Straight Face

by wjw on July 15, 2016

I’m up on a mountain along with Nancy Kress, helping fourteen very talented new writers hone their craft, and so I’ve been very busy.  But I’m not totally out of touch, and I was as surprised and baffled as anyone when Britain’s new PM appointed Boris Johnson* as foreign minister.

If you want to start your day with a smile, check out this video of the State Department spokesman trying to keep a straight face when responding to the news.

*(Mr Johnson is an odd choice for head diplomat, having once referred to Africans, for example, as “flag waving pickaninnies.”  He also referred to President Obama as a “half-Kenyan” with an “inherited dislike of the British Empire.”  The first is technically true, I suppose, and as for the inherited dislike of the Empire, I refer you to any encyclopedia, and urge you to view the article Revolution, American, 1775-1783.)

Brad DeLong July 15, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Isn’t Charlie Stross demanding a comment from you about the coup in Turkey?

wjw July 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm

I just found out about the coup an hour ago. Where is Charlie asking about this? It’s not on his blog.

Arlesstra July 15, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Charlie tweeted:
Paging Walter Jon Williams to the white SF-author-as-prophet phone, plz ( DEEP STATE, circa 2011: coup in Turkey near future soc media fic)

pixlaw July 15, 2016 at 6:47 pm

It’s in his twitter feed, here:

about 3 hours ago, so call it 5:15 EST

(can’t insert a link – copy and paste)

Michael Grosberg July 16, 2016 at 7:44 am

Based on my experience with Israeli parliamentary politics, the foreign minister is a job given to someone you want as far away from actual decision-making as possible. The minister gets a nifty title and flies around the world “strengthening ties” and most important of all, spends as little time as possible back home, so as not to get in the way of the grownups who are doing the real work.

kpacheneg July 16, 2016 at 9:29 am

Late to the party, but the tweet in question is here:

Now, as of time of this writing the coup has most likely failed. I dread for Turkey’s future; Erdogan could have won enough momentum to turn it into an Islamist theocracy.

Susan Beaty July 16, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Speaking of Taos Toolbox…

I finished Barsk a couple of days ago and noticed that Lawrence Schoen credited you and Nancy Kress for improving his book during a Taos Toolbox a while back. I must say that you guys do good work, because I thoroughly enjoyed Barsk.

TRX July 17, 2016 at 6:07 am

Gee, I would have figured a former IT guy could have found Walter’s email address or blog without straining something…

wjw July 18, 2016 at 12:37 am

Glad you liked Barsk, Susan. We do what we can.

Those of you wanting my thoughts on the Turkish coup should check out my most recent post.

Nathanael July 22, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Boris Johnson is arguably the most agreeable and diplomatic person the Tories have. He will go to parties and be entertaining. Great foreign minister.

They’ve kept him away from policy. Which is actually a bit unfortunate, because he was a decent Mayor of London, and Teresa May has been absolutely awful in all her cabinet positions.

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