CHATSWORTH (Laughing Matters) April 25, 2001 -- This week America was given its first look at what well might be the most efficient method of resolving the troubles of the world. And it's all packaged rather neatly, quite rightly, in the guise of a British import game show called "The Weakest Link".
Forget about negotiations. Just have representatives from bickering nations pitted against each other, with arguments, demands and posturing being dismissed by a simple, "Who is best suited to watch diplomacy, not participate in it?" followed quickly by a curt, "g'bye." Apologies to Kofi Annan, but no one is more suited to keep all sides in line than Great Britain's gift from the dark side, W.L.'s hostess dominatrix, Anne Robinson. With England's Don Rickles (sans the "I kid, because I love"), serving as mediator and lord-high executioner, international diplomats would be on their best behavior (as well as quivering in their boots).
What emissary would want to be seen by billions of viewers being expelled by a brusque, "Who is a huge embarrassment to world intellect?"
Got an international crisis? Haul the adversaries into the studio, and in sixty fast-paced minutes, except for enough high-priced commercial time to keep the United Nations in the black for a year, countries will vie for the right to be declared...right.
Certainly the China Spy Plane incident could have been resolved much sooner (if it has, in fact, actually been resolved). 'Merica versus the Commies. The ratings would go through the roof quicker than a Chinese fighter plane can go through the nose of an American EP-3E surveillance craft.
Line up the contestants. Colin (Powell). Jiang (Zemin). Ruan Gogin (Chinese Pilot's widow), Donald (Rumsfeld), Henry (Hyde) and Zhao Yu (Chinese pilot, eye-witness). Resisting the opportunity at an easy joke,
President Bush would never be allowed to participate, although in keeping with the present administration's practice, Dubya would be carted out occasionally to read some of the U.S. answers.
Anne: Welcome to a very special edition of...The Weakest Link. Tonight we resolve the China spy plane incident. Let's play...The Weakest Link. (Swinging lights. Couple dramatic chords) Jiang,did the American plane ask for clearance to land?
Anne: Correct. Colin, why didn't your plane ask for clearance to land?
Colin: Bank. Because it was too busy sending out a score of Maydays.
Anne: Correct. Zhao, what caused the mid-air crash?
Zhao: American Plane rammed into Wang's plane.
Anne: No! Wang hot dogged too close to the American plane. How does it feel being the greatest embarrassment to the Chinese school system? Henry, Americans held on Hainan Island are called, "what?"
Anne: No! Involuntary guests. Perhaps you might consider impeaching your
brain or whatever is left of it. Ruan, President Bush is a "what?"
Ruan: A coward.
Anne: No. A reticent speaker. Ruan, what are you?
Ruan: A widow.
Anne: Perhaps your husband Wang was so bloody embarrassed by your lack of intellect, he went kamikaze just to save face. Donald, what part did
President Bush play in the negotiations?
Donald: He was fully engaged.
Anne: No. He played the part of Chauncy Gardner in "Being There." Colin, who is to blame?
Anne: Correct. Jiang, who is to blame?
Jiang: Bank. The United States.
Anne: Correct. (BUZZER) Time is up and I must say I am glad I am from neither of your countries. There are obviously many villages who are missing idiots. I will now reveal who is the weakest link...Steve Young is a Prism Award winner and a
President Bush (Sorry, couldn't help myself): Howdy, Anne "Are You
Seducing Me, Mrs." Robinson. Mind if I reveal who is the Weakest Link?
Anne: You just did. Pathetic. G'bye.
Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing.
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