Saturday, October 08, 2005

Public Relations

The Washington Post, and I'm sure every other newspaper in the country and more, have been keeping daily articles on Karen Hughes during her recent maiden voyage to the Middle East as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. I'm not sure if it was on purpose, but these articles were a welcome laugh over morning coffee. And I'm not the only one who thinks her trip was a joke.

Although it was touted as a listening tour we mostly only read about what Ms. Hughes said so it is not easy to say what information she actually took in. However, judging from what she did say, lets hope she said as little as possible. An essential challenge Ms. Hughes and indeed the American image in general is facing, in my opinion, is that the international world knows so much about America but America knows so little about the international world. And yet, it has so much influence and power in the global arena. As the article notes, it is the height of insult to send over someone who knows virtually nothing about the region, speaks none of the languages and has never spent time there and then to criticise them for not understanding America, its culture and its motives.

In one Wapo piece it quoted Hughes explaining that the reason the word "God" was used by the President so much was that, among other reasons, that the constitution states, "One nation under God" and thus it is an integral part of the national identity. And my question is, why should other nations be expected to know the wording of the US Constitution as a way of becoming more accepting of the US when I'm pretty sure Ms. Hughes and anyone else in the US is incapable of quoting any words from any other country's constitution on earth. In sum, improving the US image will come through US actions, not by telling the world to study the US culture more. But I still hope that Ms. Hughes sticks around and goes on more trips, the laughs are welcome.

Political Writings in the US: How one reader is sick of bias

I recently made a pact with myself to not buy any books with the "how" in the title. Such as "How the right wing is cheating you in this way" or "How the left wing is destroying this, that and the other behind your back." Based on my experience these types of books are nothing more than inaccurate, bias diatribes written by people looking for publicity, money and/or popularity. And I am not alone in thinking this. Cathartidae noted in an earlier blog the ridiculous titles coming out recently by the "right-wing" and now the Economist has also written about the lamentable state of political writings in the US. It is appropriate for me to step back from any political writings until such time as someone decides to return to quality over a quick buck and flashy title.

Bank of Korea

In my last blog, I mentioned the speech given by the Governor of the Bank of Korea. I found, quite by chance, a transcript of the speech. So now my readers can decide for themselves if my criticism was too harsh.

World Day Against the Death Penalty
My informant at Amnesty International (aka: my sister)has told me that Monday, October 10 is World Day Against the Death Penalty. Coincidently, this weekend is the last weekend of the Amnesty USA film festival being held here in Washington D.C.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui