Hugo Chávez Smells the Burning Bush

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“I spy… Satan!”

You’ve gotta hand it to Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, unabashed Friend of Fidel and outspoken Enemy of W. The man knows his theatre.

At a speech at the United Nations General Assembly today, el Presidente said:

“Yesterday, the devil came here. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.”

According to coverage in The New York Times, “Then Mr. Chávez made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if in prayer and glanced toward the ceiling. The moment may not become as famous as Nikita Khrushchev’s finger-wagging, shoe-thumping outbursts in the General Assembly in the cold-war era, but it still produced chuckles and some applause in the assembly hall.”

I wholeheartedly endorse this sort of erratic, potentially humiliating, and highly entertaining behavior at the UN General Assembly. After all, this was a hall that was created to allow the speaker’s voice to be heard and recognized by The World! If you give a speech at the General Assembly, it damn well better be dramatic! I’m tired of Kofi’s elegant speeches, his educated and reserved manner, and even his mild righteous indignation at having his organization completely politically neutered and basically useless: the UN is about as effective a global disciplinarian as Mr. Rogers in a moshpit. I mean, this is your chance to have your words translated in real time to people wearing everything from suits to robes to Mu Mus! In this digital day and age, being able to make physical eye contact with representatives from 191 other countries is the closest we can ever get to that Star Wars fantasy Intergalactic Senate thing.

So I think we should go back to banging shoes on tables, foaming at the mouth, and making spectacles of ourselves at the UN. After all, the grandest stage is meant for the most elaborate performances. I don’t know about his foreign or domestic policy, but when it comes to theatricality and media, Secretary Annan, you could learn a thing or two from Presidente Chávez. Sometimes, you just gotta let ‘er rip!

You go, Hugo.

~ by Jeff on September 20, 2006.

One Response to “Hugo Chávez Smells the Burning Bush”

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