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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Obama's selfie

There's been a lot of talk in the press lately about the way Obama took a selfie with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron at Nelson Mandela's memorial service recently:

Most of the commenters have criticized Obama for showing disrespect at what is supposed to be a solemn occasion. And many have noted Michelle Obama's disapproving expression while these shenanigans were going on.

Some have even said how hypocritical this seems, especially given that when Mandela died, Obama ordered all federal flags to be flown at half mast, something almost never done for a foreign leader.

But perhaps there is a different take on all this. Perhaps our Fearless Leader is merely showing courage in the face of what must be a devastating personal loss for him. Perhaps he is simply trying to cover up his grief.

Or perhaps not.

Whatever your interpretation, a picture of someone taking a picture of himself is worth a thousand words.


Chris Mallory said...

There are plenty of reasons to hate Obama. This isn't one of them. His picture taking didn't pick my pocket or break my leg.

John Craig said...

Chris --
True enough.

At the same time, this incident is, in microcosm, illustrative of both his narcissistic personality and the free pass he gets from the major media, which for the most part didn't mention it.

Spychiatrist said...

Actually his picture taking did pick your pocket.

Who do you think pays for these expensive junkets?


Brian Fradet said...

Michelle Obama has that typical wifely covert hostile look that says no one is paying attention to me-not even my own husband! I'm very familiar with that look, unfortunately for me. Brian

John Craig said...

Spychiatrist --
Good point.

Brian --
"That typical wifely covert hostile look" -- perfect. (Except it's often overt.)

Unfortunately, all us married guys are familiar with that look.

Anonymous said...

Michelle probably experiences the feeling a lot more than most wives :-)

- Ed

Glen Filthie said...

For me this kind of thing boils down to code of conduct for people in public office.

Bill Clinton getting gummers from stupid young women at the office is one thing, it is quite another when it is the president of the United States or any other leader.

Obutthole clowning for the camera at an affair of state is one thing...but for the President of the United States it is quite another.

I am convinced that Obama got elected based on the colour of his skin and not the content of his character.

Anonymous said...

The President and other dignitaries would have done well not to take the photo of themselves, especially during a memorial service - not appropriate. However, the fake sign language interpreter "takes the cake", being an embarrassment to South Africa. I don't understand how an unqualified, incompetent sign language interpreter could have been hired to sign for deaf (and/or hearing impaired) people - amazing.

John Craig said...

Anon --
That was pretty mind-boggling.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? The fake interpreter was the next best thing to come from Mandela's death, finishing a close second to the actual death. I wish every event had a farcical signist, slipping in the occasional blowjob pantomime, etc.
But using these interpreters at political speeches is a joke in itself. In Obama's case, they could simply add a teleprompter for the deafmutes in the front row to read (maybe another one in braille for the blind). For every other politician, they could just have any untrained volunteer from the audience stand up there making a wanking motion whenever the speaker's lips move... and roll their eyes when the bullshit gets especially thick.

Anonymous said...

And there' Michelle.....regretting her marriage.....

John Craig said...

Anon --
I wonder if she does. On the one hand, she seems to be just a beard, an duo marriage like that can be a happy one. (Think of all the unhappy ones where the wife didn't start off as a beard.)

On the other hand, she wouldn't be living anywhere close to this glamorous a life if she hadn't married Obama. So I don't know.

Remnant said...

The fake interpreter was indicative of a kind of "cargo cult" mentality and really does speak (sign?) volumes about the culture?

Someone in charge said: "Whenever someone important gives a speech, there is always someone next to him doing something with his hands. Since we want to show we are an important sophisticated country, we need to do that too."

Cargo-cultism combined with some degree of extremely amateurish con-man attitide. Again, I'm talking about the decision makers here not (or not primarily) the guy doing the "signing".

John Craig said...

Remnant --
I think your analysis is exactly right. Another way to look at it would be to say that the current South African government regards sign language as nothing more than another type of witchcraft.

It's also a telling indicator of what Mandela's revolution has led to.

Remnant said...

I did not intend to comment further on the farcical Mandela funeral "interpreter" but I came across an Associated Press article today in the paper while eating lunch.

As if proving that truth is more absurd than satire, the article provides the following additional information about "interpreter" Thamsanqa Jantjie:

-- he was implicated in, but not arrested or convincted for, a "necklacing" double-murder ten years ago; (who better to translate at Mandela's funeral?)

-- he is clinically schitzophrenic; and

-- surely the piece de resistance: "at some point after [being institutionalized for schitzophrenia and eventually released], he started getting jobs doing sign language interpretation at events for the governing African National Congress Party."

So this was not a one-off inept gaffe by the organizers of the Mandela funeral. This was their go-to guy for translation for the deaf despite the fact that he has ZERO knowledge of sign-language.

The on-dead-tree article I read was a truncated version of the following piece:

John Craig said...

Remnant --
Thank you. A similar article appeared in the NY Post yesterday.

Again, you're absolutely right: that this guy would be a screwup and charlatan ways proves nothing more than that he himself is a dysfunctional human being, and, well, there are those everywhere. But the fact that he ended up being the go-to guy for the ANC tells you everything you need to know about the entire organization's overall efficiency and competence.