Keith started a discussion about the meaning of a word apparently obsolete in American English but still in British English use: gormless.
The term is somewhat hard to define, but I looked it up in the Pictionary:
Synonyms: dim, clueless, sh*t-for-brains.
The list of Romney’s blunders since he got to London – not counting sending ahead whatever “foreign policy advisor” decided to play the Anglo-Saxon card – is really quite astounding:
– He insulted the country’s Olympic preparations, drawing rebukes from both Cameron and Boris Johnson, two fellow members of the Hereditary Plutocrats’ Union. Yes, there’s been some Central Asian polyamory involved in the process, but it was hardly polite for a guest to mention it.
– He referred to “the nation of Great Britain.” Great Britain is the name of an island (by contrast with Brittany or Lesser Britain). In it live three nations: the English, the Welsh, and the Scots. (Four, if you’re a Cornish nationalist.) The Britons as a separate people got wiped out by the Anglo-Saxons, though both Cornish and Welsh are Brythonic languages. Great Britain is the larger part of a country called the United Kingdom, which also includes Northern Ireland.
– He referred in public to being briefed by the head of MI-6. Such meetings are secret. (This follows up on his blunder in quoting – as it turned out, mis-quoting – a private conversation with the Australian Foreign Minister, in a way that made the Australian seem to be taking sides in the American election.)
– He addressed the head of the Labour party, Ed Miliband, as “Mr. Leader,” suggesting that either he doesn’t understand the forms of address used in the UK or that he’d forgotten Miliband’s name, or both.
– Trying to clean up his Olympics gaffe, he spoke of how inspiring it was to “look out of the backside of 10 Downing Street” and see the Olympic venue. I’m not sure where he was looking, but he was clearly speaking out of his own backside.
– Then, bizarrely, Romney announced that not only was he not going to attend the Olympic event in which his wife’s (tax-deductible) dressage horse is competing for a medal, but that he didn’t even know when the event was going to be. Really? Really? Your wife might come home with an Olympic Gold Medal, and you’re not planning to watch on TV? Not only will no sane person believe this, but if it were true it would reveal a lack of ordinary human emotion that would be seriously disqualifying in a candidate for President.
When even Tory media start comparing you – unfavorably – to Sarah Palin, you’re definitely not having a good day.
What’s strange is that Romney, who’s clearly several bricks shy of a full gorm-load, is by no means stupid. A very smart HBS classmate of Romney’s – who didn’t especially like him – told me that Romney was “the smartest guy in the class,” and I’m willing to believe it. But there’s clearly a piece missing somewhere.