Look. The bottom line here is that I don't know a whole lot about German Chancellor Angela Merkel. My ugly-Americanism is showing, I know, but all I really know about her is that at President George W. Bush once determined, at a summit meeting, that the lady needed was a back rub and therefore, right then and there, simply gave her one, cameras. It was one of those W moments when American men decided he was the kind of guy they'd like to have along on a fishing trip.
But I don't know how Chancellor Merkel is doing right now in Germany, whether she's got her people as hot and bothered--both for an against--as Obama does here. I don't know whether she's turning Deutschland into a poor farm, or riding into political glory like some ancient horsebacked Hun honcho.
But you gotta love freedom, don't you? It's not always pretty either because those who exercise it are perfectly human and not humanly perfect. Free people do dumb things--funny things. Like put up this billboard, an advertisement for a hot deal in Germany right now. It seems, some German clothier promises a five-euro discount on a new pair of undies if you bring in your old one. To make good on the deal, they decided to put the lady Chancellor in bra and panties to make waves--as all good free enterprisers do, right? So a few days ago, Berliners were stunningly presented with their fearless leader up on a billboard in bra and panties.
I don't care. I think it's funny.
German pundits are quick to point that this clothing merchant wasn't the first to reveal all. It seems Chancellor Merkel herself let cleavage ring at some gala opera thing not long ago, cloaked in a dress that had journalists punning their way into sheer madness--one of them referred to Merkel's "weapons of mass destruction."
Brings to mind a quote from ye olde rabble-rouser Thomas Paine: "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must undergo the fatigue of supporting it." Maybe that was not well chosen.
Anyway, pity poor Chancellor Merkel. After all, no male head of state would ever be so brazenly objectified.
Well, wait a minute. Didn't a bare-chested Obama and his six-pack abs just grace the cover of Washington magazine, suitably photoshoped?
I guess these days fair is fair in the gender wars, even if you're the top dog.
Comes down to this, I suppose: if you have no sense of humor, fascism is just the thing for you. Freedom surely comes with a price, but then, shop around--maybe you'll get a five-euro discount with a pair of old knickers.