Source - Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever, who is head of the separatist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party, was about four minutes into his New Year’s Day video interview with Radio 2 when presenter Kim Debrie noticed his unexpected below-the-waist attire, the station said.
“I’m a bit distracted,” the presenter suddenly said with a giggle.
“You are wearing a very nice top, you probably donned it especially for us. But under that top: Could you be there in your underwear?” she asked.
After initially appearing baffled at how she knew, the mayor caught on that a mirror behind him unexpectedly gave him away, and with a straight face, deliberately aimed his phone to give a clear view of his mishap.
I take a back seat to no man when it comes to appreciating growing up in the good old U.S. of Fuckin-A. It's not been perfect. We've made ourselves a big target. But there's a lot to be said for living in the world's dominant superpower in an era that has largely been of relative peace and unquestioned prosperity. In a time when we have been the cultural center of the world, from our entertainment to our language to our blue jeans.
That said, there's a part of me that envies a country like Belgium. Sure, it hasn't all been waffles and endive for them. Geographically it's tough being situated smack in the middle of a continent that shifts loyalties every couple of generations. Through no fault of theri own, Belgium was pretty much the Welcome mat Kaiser Wilhelm's troops wiped their feet on as they invaded France in 1914. And most of the nastiest fighting of that long conflict basically happened in their living room.
But you look at them today and see they're doing alright. I mean, just look at this story. This is the kind of thing that embarrasses their public figures? It's actually kind of endearing. At the risk of being condescending, you can even call it adorable. The reaction of that interviewer, who you can tell sort of thinks it's cute. Mayor De Wever getting all flummoxed. Actually seeming a little ashamed before he owns up to it. But neither of them taking themselves too seriously. It's enough to make you want to live there if that's how they handle things.
Think about what it would take to get a rise like this out of one of our officials. They're virtually unshamable, whether they're getting caught violating their own Covid restrictions or drawing full paychecks while they spend months debating whether to give out-of-work taxpayers a tiny amount of their own money or spending their entire careers working just to get reelected. Show me any big city mayor in the US and I'll show you someone who wouldn't be this embarrassed if the mirror showed an underage prostitute or a dead body under that desk. But De Wever just moves the phone to show he's been Porky Piggin' it through the interview. And probably won the election in the process. This should be our democracy, but I'm afraid that ship has sailed.