Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Oh my goth!
September 29, 2009 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Amazingly Consistent Obama Smile

"On Wednesday, the Obamas hosted a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, during which they stood for 130 photographs with visiting foreign dignitaries in town for the UN meeting. The President has exactly the same smile in every single shot." (via)

Make your own video using the State Department’s flickr stream.

One of these photos of the Obamas posing with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, his wife Sonsoles Espinosa, and two daughters, Laura, 16, and Alba, 13, has created a kerfuffle, since a Spanish law prohibits pictures of the Zapatero daughters from appearing online or in print.

Megan McCain weighs in. So do the goths.

Gawker spills State secrets.
posted by cjorgensen (137 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Surely this...
posted by DU at 6:14 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love that picture with the Spanish goth daughters.

I mean, I applaud Spain for having such useful laws against such photography, but I can't get over how real they make the picture look. So out of place, so perfect.
posted by rokusan at 6:22 PM on September 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


Many of those are clearly repeated, but whatever.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:22 PM on September 29, 2009


Watching this makes my teeth hurt.
posted by farishta at 6:23 PM on September 29, 2009


Wow. Obama is really good at being a professional politician.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:24 PM on September 29, 2009 [19 favorites]


It's not that unusual. If you have a practiced 'someone is taking a photo' smile, it's going to look the same in every pic.
posted by Never teh Bride at 6:25 PM on September 29, 2009


Megan McCain sure does love to weigh in about herself, doesn't she?
posted by katillathehun at 6:25 PM on September 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


You know who else had a consistent smile...
posted by diogenes at 6:28 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess this could backfire and become a conservative meme. But in each of the many countries where one of those photos is widely distributed, the people will have a slightly friendlier opinion of the US because of our president's warm and welcoming smile. It's a good thing.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:28 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, once you get your photo taken a billion times like that you learn how to assume the position.

I hope Ms. McCain isn't actually getting paid to write commentary about political events.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:30 PM on September 29, 2009


Many of those are clearly repeated, but whatever.

No they are not. See the State Department’s flickr stream, then go through the video a frame at a time if you like. There are 130 photos put together to make a 20 second clip. That's 6.5 photos a second. Web video is like 30 fps? Anyway, I don;t not believe there are repeats. If you watch the left side I don't see repeats of the people with Obama.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:31 PM on September 29, 2009


He also puts his socks on before his trousers every morning. That crazy President!
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:32 PM on September 29, 2009


I am...alone. I am...utterly...alone. By the time...you read this...l will...be gone...having jumped...having plummeted...
posted by DU at 6:32 PM on September 29, 2009 [16 favorites]


We could always conjecture that it may be the Secret Obamabot taking his place for all public appearances (Obamabot is bulletproof but its smile is still in Beta), or, after all he has had to put up with, he is constantly under heavy medication (which by the looks of that smile, may contain Enzyte, which tests have proven has zero effect 'down-there' but freezes the facial muscles in an unnaturally broad grin).
posted by wendell at 6:32 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know who else had a consistent smile...

Paris Hitler?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:33 PM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


So do the goths.

Other than the headline of that particular article, it provides nothing (other than some speculation at the end of a sentence) about any reaction from any "goths."
posted by dubitable at 6:35 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Michelle looks hawt!
posted by govtdrone at 6:37 PM on September 29, 2009


Shhhh, dubitable, don't tell anyone, but the Gawker link isn't really a state secret either.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:38 PM on September 29, 2009


same face, same mouth, same teeth, same photographer, same afternoon...
posted by Artful Codger at 6:39 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shhhh, dubitable, don't tell anyone, but the Gawker link isn't really a state secret either.

Yeah, you know, reading back my comment, I sound really offended, which is kind of ridiculous, I didn't really feel that offended. Sorry 'bout that.

But dammit, I WAS really looking forward to getting some goth reactions! I want the inside scoop.
posted by dubitable at 6:42 PM on September 29, 2009


This makes me miss the cardboard cutout of Obama we had in our apartment last year. Someone walked off with it, somehow.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:44 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speculation about Obama's bowel movements must surely be just around the corner.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 6:47 PM on September 29, 2009


Those girls have terrible posture. Straight backs, ladies!
posted by orrnyereg at 6:47 PM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


govtdrone: "Michelle looks hawt!"

Hear the latest?

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is to kick off the 40th anniversary season of the children's TV show "Sesame Street" with a segment encouraging kids to plant gardens and eat healthy food.


As reported on FOX News tomorrow:

"Some American citizens are frightened that the First Lady appears to be indoctrinating schoolchildren into becoming obedient socialist agricultural workers. We think that they're entitled to have the President give straight answers to these very disturbing questions."
posted by Joe Beese at 6:56 PM on September 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Seconded, the one on the left looks like she could be auditioning for a witch in Macbeth.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 6:56 PM on September 29, 2009


His smile says, "burn in hell, Strom Thurmond."
posted by sswiller at 6:57 PM on September 29, 2009 [25 favorites]


Wait. You mean politicians might practice their political facial expressions? My worldview has crumbled.
posted by hippybear at 6:57 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Note to world leaders (male) who stand less than five foot nine inches tall: Having your picture taken while standing between these two people isn't the best strategy to strengthen the level of regard the people back home have for you.
posted by TimTypeZed at 6:58 PM on September 29, 2009


If the spanish Prime Minister's daughters don't want their picture published, they shouldn't stand in front of cameras and smile. I guess the whole Goth thing is because of their black clothes and the Doc Martens, heavy eyeliner, and black nail polish the daughter on the right is wearing. And their bad posture.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:58 PM on September 29, 2009


OOPS, I meant Spanish.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:59 PM on September 29, 2009


...First Lady appears to be indoctrinating schoolchildren into becoming obedient socialist agricultural workers.

In all seriousness, the WH garden was part of the reason I put so much effort into actually making a garden this year. (Also, wouldn't a DIY, organic, Big Ag-free backyard garden actually be subversive rather than "obedient"?)
posted by DU at 7:01 PM on September 29, 2009


Daddy-O: "If the spanish Prime Minister's daughters don't want their picture published, they shouldn't stand in front of cameras and smile."

Now this is how you're supposed to present a ruling family.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:01 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


The President has exactly the same smile in every single shot.

Dude is just that good.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:01 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to hear Glenn Beck start to cry about how his ancestors were subsistence farming peasants, and that he didn't grow up in an America where people ate plants from dirt mixed with cow shit irrigated with water like from the toilet. Then, the tears start.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:03 PM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Now this is how you're supposed to present a ruling family.

Aww. What a happy bunch of plutocrats!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:03 PM on September 29, 2009


the cardboard cutout of Obama we had in our apartment last year. Someone walked off with it, somehow.

I hope you get an envelope slipped under your door one day with photos of cardboard Obama wearing a turban.
posted by rokusan at 7:07 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


>: Now this is how you're supposed to present a ruling family.

Maybe, but I'd rather talk to the Zapateros any day of the week.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:12 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was there an expectation that Obama would have a different smile for different leaders?
posted by plastic_animals at 7:15 PM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm taking that dude to the prom.
posted by ColdChef at 7:17 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know who else had a consistent smile...

JESUS CHRIST STOP DOING THIS.
posted by xmutex at 7:18 PM on September 29, 2009 [32 favorites]


Now this is how you're supposed to present a ruling family.

Wait! I thought they didn't show up on photographic film!?!
posted by Forrest Greene at 7:19 PM on September 29, 2009


spain+daughters+goth returns 1,250,000 results. Will soon be one more. I am sure at least one goth blog has actually mentioned the photo.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:19 PM on September 29, 2009


Joe Beese: "this is how you're supposed to present a ruling family."

what the hell those socks
posted by boo_radley at 7:21 PM on September 29, 2009


I love that picture with the Spanish goth daughters.

AKA Visigoths?
posted by dgaicun at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Socks? Those are cowboy boots with the Presidential seal on them.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2009


Was there an expectation that Obama would have a different smile for different leaders?

Sometimes if certain snappy dressed Libyans are in the frame, he doesn't even look at the camera.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:25 PM on September 29, 2009


And man, does that picture ever look like they're getting lined up to be shot after a revolution.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:27 PM on September 29, 2009


Boots. Not socks. As in "presidential seal cowboy boots."

what the hell, indeed.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 7:27 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe he'll be President some day!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:30 PM on September 29, 2009


I still can't look at Sarkozy without seeing Kevin McDonald.
posted by rokusan at 7:31 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Those are cowboy boots with the Presidential seal on them.

These are the guys who talked about "restoring dignity" to the White House, right?

Did he run around state dinners playing "pull my finger", too?
posted by rokusan at 7:34 PM on September 29, 2009


This one is kinda funny. She probably had to wait a long time to get her picture taken with the president and then...
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:37 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Re the goth girls: I think it says a lot of good things about their parents that those girls were allowed to be themselves and weren't forced to dress and act like perky little "good girls" for the occasion. Kudos to them.
posted by amyms at 7:39 PM on September 29, 2009 [29 favorites]


cjorgensen: "Socks? Those are cowboy boots with the Presidential seal on them."

the fuck you say what kinda dingus would do that
posted by boo_radley at 7:40 PM on September 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Posing for pictures must be one of the worst parts of the job of being President. Hundreds and hundreds of pictures, every day, everywhere you go. I once read modeling described as "standing still, shutting up and wearing clothes- 3 things I hate". Can't blame anyone for finding a look and sticking with it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:43 PM on September 29, 2009


I think it says a lot of good things about their parents that those girls were allowed to be themselves and weren't forced to dress and act like perky little "good girls" for the occasion. Kudos to them.

Yeah, that's pretty cool.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:44 PM on September 29, 2009


Obama completes me.
posted by jamstigator at 7:47 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sometimes if certain snappy dressed Libyans are in the frame, he doesn't even look at the camera.

Dictators are just like rock stars; right down to their excruciating hyper-abundance of groupies. Also, they both insist on abusing their power to make shitty horror movies.
posted by dgaicun at 7:50 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The flickr stream doesn't have any pix tagged with "Zapatero" or "spain" anymore. Down the memory hole with them!

As usual, our own PM looks as dorky as usual. Bronagh scrubs up well though.
posted by John Shaft at 7:50 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know who else had a consistent smile...

JESUS CHRIST STOP DOING THIS.


You know who else stopped doing this...
posted by davejay at 7:53 PM on September 29, 2009 [21 favorites]


Presidential seal socks, with crocs!
posted by Monsters at 7:54 PM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


I had such a fear this post would be deleted. I looked, and surprisingly it wasn't a double, so then I popped over to the deleted threads blog to see if had been posted and removed with something like....

This post was removed because metafilter doesn't do Single Link Obama Posts well.

Since in the end, they are all links to essentially the same material, just different takes.

I thought the video was cool, because regardless of your political affiliation it still looks neat. I was kind of surprised that it was pointed out this could become a conservative meme. I didn't see it as a positive or negative portrayal of the President.

And to everyone that says, Is it surprising he's developed a look and sticks with it? It is to me. I just don't see how a person could smile the same way that many times in a row.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:59 PM on September 29, 2009


I knew there was a reason I hated crocs...
posted by slapshot57 at 8:00 PM on September 29, 2009


You know who else was goth as a teenager?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:02 PM on September 29, 2009


I'd pay several hundred dollars for a smile that great. And I'm not a politician. I guess you could say that Obama literally has a trillion-dollar smile. He's damn good at it! Bush's "smile" wasn't quite so winning.
posted by Camofrog at 8:05 PM on September 29, 2009


Come on. This isn't quite the same as those teenage girls that have had these sorts of movies made in the past, who have found what they think is the only good angle, and so assume one pose, no matter how off or out of place, the moment a camera appears, and so you can stitch together two year\s of photos taken in hundreds of different places, and everything changes -- the background, the friends, the clothes, the weather -- except the girls' face, which remains unchanged, as though it had simply been transplanted from photo to photo.

This was one guy over a short period of time standing still while a procession of strangers stood next to him, the camera pointed at him, and he smiled. It's gonna look basically the same.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:05 PM on September 29, 2009


Is it possible that he was photoshopped into those shots? His hands and arms are consistently in the same position.
posted by subatomiczoo at 8:05 PM on September 29, 2009


I'm pretty sure that Crocs shot of Bush is post-mountain biking. He took off his cycling shoes and put on Crocs. Not chic, but very common.

I believe this is the first time I've ever stuck up for W. ::Noting date and time::
posted by mtevis at 8:14 PM on September 29, 2009


Call me when the "Vladimir Putin's amazingly consistent deadpan look" video comes out.
posted by Avelwood at 8:20 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Zapatero daughters look like normal (that is to say, awkward) teenagers. I think they look like sweet kids, to be honest.

It looks to me as if both of them are doing the thing where you sort of lean your head forward to minimize the appearance of a double chin in photographs. If you do it too obviously, you end up looking stooped-forward.
posted by Monsters at 8:21 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know who else was goth as a teenager?

Alaric?
posted by rokusan at 8:29 PM on September 29, 2009 [12 favorites]


Call me when the "Vladimir Putin's amazingly consistent deadpan look" video comes out.

The DVD of that is like The Ring.
posted by rokusan at 8:29 PM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wow, it's like he does this for a living or something!
posted by chairface at 8:50 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that Crocs shot of Bush is post-mountain biking. He took off his cycling shoes and put on Crocs. Not chic, but very common.

Seriously... you take off the socks after MTBing before putting on the crocs/sandals/whatever. To not do that is just... grody.
posted by unSane at 8:50 PM on September 29, 2009


Burhanistan: Interesting photo, that. I like the way the center three handled it: clearly stated, significant disapproval.

But I think perhaps Sarkozy nailed it: gazing off absently into the distance, as if Qaddafi isn't even there. The opposite of love is not hate: it is to not care at all; to have no energy whatsoever about the thing.

It's a shame they don't do more.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:51 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: to have no energy whatsoever about the thing
posted by Rumple at 9:12 PM on September 29, 2009


Oh, and Bush smile and Obama smile .... the twain meets.
posted by Rumple at 9:12 PM on September 29, 2009


Presidential seal socks, with crocs!

I hate George W. Bush.

I hate Crocs.

Yet I sort of like this photo.

WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT
posted by hifiparasol at 9:15 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want them to do this again with the people next to him getting shorter and shorter so he not only has the same smile, but he appears to be getting taller.
posted by jessamyn at 9:24 PM on September 29, 2009 [17 favorites]


AKA Visigoths?

Oh man that brings back memories. You kids today with your Lotus 1-2-Goth and your MicroGoth Excel have no idea what a sea change it was when VisiGoth came out for the Apple II.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:24 PM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is global village gossip where all the biddies who have no lives of their own and did nothing with their own existence try to show their fake superiority by making comments about how people posed and dressed...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:28 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan, thanks for that awesome funereal leaders pic. Qaddaffi looks like Zaphod Beeblebrox on a bad hair day. 'Put your stylist on danger money, baby, *now*.'
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:33 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet it was real hard to get a table at the IHoP after this gathering.

What people don't understand is that Obama plays the long game. Always. If you look exactly the same in every picture it makes it harder for the Republicans to notice that you farted in your picture with H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey.

I loved looking through these. It's like pictures from the world's most powerful Prom. So awards seemed fitting.


The Boris and Natasha award: His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and H.H. Sheikha Mozah Consort of H.H. The Emir of the State of Qatar Also winners in the Best Moustache, Widest electrifying suit, and "Really? Consort?" categories.

Best Dressed (male): A tie between H.E. Dmitriy Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation and H.E. Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia Seriously, Medvedev is showing you how a suit is supposed to fit. And the shoes are proper. But the other guy is simply bringing his "A" game.

Best Dressed (female): Mrs. Kamilla Mammadyarova og Azerbajian

Best Dressed (couple): H.E. Toomas Hendrik Ilves President of the Republic of Estonia, and his wife, Mrs. Evelin Ilves Looking good, Estonia! Damn!

The most disappointed to find out Studio 54 closed a long time ago award: Mrs. Djukanovic of Montenegro

Prom King and Queen: H.E. Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, and Mrs. Nepal
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:35 PM on September 29, 2009 [45 favorites]


This one is kinda funny. She probably had to wait a long time to get her picture taken with the president and then...

There's so much about this picture to love. Her hair. Her dress. Her facial expression. Kind of makes you think that no first lady in the world is having quite as much fun being the first lady as the first lady of Cameroon.
posted by thivaia at 9:42 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


my favourite thing about these pictures is Michelle's legs - they blend perfectly with her shoes to make a shape that can only be described as ubershinypointiness!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:08 PM on September 29, 2009


President Bush did the same thing. 'Machine' Politician Exposed By Photos (The Washington Post ran this in early 2001 before 9/11 changed everything.)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:27 PM on September 29, 2009


Can you imagine how weird it would be if he had a different facial expression for each of those 130 photos?
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:33 PM on September 29, 2009


Can you imagine how weird it would be if he had a different facial expression for each of those 130 photos?

The animation would be a lot more interesting.
posted by rokusan at 10:39 PM on September 29, 2009


"You know who else was goth as a teenager?
'Alaric?'"

Alright, that was just funny. Practically gave me a bloody nose there.

"Dictators are just like rock stars; right down to their excruciating hyper-abundance of groupies."

Worth looking at this picture while listening to this.

Re: Meghan McCain: "How about giving these kids a break as they grow up in the spotlight?"

It's weird that the matter has to be broached. I wouldn't go so far as to say we should go full bore Andrew Jackson and let people stand on the white house furniture with muddy boots. But back in the day populism wasn't multi-millionaires screaming at poor people on the radio about how the rich don't have enough support.
There was this common man spirit to the white house. Which is why the chief executive is not called "The Boss" or "King" or there's any pretension to monarchy in the title "MISTER" President.
He's supposed to be the head guy, yeah, but he's also supposed to be just a guy like anyone else. That was the point. That's why the terms are limited.

Indeed, while 'commander in chief' derives from a Roman title, the founders (in the Federalist Papers, et.al.) were pretty clear to differentiate between the war powers of a monarch (who could initiate wars, raise armies, arm them, was the paymaster, etc.) the President was nothing more than the guy just giving directions, sort of the central point through which congressional will was funneled.
...not that this has been maintained much either.

Point being - people used to meet and talk to the president in even handmade clothes. Harry Truman served tuna noodle casserole - it was relaxed, man - the President was always supposed to be a man of the people not above the people.

But we seem to have this 'I'd have a beer with him/ he's a symbol, you peasant' double standard going on. It's just the president. Yes, very powerful man, yeah, but a very impersonal power derived from common folks. So respect, ok, but insisting on formality, not so much.

Long standing tradition that Americans don't bow to royalty. I don't see why that spirit wouldn't include it being ok to wear doc martins, or whatever, around the president.
So the premise is off from first principles.

As far as the two goth kids - hell, that's their dad so yeah it's their thing.
I suppose we should be glad the Brazilian envoys don't show up in thongs.
Or...perhaps not so glad.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:45 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want them to do this again with the people next to him getting shorter and shorter so he not only has the same smile, but he appears to be getting taller.

6' 8"
6' 20"

12 stories high made of radiation.
posted by clearly at 10:49 PM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


" Oh, it's THAT country, I'm not gonna smile so much."
posted by PHINC at 10:58 PM on September 29, 2009


What's up with Mesic not getting bracketed by the Obamas? I know Kosor wasn't there but it seems a bit protocolish to stick him on the outside. In particular because he is the only one this happened to.
posted by tellurian at 11:07 PM on September 29, 2009


I must point out that it isn't just the PM's children that Spanish law protects from public exposure, it's minors in general, and the law was specifically passed to prevent celebrities from exploiting their kids. Zapatero's case is of course different: until know he had managed to keep his children ALTOGETHER out of the public light. In fact, most Spaniards' reaction to this piece of news has been: "He has children?!" It's kinda sweet to see that he has gone so far out of his way until now to protect them, although my cynical me suspects that their strange mistake of posing for that picture and the subsequent kerfuffle may have less to do with the kids' Obamadoration than with Zapatero's need to improve his nice guy image in the face of plunging opinion polls.
posted by Skeptic at 11:26 PM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's why the terms are limited.

Uh, no, terms are limited because Congressional Republicans got all pissy that a Democrat was elected to four terms.

Not that I disagree with the rest.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:43 PM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I went on a trip back in 2007 on a large cruise liner and there was a cocktail reception with the Captain where you could get your picture taken with him. It was like the dude was wearing a mask. Shake hands, say hello, mask on. It was kinda creepy.
posted by PenDevil at 12:35 AM on September 30, 2009


In my opinion, Obama should work on his photo posture. In most of these photos, he seems to be leaning in toward the other people in the photograph. I would prefer to see him stand straight up, without leaning. The leaning comes across in my eyes as a bit desperate. Hard to explain, but I think he'd look more presidential if he stood completely straight and continued to beam the same smile.
posted by syzygy at 12:36 AM on September 30, 2009


There was this common man spirit to the white house. Which is why the chief executive is not called "The Boss" or "King" or there's any pretension to monarchy in the title "MISTER" President.

I can't find the clip now, but this reminds me of Bush dressing down the reporter who dared refer to him as "sir".
posted by rokusan at 1:01 AM on September 30, 2009


In my opinion, Obama should work on his photo posture. In most of these photos, he seems to be leaning.

Also of concern: he always seems to be leaning to the right.
posted by rokusan at 1:02 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


five days from my twitter to metafilter? this must be some kind of record.
posted by krautland at 2:35 AM on September 30, 2009


I think he leans because most of the people he's being photographed with are smaller than him. In the photo of the Obamas with the Montenegrin Prime Minister he seems straighter. The PM is actually taller than Obama.
posted by knapah at 2:36 AM on September 30, 2009


I had mixed feelings about that Zapatero photo. On the one hand, it's great that he lets his kids be kids and have their goth phase if they want. On the other hand, posture should be non-negotiable.
posted by creasy boy at 2:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Angela Merkel has picked a look and she's sticking to it.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 2:50 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Angela Merkel has picked a look and she's sticking to it.

I'm certain sign language interpreters would have a good laugh with that one.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:07 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think it says a lot of good things about their parents that those girls were allowed to be themselves and weren't forced to dress and act like perky little "good girls" for the occasion. Kudos to them.

Wait, really? Isn't this the same MetaFilter where we like to tee off on the sons and daughters of the rich/famous/powerful for being spoiled? Seems to me that if you're going to a state function, you should probably dress up a bit. This is how children learn to do things that they don't necessarily want to do, to not be completely spoiled. Besides, this sort of function is the perfect place to wear all black. You just really can't wear the Docs.
posted by explosion at 3:52 AM on September 30, 2009


...you should probably dress up a bit... you just really can't wear the Docs.

Again, see GWB in his formal Presidential cowboy boots upthread.

The bar is low, friend. Low.
posted by rokusan at 3:57 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Note to world leaders (male) who stand less than five foot nine inches tall: Having your picture taken while standing between these two people isn't the best strategy to strengthen the level of regard the people back home have for you.
posted by TimTypeZed at 6:58 PM on September 29 [+] [!]


Of course, if taken to extremes, this may lead to ridicule:


PARIS (AFP) – France's opposition Socialists mocked President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday over reports his office asked factory managers to choose short employees to stand behind the diminutive leader during a speech.
posted by atrazine at 3:58 AM on September 30, 2009


Bush had more of a :-J in a smirky kind of way, while Obama is more :-D which gives off a positive, hell-yes-I'm-the-prez vibe.
posted by pyrex at 4:20 AM on September 30, 2009


"the fuck you say what kinda dingus would do that"

We've talked about Bush's boots before. Apparently all presidents from Carter to Bush II had them. Clinton ordered 25 pairs from the maker compared to 56 for Bush II. I wonder if Obama has ordered any.

I'd noticed Obama's not only consistent smile but consistently there smile previously. For whaterever reason the vast majority of wildly circulated pictures of Obama have him smiling. Which is one of the reasons I found this picture so funny.
posted by Mitheral at 5:01 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.


but you wouldn't know that from the photos
posted by Sailormom at 5:38 AM on September 30, 2009


He also puts his socks on before his trousers every morning. That crazy President!
...yeah, but he puts his pants on TWO legs at a time.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 5:46 AM on September 30, 2009


I imagine that Bush would have the goths burnt as witches....
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:56 AM on September 30, 2009


Seriously, Medvedev has immaculately tailored suits.
posted by sciurus at 6:16 AM on September 30, 2009


CitrusFreak12, there's a short story in that, somewhere.
posted by nax at 6:21 AM on September 30, 2009


I am looking forward to the website "Ismycountry'srepresentativetotheUNtallerthantheObamasornot.com"
posted by patricio at 6:28 AM on September 30, 2009



Many of those are clearly repeated, but whatever.


I was looking for repeats and didn't notice any. Do you have an example?
posted by jeremy b at 6:41 AM on September 30, 2009


I like the part where his smile remains amazingly consistent across many different photos.
posted by Perplexity at 6:42 AM on September 30, 2009


two daughters, Laura, 16, and Alba, 13

which one's wednesday?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:11 AM on September 30, 2009


it was pointed out this could become a conservative meme

OMGROBOBAMA! [/Glen Beck]
posted by The Bellman at 7:25 AM on September 30, 2009


This reminds me of an old newspaper article I read several years ago, written by a low-level celebrity who had been working a publicity event with some actors. He was admiring the stamina of an older actor, who had spent an hour shaking hands and posing for photographs. Eventually, he realized that the actor never changed his smile, no matter to whom he was speaking.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:34 AM on September 30, 2009


If this becomes a conservative meme, all we have to do is dig out photos of the Reagans, who had the exact same smile thing going on.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:02 AM on September 30, 2009


Pallas Athena: If this becomes a conservative meme, all we have to do is dig out photos of the Reagans, who had the exact same smile thing going on.

Like history or facts have ever dissuaded conservatives from using talking points.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 AM on September 30, 2009


diogenes: "You know who else had a consistent smile..."

Laura Bush?
posted by mindless progress at 8:26 AM on September 30, 2009


Laura Bush?

The Joker was a nice touch.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:46 AM on September 30, 2009


I'll take Obama's happy smile over Bush's irritating fucking smirk every day of the week; twice on Sundays.
posted by bwg at 8:47 AM on September 30, 2009


You'd be surprised how popular the goth look is among Spanish teenagers. When my wife and I went on our honeymoon last year in Italy, we had to take the train from the airport in Madrid. When my wife and I picked up our luggage at the luggage carousel, there were a bunch of Spanish teenagers on a school field trip congregating nearby. Let me tell you. It felt like I was in a time warp, like I had just stepped into the front rows at a concert by the Cure, circa 1989. You'd be surprised at all the eyeliner and Nightmare Before Christmas paraphernalia I saw.
posted by jonp72 at 9:26 AM on September 30, 2009


Re the goth girls: I think it says a lot of good things about their parents that those girls were allowed to be themselves and weren't forced to dress and act like perky little "good girls" for the occasion. Kudos to them.

You mean like this?
posted by Kabanos at 10:17 AM on September 30, 2009


More like this.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:26 AM on September 30, 2009


CitrusFreak12, there's a short story in that, somewhere.

Heh, maybe. I'm not sure what more there is to tell, really.
I loved coming home from class and being greeted by his smiling face. I'd always say "Sup, Barry?" when coming in the door, and I'd always say goodbye when leaving. It was a nice routine.

We'd hide him in peoples' bedrooms, in the bathroom behind the shower curtain, directly behind the front door (I especially loved doing this to my friend Meg. It got to the point where she'd open the door and if anyone was standing within 20 ft of it she'd still jump).

Then one day he was gone, and I never saw him again.

I've considered going out and buying a new one, but I don't think it would be the same.

Though, perhaps it was for the best.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:04 AM on September 30, 2009


It was for the best.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:11 PM on September 30, 2009


god, that job must me mind numbingly boring at times.

I'd like to see one of these done for Bush at some similar gathering. I bet it would be hilarious.
posted by zzazazz at 12:20 PM on September 30, 2009


Re the Zapatero kids, their appearance, and the Spanish kerfuffle:

President Zapatero took his wife and children (girls, aged 13 and 17) to a recent official visit to the USA. The girls' identities are secret. Nobody knows how they look like, or what school they go to. Until two days ago, I didn't even know their names. The president of the government here does not have a "first family" status like the royal family does, or like the President's family in the United States. Since we became a democratic country, the apparitions of presidents' families in the media are rare. Not exceptional, but certainly rare.

But Zapatero and family got a picture taken with Barack and Michelle Obama. It appeared on the White House website, but it was taken down upon request. We have seen the picture in Spain because the major Conservative newspaper (El Mundo) published it, pixeling a fraction of the girls' faces. I'm not going to show you the picture to respect the family's wishes, but in order to understand what's going on now you have to know that they're fat, they're not standing very gracefully, and they're wearing thick boots and loose black clothes. As a result, they've been called all sorts of insults in conservative media, particularly online.

On Saturday, Antonio Burgos, a popular columnist in another Conservative newspaper, ABC, has published an article saying things like:

Everyone in close contact with the Government knew that Zapatero's girls were two horrors, but now, all of Spain knows. They're ugly enough to scare you away. (...) If they came to you on a dark night, asking you, for example, where to take a bus to Alcosa [a very working-class neighbourhood in his town], they'd shock you enough to make you jump to Carmona [30 miles farther away].

It's an offense to gothic art to say that these two monstrosities are "gothic" (...) By the volume of their round bumps..... if Brigitte Bardoat saw them, she's want to protect them.... pinniped animals

…Zapatero didn't want the picture published (...) so that we didn't see his complete family portrait. His Munsters.


So in short, those kids don't have a posture/smile routine because they've not had to, lucky them; and hey, the minute they do show up somewhere, they get truly ugly things said about them by media assholes.
posted by emjaybee at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Uh, no, terms are limited because Congressional Republicans got all pissy that a Democrat was elected to four terms."

Whatever reason it was formalized, and I'd have to argue it's a lot more complex than the partisan dichotomy, the tradition of not serving more than two terms goes back to George Washington.
Jefferson said no president should serve more than two terms in order to avoid risking a tyrant amassing power.
There have been some great presidents who might have had the character to withstand the demons of their own ambition and maybe we would have liked them to stick around, but Jefferson makes a solid point that it's not too good for folks to get too attached to someone in power either (dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition).
posted by Smedleyman at 12:30 PM on September 30, 2009


I want to see the same film done with Michelle's smiles, and GWB's...I suspect it's par for the course in politics.

There's so much about this picture to love. Her hair. Her dress. Her facial expression. Kind of makes you think that no first lady in the world is having quite as much fun being the first lady as the first lady of Cameroon.

The flickr comments are brutal though. There seems to be some dissatisfaction with their election process back home.
posted by nomisxid at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2009


Speculation about Obama's bowel movements must surely be just around the corner.

Actually, the Republicans had an intern look into it. To their dismay, they discovered that Obama excretes all waste products nano-microscopically through his pores, leaving nothing but a pleasant mist reminiscent of rose hips and lavender.
posted by jonp72 at 2:04 PM on September 30, 2009


I know I noted it, but it didn't really matter to me what Laura and Alba looked like. This isn't really the interesting part of the story. As many people have already pointed out there are plenty of odd looking people in those photos. It is a bit sad people are piling on these young women.

To me the most interesting aspect is the difference between how the US eats treats its young and Spain does. It also seems to me to be a bit of a diplomatic blunder.

I am surprised they didn't basically have each participant sign off on the use of their image for print and online.

For the record, I dressed pretty much like that in high school as well. Well, other than the dresses, but I probably wore as much eyeliner.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2009


…Zapatero's girls were two horrors… They're ugly enough to scare you away

One of those girls is all of 13.

So fuck you, Spanish journalist. Fuck you right in the eye.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2009


I did this same trick a couple years ago with a friend's wedding photos and emailed it to everyone from the wedding. It was a big hit.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 2:49 PM on September 30, 2009


« Older An Indian Doctor's Cure-All: Charlie Chaplin...  |  I have proposed, in the past, ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments