Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gift Gaffes

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Gift-giving is an art that relies heavily on intuition and insight. I have a few friends who are geniuses at it and present me with thoughtful gifts at birthdays and Christmases that I didn't know I wanted. Finding the perfect gift for a visiting head of state undoubtedly presents an unusual challenge particularly when international relations are riding on the selection. But I am dumbfounded as to why the Obama administration presented Gordon Brown with a set of DVDs. First of all, the U.S. and Europe have different DVD region codes and secondly, Blockbusters in the U.K. are almost as ubiquitous as McDonalds! Brits can easily buy American movies on their own turf!

But the gift gaffe that really left me puzzled this week was Hillary Clinton's present to Russia's foreign minister. Instead of a red "reset" button he ended up with one that said "overcharged." I am surprised that the agency in charge of issuing passports doesn't have anyone on staff to provide translation for ONE WORD.

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