Saturday, 2 April 2011

Hard Sell

What happens when a salesman is let down by his product?  He so much wants to believe there is no rust under the freshly painted bonnet; and that the brakes were not broke long ago.  He would like to tell us it is wonderful, and he would, if we gave him a chance.  But though polite, we are very firm: look at those two tyres there, aren’t they flat?  And those headlights, is one not smashed, and the other missing?  The words stumble at his lips, and his sentences fall all around him…

Sometimes it can be very hard to sell the United States.  For the last couple of years Obama has done a miraculous job; and has successfully sold its latest model to perhaps billions of willing customers.  Until now, in Chile.

There is a long question, which begins with recent changes in the country and then moves on to the crimes of the Pinochet regime.  It is a long question and the camera occasionally shifts from the journalist to Obama; who by its end has begun to look uncomfortable.  The overview finished the journalist asks if the United States is going take responsibility for its past crimes; and if it will help with judicial proceedings against its own guilty men…

The smooth patter crumples and falls; and there is nonsense at the podium, as history erases all of Obama’s other words.   

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