Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Situation Room Photo

This is a famous picture showing the Obama Administration key players watching on a screen, in real time, the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

A lot has been said about Mrs Clinton's reaction, her hand covering her mouth apparently indicating her fear and horror. The usual political analysts concluded that Clinton's demonstration of fear/repulsion is due to the fact that she is a woman , while all the manly men in the same room only showed interest and concentration. To ward off any potential accusation of sissyness ("Women are too weak and sensitive to be part of an administration at the highest levels"), Clinton's cabinet promptly issued a denial, explaining that she was actually repressing a sneeze due to spring allergy.

This is all nonsense, of course. Maybe some men also expressed horror but no pictures were taken then, maybe Mrs Clinton was repressing a yawn, not a sneeze, because this happened in the middle of the night, etc.. Who cares, really.

What's more interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that President Obama seems to be cowering in the corner, sitting on a low chair on the side, while a military man is occupying the central executive chair. Obama looked like a child at his parents' dinner party: he just sneaked in the living room, undetected, to listen on the grownups' conversation. His presence is ignored, at best barely tolerated.

I don't know what to make of it, but I remember an episode of the Fox TV show "Lie To Me", where one of the characters, Dr. Gillian Foster, can detect the real leader in a group, by watching the order in which each member enters a room (spoiler: contrary to popular belief, the man who enters first is not the leader). It would be interesting to have the Lie To Me team analyze the picture.

Update: 8th May, evening

(via Salon:

There are two women visible in the photo: Hillary Clinton sitting in front at the table, and Audrey Tomasen, standing in the back (she's a counterterrorism analyst whom the media had never heard of before). A Brooklyn-based Hasidic newspaper, Der Zeitung, decided to photoshop the two women out of the picture. Apparently, "the religious paper never publishes pictures of women, as they could be considered 'sexually suggestive'."

Here is the doctored shot in Der Zeitung, as captured by the blog Failed Messiah:

Does anybody need more proof that religion makes people stupid?

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