Boyish Charm can only go so far.
At first, I wasn’t quite sure why this article twisted my panties into a knot.
I knew it wasn’t because of the whole “the Oval Office is a RAINFOREST, lolz!” thing; I expected as much, and besides, Obama’s already been given a patented RedState thrashing over it. Then I thought it might have been the business about Gibbs getting caught with his feet up. I mean, come on: this guy needs to spend every spare minute getting himself psyched for the next press de-briefing (HAW HAW), not playing Snood and listening to Miley Cyrus on Pandora. But no, I expected this as well. I mean, have you watched any of the press conferences? He’s obviously not spending his days thinking about nuclear war.
So I went through the whole article again, paragraph by paragraph, but nothing really jumped out at me. I mean, sure, I could read into it enough to where I might think that Obama is taking a pot shot at the Bush Administration, with his cavalier attitude regarding schedules and dress codes; but alas, that was not the source of the twisting.
Then, I saw it. The one sentence in a 2 page Obama lovefest that made me want to break dishes. Big, bold letters, right at the top: Photos of jacketless Obama at White House may signal subtle culture shift.
Subtle. Cultural. Shift. So subtle, we barely noticed as it flew by.
Something inside me kind of snapped when I saw that, and not because I feel a diatribe on proper work attire percolating. (I’ll do it if you want me to.) It’s because, at the tender age of 23, I am tired of cultural changes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for progress; I hope that someday I am fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of all the technology and “progress” that surrounds me. “Progress,” to me, is absolutely mind-blowing. No, I am tired of cultural changes that bastardize my friendships, my professional relationships, and my way of life.
You know you love this
I feel old tonight; like the old lady at church who thumps her cane on the ground and proclaims, “Back in MY day, we walked uphill to school both ways, 20 miles, in the snow, in CORSETS, and we were JUST FINE. Eat your peas.” For one whole page, I’ve been fighting the urge to throw a Fall Out Boy CD into the stereo and just go completely Emo on everyone—but I won’t because I value your sanity as much as my own. I’m just seeing more and more that these “subtle cultural shifts” are shifting our world farther and farther down the garbage chute. It’s not the fact that Obama keeps his thermostat set to “jungle,” or that he allows Dockers in the Oval Office—it’s the overall cavalier attitude surrounding the single most important job in galactic history.
There is no incentive to take anything seriously anymore. I feel like I’ve been raped by “hope” and “change” and “progress” and “moving forward,” and by a growing, collective, culturally careless attitude about EVERYTHING. This country was ravaged by the Coming of The One; I know plenty of people who are still enjoying that post Obamasm cigarette, and talking about the wonders of the Stimulus package and the “absolute importance” of Timothy Geithner. Meanwhile, back here in reality, I’m skimming the headlines and find this gem:
(Watch the video…if you dare!)
Or here’s one, a little more subtle but just as disgusting:
(Courtesy of that bastion of integrity, CBS News.)
Or, how about PETA’s banned Super Bowl ad? (NSFW…seriously)
Mmkay, so PETA’s ad was a ploy for publicity. I’ll give you that one. Nobody actually does that to innocent asparagus. But the important thing is, all three examples point back to “subtle cultural shifts” that gathered speed, grew in size, and lived to roll down the mountain and flatten the village below.
Now I’ll get back to Obama and his descent into potential Presidential shirtlessness. I don’t think people respond as well to a devil-may-care attitude as they do to an authoritative, take-no-prisoners attitude. Boyish charm and roguish good looks are a double-edged sword; my favorite mental image of Obama (yes, I have one, don’t judge me) is one from the early campaign, where he’s just sort of wandering around a rally talking to people, shirt sleeves rolled up, not a care in the world. He just looked so chill. I almost liked him. But as I thought about the culture we live in, coupled with the threats we face both domestically and internationally, I couldn’t help but wonder: if I knew that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was watching my every move, planning the best way to attack me, would I wander around in my underwear, or would I put on a power suit and my best ass-stomping pumps?
You know the answer; but I don’t think Obama does.
For once, MSNBC is right: this itty bitty, teensie weensie little piece of White House drama does resemble a “subtle cultural shift.” However, the difference between this shift and the cultural shift that is currently resulting in a pop star’s humiliation is clear. Jessica Simpson can hop on an elliptical machine and undo the damage in about 6 weeks, and nobody will remember how unflattering those jeans were (I’m sorry, but good heavens.) It won’t be as easy to unravel what Barack Obama has done. He has made his first impressions, and those impressions are going to dictate how the rest of the world views not only Barack Obama the Man, but Barack Obama the President, the Diplomat, and the Commander in Chief of the most fearsome military in the world.
I, for one, am not comfortable with any “cultural shift” that makes my #1 protector look anything less than formidable. I am confident my panties will remain firmly knotted until Barack Obama has proven to me and to the world, that he doesn’t need a jacket and tie to maintain his reputation as Leader of the Free World.