By Charles Hurt
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
In these selfie times when freedom, joy and posterity are just a head-tilt, grin and finger-click away, it is only fitting that the United States of America would have as commander-in-chief the undisputed King of Selfies.
The Selfie Presidency for the Selfie Generation in a Selfie World.
President Obama is that rightful king.
There he is with the greatest baseball players of our day. The president mugging for a selfie outside the White House. Later he feigned outrage when it became public that the picture of him with Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and a "44" jersey was just part of some sleazy corporate product campaign by Samsung.
And here he is now with Vice President Joe Biden in the back seat of his limo with the Presidential Seal embroidered on the plush leather armrest between them. Another selfie that is part of another campaign, this one political for Biden in 2016.
The most infamous selfie of all got snapped during the funeral of Nelson Mandela. That unfortunate photo immortalized what apparently mattered most at this funeral for the man who patiently stared down violent apartheid: King Selfie's own iconic image.
Stop and think about it. Can you envision any other president in history posing for a selfie and distributing it to the world?
Ronald Reagan? Jimmy Carter?
Bill Clinton? Perhaps. But he would most likely point the camera some place other than his smiling face. At least, he would have the decency to keep the picture between himself and one or two of his favorite interns. Maybe send it to Anthony Weiner.
This plague of becoming your own paparazzi has infected the entire White House publicity apparatus. The Obama selfie has become its own cult of personality.
On the 225th anniversary of George Washington's first election to the presidency, the White House dispatched a picture of — President Obama! In the background of that presidential selfie is a portrait of George Washington hanging over the fireplace mantel in the Oval Office.
In observance of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, the White House sent out another presidential selfie. This one with his First Lady. They are visiting the Lincoln Memorial.
Aside from being a supernova of self-absorption, the practice of snapping pictures of yourself for public consumption is a willfully delusional view of the world. As if you are all that exists and the whole ugly world all around you, pressing in, can be simply blocked from the aperture by your own mugging face.
In this fairy tale of Selfie Land, President Obama can be all the things he said he would be.
He can simply become that "moment when the rise of our oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."
He can simply become that "moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."
Call it the Selfie Doctrine. It is when you tightly close your eyes, plug your fingers into your ears, stamp your feet and begin jabbering loudly to drown out everything that anyone around you is trying to say.
It is how Selfie Doctrine achieves peace in this Selfie World. Just ask them in Syria, in Iran, in Ukraine and in Afghanistan.
It is also the behavior you spank out of your children before they graduate from kindergarten.