Heard an absurd interview with Karen Hughes, our undersecretary of public diplomacy (reach: flack-in-chief), on NPR this morning, in which she said our country just isn’t friendly enough to visitors. She sounded amazed to find that we send U.S. citizens to one line and everyone else to another line at the airport. By the standard, even France is mean. She quoted an exchange student who said he thought he was forced to take his shoes off because he was African and black — even though, of course, everyone around him was doing likewise. I wonder what he was studying; it better have nothing to do with the power of observation. And her solution? She met with our head of Homeland Security to create a pilot program to make arriving at the airport friendlier. They’re going to put up banners (and what should they say? take your shoes off, please?) and show videos of what it’s like to live in America (even as Congress passes new legislation to make that tougher). What should they show: Friends? The aggressive cluelessness is shocking.
by Jeff Jarvis