Barack Obama giving the Queen an iPod for a gift really did stir up some controversy (though, seriously, loading “Send in the Clowns” on the thing was just inviting mockery).
Bill O’Reilly even went as far as to say that giving British royalty an iPod as a gift would have gotten you beheaded in the days of Henry the 8th. Of course it would have — since they’d never seen one, you’d most assuredly either get beheaded for being a sorcerer, or simply because the King got insulted that you were unable to contain yourself and loaded the song “I am Henry the 8th I am” on the thing before giving it to him.
It wouldn’t be just British iPodophobia that would have gotten you beheaded though. I assume if you gave 14th Century royalty the gift of a television, radio, paintball gun, model rocket or cigar lighter for that matter, you’d have been convicted of wizardry, stripped of your powdered wig and chained inside the Tower of London for the rest of your life.
As a matter of fact, I heard that the real reason Marie Antoinette was beheaded was because she tried to give King George III a Sony Walkman during a summit meeting.
Gadget gurus used to be put to death — nowadays they just annoy us on morning news programs.
Here’s O’Reilly on why Obama should thank his lucky stars he wasn’t elected President of the United States 500 years ago: