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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mandela's funeral: An incongruous opportunity to preen and pose -- By Neil Munro, The Daily Caller

Mandela’s funeral: An incongruous opportunity to preen and poseNelson Mandela’s funeral has been used an opportunity for ambitious politicians to strut and pose, to advance their careers and claims, says Mark Leibovich, author and chief correspondent for The New York Times Magazine.

“A big-ticket funeral can become a great theater for preening and networking and peacocking, the kinds of things that people in media and politics are known for,” Leibovich told The Daily Caller.

President Barack Obama flew down there on his huge blue-and-white Air Force One, to give a 19-minute speech about the lessons that Nelson Mandela could teach Americans and their politicians. He made sure to be seen with Mandela’s wife and with numerous other people who were more eager to be seen with him.

So many other D.C. luminaries attended the gala that the U.S. Air Force had to provide an additional jet. Rep. Aaron Shock, an Illinois Republican, announced via Instagram “All aboard! Taking off with 23 of my colleagues to Nelson Mandela’s memorial services. #amazinglife #mandela”

Was “he referring to Nelson Mandela’s amazing life or his own amazing life?” Leibovich said. “Is this about the departed or is this about you?”

One of Shock’s supporters, “turquoisethompson,” added a comment, “I’m jealous Aaron! What an amazing opportunity!”

The global display in Johannesburg is somewhat incongruous because Mandela’s accomplishments were earned in a hard-nosed political environment, far from Washington D.C.’s daily strut by ambitious professionals, he said.

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