Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Aso Meets His Boss

Well, hasn't Aso Taro been busy? (No.) He turned up at the Vatican yesterday for a meeting with the Pope ahead of the G8 Summit in Italy that's just started. Every time the G8 meet it seems like all their members go on press-junket style tours, meeting local luminaries and being interviewed, like weary actors promoting their latest movie but with a radiant sense of glee and self-importance. They smile for the cameras and answer questions like, "What was it like working with Silvio Berlusconi?" and "Can you confirm or deny rumours of a romance between you and Chancellor Merkel?" Then everyone forgets they exist for six months or so before they're off again.

So yesterday Aso (68 years old, Catholic) went to meet his Overlord, the Pope. But he wasn't just there to take Pope Benedict's each-way bet on Obama to use the word "reform" at least three times in a single sentence, oh no. He also wanted to present him with a Sony digital camcorder. Because if there's one thing the Pope likes more than gambling on dead-certainties it's home-videos. Oh, and God.

Awkward gifts are something of a staple in the political world. When Obama met the Queen for the first time, he gave her an iPod loaded with songs from The King And I (true fact). In turn, the Queen gave him a framed, signed photo of herself, which quite frankly is fucking hilarious. And when Gordon Brown visited America, Obama gave him a box-set of 25 DVDs (another true fact). Of course, Region 1 DVDs can't actually be played in Britain, but how was the President to know that?

Here's the Aso-Pope meeting, with the Sony camcorder being presented on a silver platter:

You'll notice the camcorder doesn't actually have a charger though. So the Pope will be lucky to get even one match of the All-Italia Nuns Volleyball Championship out of it. Better luck next time.