The State Department loves the phrase "lessons learned." I have yet to see anything actually learned as a result of the process involved in writing a lessons learned cable, but it is one hell of a chance to sit around in the echo chamber and tell each other how good we are.
Diplo #1: You da man
Diplo #2: How can I be da man when you
So on and so forth. But in the past week or two I think we actually learned a few things here at the Demarche.
We learned that our readers have generally excellent tastes in their choices
of single malt
beverages, and seem to know a bit about the history of the fabled water of life. Of course no one commented on how they prefer- neat, on the rocks or cut with a splash of spring water? Myself, I like it neat. Ice and water may not always be available, so why learn to like it that way?
I also learned that when I try to write a light hearted bit about beer drinking around the world (something else our readers seem to be well acquainted with. Hmmm, do I detect a theme?) I should not invoke Graham Greene
. I received a number of e-mails and comments
regarding my incorrect usage of the term "Ugly American." A couple of samples from the e-mail:In recent post you are perpetuating a serious error in the true meaning of the "Ugly American." In the book the "ugly" person was the hero, he is ugly only in his genuineness and typically "American" sincerity, practicality, and lack of concern for appearances. He focuses on results, not trying to make an attractive appearance. This is "ugly" only in terms of the niceties of the local culture and the local American diplomats and aid bureaucrats. He ignores the superficiality of both in order to achieve practical results.
andI really get tired of explaining to amateurs the differences between the ugly American and the Beautiful Americans at the Embassy and I never expected to have to do it for a pro. But, then, I can see why you might want to spread a little disinformation around. Were you in Saigon in the late fifties?
I stand before you humbly corrected. Not only are our readers possessed of excellent taste they are smart, too. I knew I liked you all!
In addition we learned that when we challenge you all to rise to the occassion
you never let us down. Thanks for all your great comments on all the things we write here, and for all the e-mails that you send.
And now, albeit it a little late, the winner of our first ever international affairs poetry contest
is a haiku, penned by our fellow blogger URTHSHU
The winning entry:
Fingers in his ears
at the UN- "La la la!
Kofi can't hear you!"
So far I have not determined any prize, but thank you all for participating. Have a safe and happy weekend one and all, and thanks for making this worth our while. (END OF POST)