This video demonstrated something interesting to me about standards, dignity, decorum, etc. My last facebook post was a video (see below) of how ignorant our college kids can be and I think those low standards reach up to the highest levels in our society, certainly in our government–but that’s not true everywhere. Putin really looks like a cheeseball when he takes his shirt off, but he often demonstrates statesmanship and dignity, albeit in the context of his own culture (e.g., “blanketgate” where he gave the first lady of China a blanket in the cold).
In the video, Putin was thanking his police escort and I don’t think it was a photo op as it first appeared because if you watch the video to the end, you will see he wouldn’t board the plane before the stewardess, he made her go first (as in “ladies first”) – who would even think that way in that context? That’s ingrained etiquette…
This contrasts with a clip I heard in 2008 of Rachel Maddow lambasting Bush for not reneging on the Australian ambassador who was slated to stay as a guest at the White House so that the Obamas could stay there and get their feet wet before the inauguration. Maddow said something like, “It’s the OBAMAS for God’s sake – the OBAMAS!” as if Obama’s status meant Bush should slight a “lesser” person. That’s when I saw how really trashy elitism is. (h/t Hugh)
UPDATE: For another contrast to Putin’s manners, check this video out of Obama’s state visit to India. He’s chewing gum! Am I old fashioned to think that’s inappropriate? I guess it must be nicotine gum – but then that just makes me feel lied to.