Did selfies exist when W. was president? I don’t recall, but they’ve certainly been a huge factor in the current administration.
They’ve both been part of the Obama legend — this was the youthful, supposedly tech-savvy president who complained back in 2009 about having to curtail use of his Blackberry (an archaic device that, amazingly, he continued to use into this year, thanks to the government’s sclerotic pace of adaptation) — and a bit of a curse, as everyone he meets spins away from him in order to snap a shot.
As The Washington Post noted just this week:
Obama has complained — with increasing regularity during his final year in office — about the prevalence of the selfie and its intrusion on his personal space. But the president, who has leveraged his image as a tech-savvy and approachable leader to mobilize young voters, has not been willing or able — despite his ample executive powers — to contain the selfie explosion. No blanket selfie ban has been issued.
The upshot: Obama and the humble smartphone have forever altered one of the most iconic American moments. Never again will citizens interact with their president in quite the same way. #ThanksObama….
Generally he’s been a good sport, as you’ll recall from the famous Buzzfeed video, in which he reached out to young people by letting on that he, too, could be way narcissistic.
Then there was the selfie he and soon-to-be-ex-PM Cameron oh-so-cheerfully posed for with the hot Scandinavian blonde… with the First Lady sitting off to the side scowling — as well she should, since they were in the middle of a funeral for one of the most revered people on the planet (actually, the photographer later said the photo was misleading on that score):
It’s a bit weird the way this one minor feature of smartphones — the reverse lens, a goofy little add-on — has transformed the way people across the country and around the planet interact with the most powerful man in the world.
Yesterday, I remarked on the lack of gravitas exhibited by the president and the young leader of Canada in the selfie Tweeted by PM Trudeau. David Carlton chided me a bit, saying he was pleased to see national leaders so loose and informal.
And I suppose it’s all right. At least they’re wearing coats and ties, so my Tory sensibilities aren’t too offended. Harrumph.
I, personally, do not have a selfie with the president, strictly speaking. I have this old-fashioned shot taken by an actual photographer after interviewing then-Sen. Obama in 2008. Sorry. Best I could do: