Still Not Funny

Nov 14, 2011


When I’m not funny, I blog angry. And this will be two this week. Can I ask — why is that disgraced leaders always leave office smiling to the crowd and waving? I find this more infuriating then the events precipitating the departure because it betrays a lack of shame and humility. Yes, I like to diddle just recently pubescent girls, but you aren’t made at me, right?

I thought the new PR book on this was too look contrite, put your head down and stay silent for a while until the new guy has f*cked everything up, then stage a comeback on Oprah or whatever the Italian equivalent is. (Doesn’t Donatella Versace have a show? Wait, that’s just on Saturday Night Live.) So are these guys just 1) completely ignorant of how we feel about them? 2) such egomaniacs that they really think they are just the victim of plots by their enemies? 3) so stupid to think that if they just wave we’ll say to ourselves, “oh it doesn’t appear that he left under a cloud. I mean, look — he’s smiling and waving! We must be mistaken about his utter lack of an internal moral compass.” Or all of the above?

Please don’t smile. We really don’t like you. And it is insulting to us for you to act otherwise.

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Rathbun is a professor of International Relations at USC. Brian Rathbun received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and has taught at USC since 2008. He has written four solo-authored books, on humanitarian intervention, multilateral institution building, diplomacy and rationality. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in International Organization, International Security, World Politics, International Studies Quartlery, the Journal of Politics, Security Studies, the European Journal of International Relations, International Theory, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution among others. He is the recipient of the 2009 USC Parents Association Teaching and Mentoring Award. In 2019 he will be recognized as a Distinguished Scholar by the Diplomatic Studies Section of the International Studies Association.