The Unmanly Pose of the Obama Cabinet: Mystery Solved
It always seemed a mystery why the many accomplished adults in the Obama cabinet would put themselves in such ridiculous looking poses for the official white house cabinet photo. Take a look at their hands in this picture:
To be fair, previous administrations posed also, all the way down to how they hold their hands.
The poses of previous administrations were, if not natural, at least normal.
But previous administrations had the courtesy to allow people to hold their hands in a way that people occasionally hold their hands by choice. What are we to make of the way they are holding their hands?
Let’s call this the “lazy altar boy” pose.
Many from St. Ignatius (Shelby Twshp, MI) struck the lazy altar boy pose in this 1966 photo.
You seldom see anyone do this who is not a 13 year old toward the end of the stations of the cross . If you take the time to try it, you’ll see why. It’s not just uncomfortable, it’s affected–even theatrical. And not just a little effeminate. If we tolerant Americans see the pose as a bit on the unmanly side, what must the President and the cabinet look like to the Arab world?
The lazy altar boy pose is definitely not something you just happen to do. So what was this gesture meant to suggest? That they are humble? That they are non-threatening? We were promised a nuanced and sophisticated approach to foreign relations. Toward what end has our cabinet posed themselves like a girl scout troop? And whose idea was it?
Thanks to the Google image and TinEye.com Reverse Image search engines the truth can be known. It is with 100% confidence that I claim that Valerie Jarrett suggested this idiotic pose.
Here’s the evidence:
In the Capitol File Magazine’s Summer 2009 Rules of Engagement celebration of the clothes that Jarrett and Desirée Rogers wear we see this:
Originator of the lazy altar boy pose?
Critics may say this proves nothing. Many women pose like that? Right?
Wrong. Look at Jarrett with fellow speakers at the National Partnership for Women and Families:
Is the lazy altar boy pose common among women? No.
Here she is surrounded by many women at the 2009 “BlogHer” conference.
Many women, but Jarrett is the only lazy altar boy among them.
The final clue to the puzzle comes from Essence Magazine’s Black Women in the Obama Administration image gallery.
This is clearly her “go to” pose. Does anyone doubt she was in the room when her guy did his victory lap? Here’s my theory. After getting everyone in their right places Jarrett said something polite like “and if those of you in the front can hold your hands like this” [modeling the pose] “then that would be great.” There would have been lots of looks around the room (especially among the men). But then the president struck the lazy altar boy pose and thus began the first test of loyalty in the administration.
Some posed better than others, as witnessed by Rahm Emmanuel who looks quite natural and poor Kathleen Sebelius, who appears to have been distracted by something:
lazy altar boy fail.
Interestingly, some chose not to do it. By far, the most revealing of those who chose not to pose, is Hillary.
Hillary Clinton is no lazy altar boy.
It’s taken a truly revolting administration to do it but at this late date I find she has done something that endears her to me. She has apparently taken the measure of the people around her. And she will have none of this foolish interlacing of fingers.
Jarrett is the impresario who produced the grand production called Barack Obama. She can ask him to pose any way she wants. To expect someone who buys $3,000 jackets and $2,000 skirts1 not to offer advice on posture would be naive. No, it doesn’t bother me that she asks. It bothers me that he listens.
The President and First Lady strike the lazy altar boy pose.
When you can get a man to look this goofy, your influence is unquestioned.
1 Capitol File Magazine, Summer 2009, p. 52, White House Insiders, Rules of Engagement.