Gifts and President Obama have had a rough time of things lately, after presenting England’s Prime Minister with a collection of DVDs (in unplayable Region 1, no less) and giving Queen Elizabeth an iPod with digital pictures of her visit to America (and, yes, an autographed songbook that might have meant something to Her Majesty).
So in keeping with the idea that we want to help the President succeed, I’ve put together a list of suggested gifts President Obama might want to consider as he continues his travels abroad, meeting other leaders of some of the other G20 nations. All DVDs are, of course, the finest Director’s Cut available.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina: Madonna’s “Evita” and a year’s supply of Payless Shoe Source gift cards.
Kevin Rudd, Australia: “Crocodile Dundee” (1 and 2, of course) to celebrate a long history of US and Australian cultural exchanges. “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” “Kangaroo Jack,” and “Quigley Down Under” would be a necessity, as would be a year’s supply of gift cards for Outback Steakhouse.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil: Terry Gilliam’s brilliant masterpiece, “Brazil,” is a natural, as is “The Boys From Brazil.” And for ambience, a memory stick with “Mas Que Nada” burned onto it.
Stephen Harper, Canada: The United States owes so much to Canada for providing us with some fine actors and musicians, like Michael J. Fox and Celine Dion. To honor their contributions, we humbly present this copy of “Strange Brew” and the DVD set, “Adventures in the Great White North.”
Hu Jintao, China: What can we give China that we haven’t already bought from them? But that won’t stop us from ceremoniously delivering up the best cuts of “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Mulan,” and “Kung Fu Panda.”
Nicolas Sarközy, France: Americans and Frenchmen both love good whines and good wines, so it’s a moral imperative to celebrate our mutual je ne sais quoi with a copy of “Bottle Shock” and the complete collection of the films of Jerry Lewis.
Horst Koehler, Germany: It wouldn’t be a drunken Oktoberfest without brats and the contributions from Germany. So to celebrate a long tradition of American and German interactions, the award-winning “Schindler’s List” and “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” would, we believe, provide some interesting viewing for President Koehler. And, to show that American’s can laugh at past mistakes, we’d toss in the complete series of “Hogan’s Heroes.”
Pratibha Patil, India: We’re sure that President Patil would enjoy seeing Englishman Ben Kingsley portray an icon of India like “Gandhi,” just as much as seeing Aishwarya Rai in “Mistress of Spices.” These would, of course, come on the latest Blu-ray versions, along with a Blu-ray player that would include one year of free customer service phone support.
Giorgio Napolitano, Italy: To honor the long-standing traditions of Italian/American interactions, nothing less than the best version of Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” series will do, as well as the complete series of “The Sopranos.”
Taro Aso, Japan: We owe so much to the Japanese in the way of technological advances that have shaped the way Americans live their lives. We’d like to honor this history with a copy of “Dr. Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb” and a very special Tamagotchi keychain with a digital American on it that will constantly need to be fed a steady diet of Japanese food and manga entertainment.
Felipe Calderón, Mexico: America wouldn’t be the nation it is today without the interactions of the Mexican army at “The Alamo.” And, it’s safe to say, we wouldn’t enjoy such great American entertainment like “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” without the culture, either. To thank our neighbors, those DVDs would top our list, and as a bonus we’d have to toss in a boxed set of all the Cheech and Chong films and the entire series of “Chico and the Man” and “George Lopez.”
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia: What does America have that Russia didn’t have first and have better? Sure, things were tense between us there for a little while, but we’ve moved beyond that, and to show our commitment to future relations, we’d ask they accept these autographed copies of “Failsafe” and “The Hunt for Red October,” to be enjoyed over a bottle of Absolut.
Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia: Let’s admit it, our relationship with Saudi Arabia has been a little lopsided. We take, take, take but we rarely give back from our own culture. “Three Kings” and “Syriana” would be only a token of what we could give back, but to really enjoy a piece of Americana, we’d like to also give Al Saud a real piece of American cinema with the complete “Porky’s.”
Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa: Our leader committed himself to South Africa even before he was elected President. We’d love to relive those memories with our South African friends by presenting this copy of “Senator Obama Goes to Africa,” which many people haven’t yet seen. And to honor the long history of African relations with the US, a special collector’s edition of Alex Haley’s “Roots” as well as a beautiful MP3 copy of Sarafina’s “Freedom is Coming Tomorrow” should be included in the gift basket.
Lee Myung-bak, South Korea: Our commitment to our friends in South Korea is a long one, and one that has had mutual entertainment benefits. Without our cooperation during the Korean conflict, we wouldn’t have enjoyed “M*A*S*H,” the complete boxed set being a beautifully packaged gift for President Myung-bak. And in return, South Korea has given us Margaret Cho. Since we can’t give her back, we can at least send over copies of “All-American Girl” and “The Cho Show” to express our appreciation.
So there you go. No need to thank us, Mr. President. Just hand the list over to your staffer the next time you send him out to Wal-Mart to pick up something for visiting dignitaries. You’re welcome.