- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
As it turns out, Gordon Brown’s White House visit was even lamer than previously thought. The Daily Mail is reporting that while the enthusiastic British PM clearly put some thought into his diplomatic gifts for Obama, “an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet,” a “first edition of the seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert,” and clothing and books for Obama’s daughters, the president’s gift for Brown was rather less personal: a set of 25 DVDs of classic American movies.
As he headed back home from Washington, Gordon Brown must have rummaged through his party bag with disappointment.
Mr Brown is not thought to be a film buff, and his reaction to the box set is unknown. But it didn’t really compare to the thoughtful presents he had brought along with him.
The film collection, including such classics as Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, and Star Wars, was apparently specially assembled by the American Film Institute, but as Ed Morrissey notes, it’s the kind of thing you can buy at a steep discount on Amazon. At least with a gift certificate, Brown could have picked out his own movies.
I wrote on Wednesday that I can understand why Obama might not have wanted to give Brown the full state dinner and Camp David treatment, but surely the White House could have put a little more thought into this.
For what it’s worth, the DVDs would have been the perfect gift for a meeting with Kim Jong-il.