The Miller Center at the University of Virginia, a nonpartisan organization focused on American presidential history, offers on its website an extensive list of the key moments of George H. W. Bush’s presidency. Included among the many items are the U.S.’s condemnation of China after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the signing of the START-1 treaty, ushering in the end of the Cold War, and the start of the Gulf War—a listing, all in all, of a series of complicated events that situate the 41st president within the grand sweep of world history.
On Saturday, responding to the news of Bush’s death at 94, the entertainment-news outlet Deadline published a decidedly different assessment of the key moments of Bush’s presidency. This list, focused on video images, includes the broccoli incident: the time, in 1990, that Bush declared his personal distaste for the veggie (“I do not like broccoli … And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it”), spurring a teapot tempest among indignant members of the American broccoli lobby.
It includes, as well, the time Bush (in)famously checked his watch during a 1992 presidential debate against Bill Clinton, who would go on to defeat him in the election. It includes the time that, overcome with nausea but still wanting to represent the United States at a state dinner, Bush suddenly vomited while seated next to the prime minister of Japan—a moment of extreme humanity, and a suggestion that presidents, like the stars that shine in America’s synthetic firmament, are just like us. And it includes video of Dana Carvey, who translated Bush’s presidency into comedy for Saturday Night Live, re-creating the incident on the show as the studio audience howled with laughter.