An Italian fashion house has launched an advertising campaign promoting the idea that enemies should kiss and make-up. A huge picture of President Obama and Hugo Chavez pressing lips recently appeared on a billboard outside the Brazzaville YMCA. Everyone knows the photo is a fake, so it generated very little excitement, even among the residents of the YMCA.
It’s just as well that Obama is secure enough in his sexuality not to blast the poster to kingdom come with a Cruise missile. He’s recently been proving his heterosexual credentials by canoodling with Julia Gillard, the raunchy redhead who rules the roost in Australia. After greeting Ms Gillard with a moist-looking peck on the cheek, he patted her receptive tush right into the White House. I hope Michelle was mature enough not to give him hell afterwards – there’s no such thing as cheating when you’re making political alliances.
The only person complaining about the poster campaign is Pope Benedict, who was depicted smooching an Egyptian holy man. A Vatican spokesman denounced it as a violation of the Holy Father’s chastity, but I suspect what really upset Benny was the lack of passion in the kiss. No one ever got to be Pope without sticking his tongue down a few throats. The fashion house withdrew the Papal poster under threat of legal action, but there must be a few thousand stashed away in a warehouse. They'll become a collector’s item after Benny has his sex-change operation.
The most puzzling poster is the one of Sarkozy kissing Frau Merkel. The couple were bosom allies the last time I checked, so why show them kissing? Could Sarko have bribed the fashion house to do it because he wanted to make his wife jealous? A new mother is often so infatuated with her baby that she neglects her husband’s needs. Maybe the poster will prompt Carla to accelerate her programme of coochie exercises so she can wrap her luscious thighs around Sarko the next time he ventures into the marital bed. If he keeps on fantasizing about getting into Frau Merkel's pants it might damage the French national interest. She doesn’t look like the sort of woman who’ll give it away for nothing.
Now, this advertising campaign is a clever gimmick, but its premise looks flawed to me. There is no evidence from human history that kissing is a reliable indicator of benign intentions. Delilah kissed Sampson; Judas kissed Jesus; J Edgar Hoover kissed Dillinger and a dozen other gangsters. It’s the oldest trick in the book to butter up your victim with a smooch before giving him the big shaft. As Shirley Bassey said, it’s the kiss of death from Mr Goldfinger.
Instead of kissing, humans who want to make peace should do what we gorillas do: bring about a controlled collision between their rumps. It takes real courage to turn your back on a rival and stick out your behind, trusting that he will do the same rather than kicking your arse or attempting some other unspeakable act. If President Obama started booty-bumping all the hostile characters who show up in the UN building, the Age of Universal Love might finally dawn.
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