Sunday, July 24, 2011

Parrothead Diplomacy

I just finished watching Captain America, and there will be a full write-up of the public diplomacy side of such things, but first I had to address a drive-way moment on the way back.  A drive-way moment is a story on NPR that is so good that you remain in your car after you have reached your destination.  This particular piece happened to be about Jimmy Buffett.  Bob Edwards was interviewing the parrothead prince, and it was a fascinating discussion.

Jimmy Buffett: singer, songwriter, best-selling author, poet, storyteller, international icon, jester-in-chief.  The King of Margaritaville. Master showman who knows how to sell and project a tangible culture.   Businessman, as he was discussing the Margaritaville brand.  I would argue public and cultural diplomat too.   Public Diplomacy for Margaritaville, I could do that.

Also interesting that the man who best chronicled Murrow's life and knows a thing or two about public diplomats, Bob Edwards, was interviewing him.

Jimmy Buffett has a uniquely American sound and style that projects the Gulf/West landscape.  Part country, part folk, part boat music.  In his music, a uniquely American side of culture is projected ala country music diplomacy.  He even partakes in a bit of international broadcasting with his own Sirius Satellite radio channel, Radio (Free) Margaritaville.  I won't even get into how Cheeseburger in Paradise makes him a gastrodiplomat.

Interestingly, the world-famous musician mentioned that he never won any awards for his work.  So, on behalf of the Santos Administration, and as Undersec for Public Diplomacy for the Vinick State Department, I hereby bestow the Willis Conover Award for Cultural Diplomacy upon Jimmy Buffett.  

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