Monday, May 17, 2010

Eat Me

You just have to wonder how does it come that people go into politics or some other public-profile occupation and can't resist the lovely taste of their own shoe?

How else do we explain this news item from Slate:

After announcing this week that New Zealand would not respect a centuries-old treaty and turn land over to the country's Maori tribes, Prime Minister John Key didn't do himself any favors by joking that the Tuhoe tribe was likely to eat him in retaliation. Discussing the affair at a tourism conference, Key quipped, "The good news was that I was having dinner with Ngati Porou as opposed to their neighbouring iwi, which is Tuhoe, in which case I would have been the dinner, which wouldn't have been quite so attractive." According to the Guardian, while Maori tribes were known to indulge in "cannibal feasts" in the days before the British showed up, the practice vanished in the 19th century and has since become a running joke in New Zealand. Responding to Key's comment, Maori politician Te Ururoa Flavell remarked, "Well, the first thing to say is it's probably correct, and the second thing is probably not wise in the current climate."

I knew as a New Yorker-reading kid that there were only about three dozen scenarios for magazine cartoons...guy lying on couch in psychiatrist's office, long-haired guy with a sign foretelling the end of the world, traffic cop on motorcycle pulling over motorist, and cannibals standing around a big boiling cauldron among them. But that was the old days, and we've all moved along, have we not, Mr. Key? Sure, maybe there used to be cannibals who would boil 'n' serve people seeking to bring them enlightenment, but that is precisely why employment agencies had a hard time finding people interested in taking missionary positions.

I really should apologize for that one, but can you wait until I finish chortling?

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