Slate, where WaPo authors go to die, has an advice column: "Dear Prudence." Today, a doozy:
Dear Prudence,Prudence goes all you-could-point-out-that-Cheney-is-next-in-line, but that's thin gruel indeed. She also says with an embarrassing lack of tongue in cheek:
I am a twentysomething American musician living in Europe. Part of my job is meeting new people—musicians with whom I play, sponsors, and the audience after a concert. I've been here about a year, and I repeatedly run into the same situation. I'll meet a group of people, we'll chat about two minutes, and someone will make some comment about how my president should be killed (really!) and seems to want to know how much I agree. I don't bring up politics before this happens. Regardless of my political views, I find it offensive to have anyone bring up the subject of how someone else should be killed. I'm still not sure what the best response is to this statement. I don't want to share my politics with a complete stranger, and I don't want to do anything to further any American stereotypes they already have. However, I want to convey how this statement is inappropriate and makes me uncomfortable.
—Speechless in Europe
One discouraging feature of today's political discourse is the assumption that if you and someone else share particular characteristics (a love of music), then you certainly must be like-minded on all things (the desirability of killing the president).Vraiment ?
I frankly doubt that SiE is truly beset on a regular, or even semi-regular basis, by homicidal flautists dreaming blood, but then it is also true that European artists, in my experience, self-evince more self-regard and less self-satire than their American counterparts, so perhaps there really is a vast, orchestral conspiracy to undo and unmake the American president. Were I SiE, I'd aver to my would-be assassin colleagues that the best way to deal with his problem and ours would be to lock Merkel, Chirac, and Bush in a room with a single television camera. They'd tear each other to shreds as they each tried desperately to center themselves in the viewfinder.