Latvian Diplomat Tells Amusing Human Development Index Anecdote On U.N. Tonight! With Ban Ki-Moon | The Onion – Americas Finest News Source

In case Chinese media are reading–this is a satire:

“So there I was talking to this Belgian diplomat about our infant mortality rates, and then I realize I’m standing right next to the El Salvadorian representative, whose country’s human development score is still in the .670s,” said Penke, seated on a couch between Ban’s desk and announcer-sidekick Boutros Boutros-Ghali. “Now, I’m trying to change the subject to something else—anything else—but all I can think of are standard of living and education indices, both of which El Salvador ranks poorly in. It was so embarrassing.”

“I suppose the U.N.’s still at work on getting El Salvador’s life expectancy up, just like it did with Yugoslavia, right Boutros? Oh, wait…” added Penke, delighting the audience as the camera cut to former secretary-general Boutros-Ghali tugging comically at his shirt collar and feigning discomfort.Ban then added to the ribbing by telling Penke that he “probably shouldn’t mention getting things up around [band leader] Kofi,” causing the studio to erupt in laughter.

via Latvian Diplomat Tells Amusing Human Development Index Anecdote On U.N. Tonight! With Ban Ki-Moon | The Onion – Americas Finest News Source.


8 thoughts on “Latvian Diplomat Tells Amusing Human Development Index Anecdote On U.N. Tonight! With Ban Ki-Moon | The Onion – Americas Finest News Source”

  1. Aside from being amusing, satire plays an important part in society. A healthy society always has a healthy amount of satire. Just a secure individual is not opposed to laughing at him/herself, a nation in good political health is not opposed to a laughing at its political shortcomings. Behind every side-splitting comment, there is a tinge of truth. Satire’s power lies in its ability to reveal truth in a non-threating medium. Satire helps us to face the cold-hard truth, but makes the experience all the more enjoyable – thus opening the door to more thorough introspection. With humor as its balm, satire can address serious issues to a general audience, making it a cathartic catalyst for change.

  2. This article is a great example of the differences between diplomats’ political and personal lives. While in the presence of other diplomats each representative is an ambassador, a spokesperson, an embodiment of his country. In this situation, each diplomat must speak, act, and be the part 100%. If they put on a bad show, so does their country. I’ve always wondered how diplomats discuss difficult issues that need to be resolved but that are quite tender without offending others….I guess sometimes you can’t get away with that. One important skill that I’ve learned form MUN is not basing a country off its diplomat, but trying to really understand what that country wants. (Of course it doesn’t help if your diplomat is charismatic, likable, proper, and ingenuitive!) This article is fun because it does show the softer side of politics. How often do you think delegates gather together to trade embarrassing stories or close calls with their political opponents? I’m sure that, as smooth as diplomats are, they have to find a way to laugh at their silly mistakes or slips of the tongue at the end of the day, forgive those of others, and then keep working towards their goals.

    This article is full of embarrassing political moments…take a look!,28804,1880208_1880218_1880226,00.htm

  3. i just want to preface this by saying how much I love The Onion. I would recommend that everyone follows it on Twitter.
    Looking at what this article is actually addressing, we see a lot of the issues that we talked about in class last week and throughout the semester. Many people look at what the UN does and see it as detached from what is going on in the real world. Having fun banter on a late night talk show instead of actually doing things. It is important to take a look at what news organizations say because they show real problems. Here is an onion article that brings how bad things are in North Korea. (It is also quite funny),18374/

  4. I agree with claytonconley on the importance of satire in society and would also like to mention that the Onion has fooled more than just the Chinese media. In September of this year, an Iranian news agency tried to pass off an Onion story as its own. The original Onion article was about a poll of Rural Whites preferring Ahmadinejad to Obama. The poll of course was completely fictional, and once the Iranian news agency found out it took the story down from its website. The Onion has also fooled American news agencies in the past.
    This article discusses the most recent mistake and metions several others:

  5. I personally love satire. It takes wit and a certain level of intellect to read and to write it well. I thought the following article was funny on a bit of a superficial level, as it was most likely supposed to be. At times, however, satire can be quite powerful and especially memorable (Irish babies for dinner, anyone?). Looking into what exactly makes satire so, at times, severe, I found an article entitled “Satire: A Writer’s Lethal Weapon” ( The key to satire? Holding up your subject to ridicule. It’s slightly ironic that the UN is presented as a late-night talk show, often filled with such satires, and I doubt the comparison is an accident.

    Though I just have to say, the Photoshop job isn’t the best.

  6. What I enjoy about this article is how it shows who is relevant to the public. The Latvian diplomat is no one (how many Americans know where Latvia is?); Ban Ki-Moon is a recognizable name; chancellor Merkel is even more well known (; but she is nothing compared to Ahmadinejad. I think this article is very funny and telling about the American public’s awareness of key players in the international arena.

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