World leaders gathered in Hokkaido, Japan, on Monday prompted raised eyebrows by indulging in a lavish eight-course, 18-dish meal at a Group of Eight summit where one of the main issues was expected to be hunger and the global food crisis. (African leaders who had taken part in talks during the day were not invited to the function.) Hours earlier, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had urged the world to reduce the "unnecessary demand" for food and called on British families to cut back on their wasteful use of food. Many bloggers were unforgiving of him and his colleagues:
"Un-friggin-believable. Does no one, an image consultant or anyone like that, survey these plans and say, 'Hey, y'all will look like the most horrible, hypocritical oligarchs imaginable if you do this?' And then who releases the menu, and the fat-cat portrait? Or is the answer more simple: They are simply entirely disconnected from the world at large. ... Welcome to a world without irony."
- Mitch on mitchcohen.blogspot.com
"It's too bad the talks were not about the world disease crisis. Perhaps [Mr. Brown] would have had a nice bowl of malaria instead. ... There are not words to convey how angry this makes me feel."
- Systemik on abovetopsecret.com
"Eighteen courses is a dinner you practically need to train for, or at least provide feathers and a vomitorium. How will they get any work done, nursing those split guts? I count 12 different animals for dinner. And personally, I think it was the Corton-Charlemagne that, how you say, gilded the lily. Oh, they ate lilies, too. Third course. And if you really want to get snarky, start brainstorming what was course 11, listed as the G-8 'fantasy' dessert. Me doubts it was a bowl of rice and a liter of clean drinking water, fantasy enough for millions of people."
- Maggie Dutton on blogs.seattleweekly.com
"Who cares? Al Gore flies to climate change conferences just like U.N. diplomats drink bottled Evian while discussing African water shortages."
- RightinNYC on debatepolitics.com
"To be fair - 18 'courses' doesn't make a lot of sense when applied to a Japanese meal, where a single bowl of rice counts as a 'course.' ... Seems to me like the media are making a bit too much of this, giving the impression that this crew is tucking in to an 18-course Western-style meal. ... Makes a nice smoke screen, though - get to talk about the waste of taxpayers' money instead of their complete and utter incompetence in dealing with the things they're supposed to be dealing with."
- vox2442 on debatepolitics.com