this morning i started my day as i always do—with npr. after showering, i listened to "day to day" while moisturizing, styling, and toothbrushing. ambassador john bolton’s imminent departure from the u.n. robert gates upcoming senate confirmation hearings. the supreme court weighing anti-segregation measures in public school districts in st. louis and seattle. and lionel richie. that’s right. lionel richie. “lionel of arabia,” to be exact.
and then it struck. a bolt of insight so brilliant that i’m surprised i (and the bathroom i was in) withstood its incendiary power. clearly lionel richie is the answer—the best possible person bush could appoint as the next ambassador to the u.n. his lack of experience cannot be held against him. after all we don’t often require experience and knowledge of our national leaders—just check out such illustrious figures as jesse “the body” ventura and arnie, not to mention some of bush’s shining moments in the lead-up to his own first national election.
so much for dismissing his lack of qualifications. but if all it took to become ambassador to the u.n. was to lack all necessary qualifications, we’d have an entire nation of candidates. clearly there must be something that sets lionel apart from the masses of humanity who are similarly unqualified to act as ambassador to the u.n. and trust me, there is.
for starters, lionel is popular in the middle east, which is more than can be said for most americans who would only be identified as “american” (an open invitation to be kidnapped, shot, or mocked). according to lionel, when he goes to visit other nations he is not American, nor a man, nor even a black man. he is that nation. and how could the nations of the world not love a man who is their nation? not only does his aura allow him to identify as the nation he’s visiting, it’s got a magnetic pull powerful enough to bring together long-time enemies. as was the case when he visited some fancy-pants spa in sardinia and a high-level israeli government official and a high-level lebanese government official overcame their history of years of vacationing in the same place without once speaking to each other in order to bask in the glow of lionel’s presence, recounting stories of how their respective wives had come down the aisle to “truly” and sharing photos of their children. then there was the 20th anniversary of the american bombing of libya, on which lionel performed. at 2:00 in the morning—the anniversary not only of the bombing but also the moment at which gadafi’s infant daughter was killed.
clearly lionel has the necessary ability to bring together warring enemies. plus, if things were to get rough, he could just start singing in that silky smooth voice of his. and then his acolytes would parrot back his music (which according to him translates deep-seated anger into the mellifluous songs we all know and love [or not]; thus his universal appeal), as did “hundreds” of Libyan children when they followed him on a walking tour of the old city of Tripoli. he said hello, and they sang back to him “hello, is it me you’re looking for.” when he attempted to talk to them, he rapidly discovered the only English they knew was what they had picked up phonetically from his songs. just imagine the potential for captivating such world figures as hugo chavez, muqtada al-sadr, or jacques chiraq, and the subsequent parrotry. anytime the u.s. faced a difficult challenge in the u.n., lionel would simply have to write a song and sing it and before you know it, our perspective will be sung back to us by the masses. and isn’t that what we want of the u.n. after all? affirmation that everything and anything goes so long as it’s what we want?
i can’t believe the bush administration hasn’t struck upon this stroke of genius yet. clearly they should start paying attention to the world around them. had they been doing so, they may have noticed that baghdadis blared lionel’s “all night long” as American planes bombed the city in 2003 and they would have made this appointment years ago (but then, i've never accused the bushites of paying attention to realities on the ground in baghdad as they prepared their invasion).
and did i mention that lionel speaks of himself in the third person? if nothing else convinces you that he’s perfect for the job, that should do the trick.