First Fat Lip to Ronald Reagan being shot in 1981.
Maybe that's next.
(H/T Weasel Zippers)
*****Update: I received the following from Simon via e-mail Sunday morning (with permission):
Dear Mr. Sheppard
You were right--it was a tongue-in-cheek commentary. I thought that was pretty obvious. As to your feeling that I really meant it, too, I'd say that's only in your mind, and certainly nothing that I said. I can only be responsible for what I say, not your feelings.
I'd hate to think that I can't do a funny essay every now and then because people "feel" things about it that aren't there.
with [sic] best wishes of the season
Thank you for your response. As you observed, I made my readers aware that I believed your piece was "obviously a tongue-in-cheek commentary."
However, given the media's unprecedented sycophancy and unprofessionalism with regard to their treatment of Barack Obama from the moment he threw his hat into the presidential candidacy ring in February 2007, as well as NPR's well-known liberal leanings, you surely can't be surprised folks on the right would either miss altogether or cast aside your comedic intent. In fact, I mentioned what appeared obvious to plant that seed for those so fed up with Obama-worship that they likely wouldn't have considered it.
As for my feelings, given the shoddy behavior of journalists the past four years specifically with respect to Obama, is it really farfetched for me or anyone else to glean sincerity in your sarcasm? That would seem to be an occupational hazard after the way this man has be fawned over thereby making it difficult to do a "funny essay" without a goodly number of people missing the joke.
"The Boy Who Cried Wolf" comes to mind.
Best wishes back,