At the risk of damning Mrs Obama with faint praise, I have to acknowledge that the First Lady's is not quite the lamest Hashtag of Western Impotence pose. That honor belongs to the gentleman at right - the Rt Hon David Cameron, PC, MP. Michelle Obama is merely the wife of the head of government; Mr Cameron is an actual head of government. So who exactly is he calling on to do all this "bringing back" he's so in favor of? Activist celebrities pull these stunts to put pressure on government. Who are all these government celebrities meant to be pressurizing?
One can also make the case that to Mr Cameron these are "our girls" in a way they're not, not really, to the First Lady. Nigerians are Commonwealth citizens and, as a point of British immigration law, not "foreign". Thus, the Prime Minister is, in his feeble passivity, reminding us that if anyone ought to go get 'em it ought to be the SAS. Whatever one feels about his predecessor as Downing Street Glamour Boy, when faced with his own West African kidnapping - the seizure of members of the Royal Irish Regiment by Sierra Leone rebels - Tony Blair acted decisively and flew in the SAS, who freed the hostages and killed the men holding them.
The Nigerian Bulletin has already reported that the girls have been "ferried abroad to Chad and Cameroon", so if Cameron's going to pull a Blair he needs to do it soon. Otherwise, his hashtag is useless, and but feeble confirmation that for the modern leader attitude is more important than action. Of course, the will of the civilized world often wobbles around. But, when Neville Chamberlain dismissed Czechoslovakia as "a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing", he was at least honest in his indifference. Better that than standing around with a piece of cardboard saying "#BringBackOurCzechs".
~The Guardian's Nafeez Ahmed helpfully explains the root cause of the schoolgirls' kidnapping:
The kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls, and the massacre of as many as 300 civilians in the town of Gamboru Ngala, by the militant al-Qaeda affiliated group, Boko Haram, has shocked the world.
But while condemnations have rightly been forthcoming from a whole range of senior figures from celebrities to government officials, less attention has been paid to the roots of the crisis.
Instability in Nigeria, however, has been growing steadily over the last decade - and one reason is climate change.
Dr Ahmed is a highly respected 9/11 truther, so it must be true. Has Michael E Mann done his pouty-faced hashtag selfie yet?
~Speaking of global warming in West Africa, do you know the song "The Sun Has Got His Hat On"? It's by Richard Butler and Noel Gay, whose grandson and great-niece are both old friends of mine. After eight decades, its cheery refrain is still well known in Britain:
The Sun Has Got His Hat On
The Sun Has Got His Hat On
And he's coming out today...
There were two hit versions in 1932, one by Ambrose and his Orchestra, and the other by Henry Hall's BBC Dance Orchestra. Both contain the lines:
He's been tanning niggers
Out in Timbuktu
Now he's coming back
To do the same to you...
When they revived Noel Gay's Me And My Girl in the West End (with my Sweet Gingerbread Girl Jessica Martin) and on Broadway in the late Eighties, "The Sun Has Got His Hat On" was in there, but I forget what lyric modifications were made.
For years, the BBC disc-jockey David Lowe has had a show called "Singers & Swingers" or some such that goes out over a big swathe of southern England. A fortnight ago, he played "The Sun Has Got His Hat On" without taking the precaution of listening through to it first. In mitigation, the only reason he played the song was as a last-minute substitute for "Abdul Abulbul Amir", which, after listening through, he felt might cause offense. Written by Percy French during the Russo-Turkish War, its first line is:
The sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold...
Which is flattering, but might tend to give the impression that they're somewhat bloodthirsty:
Then this bold Mameluke
Drew his trusty skibouk
Singing 'Allah! il-Allah! Al-lah!'
And with murderous intent
He ferociously went...
Uh-oh. Mr Lowe was concerned not to appear Islamophobic. So he played the song about "tanning niggers" instead.
One listener complained, and so the BBC fired him after 30 years.
My old boss Boris Johnson, now the Mayor of London, pointed out that the Beeb were as usual a bunch of tossers:
Mr Johnson said: "In our own modest way, we live in a Boko Haram world, where it all depends on the swirling rage of the Internet mob, and where terrified bureaucrats and politicians are borne along against a torrent of confected outrage...
"There is certainly no logic at the BBC. They should restore Mr Lowe to his job – if he will take it – and the entire BBC Board should go down to Devon to apologise in person, and at their own expense."
Mr Lowe has now been offered his job back, buthas declined, because he is disabled and the stress of dealing with BBC executives has made his disability worse:
David suffers dystonic tremor, a condition which causes a permanent shake, and the stress caused, has made the disability worse.
"For most of last week I have been battling with the severity of my tremor," he said.
"I'm feeling ok in myself, but it gets worse when I'm stressed and it's emotionally frustrating.
"I don't know whether it will return to how it was previously."
So a disabled man trying to avoid appearing Islamophobic has his career destroyed for being a racist. I almost wish Barbara Hall's Ontario "Human Rights" Commission were available to adjudicate this one.
Incidentally, when Jonathan King revived "The Sun Has Got His Hat On" in 1971 under the pseudonym "Nemo", he changed the line to "He's been tanning Negroes", which in the context of the early Seventies sounds worse. Mr King is a longtime BBC presenter who was subsequently exposed as one of the many "paedos at the Beeb" (see Jimmy Savile et al) and was jailed for seven years. So, in fact, a disabled man trying to avoid appearing Islamophobic wound up playing a song first recorded by a BBC racist orchestra and revived by a BBC pedophile.
You can see why a man with stress issues would rather not go back to the Beeb. And he was one of the only seven non-paedos in the joint.