Thursday, July 06, 2006
The media mania that followed the diplomatic visit to Graceland from bona fide Elvis fan, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, accompanied by President Bush and even Priscilla herself is both a little surreal and also a possible new approach to exporting/exploiting American ideals.
I'm sure Prime Minister Koizumi, who released his own CD of Elvis hits, has also seen "Mystery Train," where the lives of foreign tourists intersect in a Memphis hotel on their various pilgrimages to Graceland.
Lloyd Garver provides a rock-solid idea on a new kind of diplomacy in his most recent editorial:
"Maybe this kind of diplomacy should be used more often. Let world leaders see both the silly and the awe-inspiring that make up America. There's bound to be some head of state who is just dying to see Dollywood.
"Take the leaders of Iran and North Korea. Maybe they're too embarrassed to admit it, but isn't it possible that they've always wanted to go to Disneyland or Disney World. What would it hurt to invite them for a tour? I'm sure they'll feel very indebted to us if we unilaterally say they don't have to wait in the long lines. And, cynically speaking, if they remain belligerent after several hours at the park, just make them go through that "Small World" ride a few dozen times. After hearing "It's A Small World After All" sung over and over, their minds will be so fried they'll agree to anything we ask of them."
Despite the fame of President Reagan's ballyhooed "tear down this wall", I think the real factors that brought down the Berlin Wall and dissolved the Soviet Union had far more to do with blue jeans and rock and roll -- it was the desire for American goods and style, a yearning for good times and not rations of toilet paper.
It's far more effective when troops arrive to distribute chocolate bars and toys and food and water, and when terrorists blow up families lined up to get those kinds of tangible goodies, then the message is clear and plain as to who the Good Guys are and who the Bad Guys are.
So maybe we should follow up the Graceland Summit (even coming so late in Koizumi's tenure) with a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Summit, a Dollywood Summit, a Bonnaroo Summit, a Universal Studios Tour Summit, and yes, why not a Stuckey's Summit?
The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a national guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war
I'm going to graceland
In memphis tennessee
I'm going to graceland
Poorboys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to graceland
(NOTE: the picture above originated here.)