Why Obama's Beer Summit Failed
I’m a “keep it light” drinker. Now, I don’t mean that in terms of the beer type. (…I like a dark porter with crazy bacon and/or maple flavorings…) I mean in terms of conversation.
If we’re in this for real, we’re not going to remember much of the content of our discussion, so let’s not pretend there’s going to be significant philosophical changes in either party as a result of our debate. So, let’s keep it light, no politics, no religion -- the whole nine yards! That reminds me, sometimes even sports is off limits! :))
This was my fundamental objection to the “Beer Summit” held by President Obama (…hereafter referred to as Prez…) during his first term. You may remember, not long after the election, a black Harvard professor (…hereafter referred to as Prof…) was arrested by a white Cambridge officer (…hereafter referred to as Sarg…) for breaking and entering. The catch was that Prof was returning to his own home after a trip overseas. Apparently, Prof locked himself out of his own house, and after a not-so-friendly encounter, he was booked by Sarg and held for four hours before being released.
Anyway, insert the new cool Prez, and he decided to have Prof and Sarg out to the White House for a relaxing beer. The problem is the singular tense – a beer. One beer isn’t going to bring anybody closer together -- much less heal centuries of racial conflict. For shitz and gigz, Prez even invited Vice President Joe Biden, who sat in despite the fact that -- since he comes from a fam of alcoholics -- he doesn’t drink beer. The doosher sat in on the Summit while downing a Buckler!
In its design, the Beer Summit was destined to fail. Sure enough, the meeting ended with nothing more than the same press release style banter we know all too well in politics. While Prof and Sarg were much more amicable than there first tumultuous meeting -- even discovering that they have an Irish ancestor in common -- it’s fair to say that the White House beer was the only beverage they’ve ever shared.
A Better Itinerary
Accordingly, my purpose here is to outline a plan for any future Prez who might want to really change the world with beer. In three words: The Shit-Face Summit. Bring feuding partiez out to the White House to get shit-faced! Keep knockin’ them back until someone’s face down in the rose garden. Further, no one’s allowed to bring up anything of importance – keep it light! Put together a list of Jimmy Fallon-style games to keep everyone laughing hysterically at each other. And don’t stop drinking beerz!
Here’s how I would have run the summit between Prof and Sarg.
(…Note: I prefer throwback Super Bowl scheduling whereby the event runs equally in daytime and nighttime…)
(…Another note: Don’t invite Vice Presidents unless they can get hammered...)
(...Final note: Notice the GotGoggz motto "Everyone Must Be 3 Down" is covered in the first 15 minutes...)
5:00: Everyone shotguns a beer.
5:05: Everyone shotguns another beer.
5:10: Whoever shotguns the slowest goes through the spanking machine.
5:15: Everyone shotguns a third beer.
5:20 – 6:00: Dunk tank – except rather than throwing a traditional baseball at the bulls-eye release, golf balls are used (...It’s more gentlemanly…). Tees will be placed 15 yards away. Everyone swings at once. If you miss, you drink. If you hit bulls-eye, you go in the tank!
6:00 – 6:30: Dance-off.
6:30 – 8:00: Zoolander viewing on the lawn with session beerz.
8:05: Everyone takes a shot. Repeat 3 times.
8:10: Streaking through the quad.
Now, that’s the way to heal personal conflicts! In my scenario, Prof and Sarg are waking up naked together with a whole mess of communal experience that in time will become the stuff of true nostalgia. They’ll end up meeting at the local Harvard Yard bar on The Shit-Face Summit Anniversary just to slap each others’ backs and reminisce.
Sarg will tell the story of how he had to use his first aid experience to help Prof out with the rose thorns he had all about his ankles and face after passing out without looking down first. Prof will genuinely congratulate Sarg on his golf swing and shotgun-ing ability. They’d be a regular fraternity of brotherz!
Reagan's Filmz Finally Pay Off
David Reynold’s elucidates on the dynamics of summitry as intercultural communication for the academic journal International Affairs. Reynold’s analysis goes beyond the narrow confines of historical context and biographical figures. Rather, he focuses on the underlying imperatives to summit success. In a case study of Reagan/Gorbachev, Reynold’s finds that “keepin’ it light” is quite effective.
Reynolds (2009) writes: “Reagan suddenly diffused the tension by suggesting they take a walk outside…strolling down to the lake, they chatted about Reagan’s Hollywood movies.”
Despite a day of heated debate, they ended up agreeing to more talkz that led to nuclear disarmament. Gorbachev said the casual conversation on the walk to the lake was “a spark of electric mutual trust between us.” The power of inane banter cannot be underestimated for “moments of maximum communication.” I mean what is more pointless than Reagan’s movie career?
Imagine if they had lit up a kegger? :)) Imagine if they hit the Slip ‘N’ Slide between chugging out of mead style gobletz shotgun style! Nukes might well be a relic of history!