How did a shadowy East European “businessman” know it might be fun for all concerned to tap the liquored-up private conversations of Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski, who is recorded as deriding his Polish countrymen as what is being gingerly translated as “Negro slave-brained?” Well, this 2008 story might have given him a clue that Anne Applebaum’s husband might be a Donald Sterling-sized font of fun. From the Daily Mail:
UPDATED: 14:56 EST, 18 November 2008
Poland has conceded that its foreign minister Radek Sikorski made a jibe about U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s grandparents being cannibals.
Mr Sikorski, an Oxford-educated politician who has lived in the U.S. was reported as making the joke on the blog site of opposition politician, Ryszard Czarnecki.
Mr Czarnecki, a Member of the European Parliament, quoted the foreign minister as saying: ‘Have you heard that Obama may have a Polish connection? His grandfather ate a Polish missionary.’
A spokesman for the Poland foreign office confirmed that Mr Sikorski did make the controversial comment, however denied that he had intended to insult Mr Obama, whose father is Kenyan.
‘Mr Sikorski did not tell a racist joke,’ Piotr Paszkowski, the spokesman, told the Daily Telegraph.
‘He was only giving an example of the unpalatable and racist “jokes” that surround President Elect Obama.’
That sounds like a pretty lame excuse, but apparently it worked because it’s six years later and Sikorski is foreign minister.
Sterling was actually doing something like that, judging from his remarks about how badly blacks are treated in Israel, but it’s pretty arbitrary and contingent what you can get away with.