What’s wrong with this picture?

Regarding the photo with the Sept. 4 article “In first big test, Obama overrules new team“: This photo of the president of the United States, which has appeared in newspapers and on television around the world, deserves a few words of criticism. The photo shows the current president with his left foot atop the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office of the White House, and his right hand held in a typical “gangsta rap” pose emulating a handgun.

To begin with, the Resolute Desk, which was originally made of wood from the British Navy ship HMS Resolute and presented to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1879, is the same desk that was used by Presidents John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and others prior to its use by the present occupant of the White House. As such, it could well be considered a national treasure, and certainly not an object to be used as a footstool. However, in today’s immature “hip-hop” age, I fear that such actions are just considered another example of the president’s “coolness.” I, however, consider it to be, at the least, unpresidential, if not downright boorish.

As to the hand imitation of a gun, while in this age of idiotic political correctness, adults have been arrested for assuming such a pose, and children expelled from school for using it, it would appear that for the president of the United States to use the gesture before the public is just another example of his being a “cool dude” in the eyes of his admirers. It makes one wonder just what has happened to the sense of decorum that once existed in America’s leaders, and why the American public refuses to demand a return to more appropriate behavior on the part of its elected officials?

john e. marquardt

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Eric

    Right, then why have there been photos of almost every President in the past 50 years with their feet on it…

  • Sebastian

    All right, time to cut the President some slack. While I agree that placing his foot on the desk, which is valuable as a national artifact and piece of history, is not the most appreciative thing he could do, I would point out that he has bigger things to worry about. If you were faced with the same responsibilities and pressures that he is, maybe you would be less inclined to sweat the small stuff. I think the desk has likely seen worse and the sole of a dress shoe is unlikely to turn it into kindling.

    Also, gangster rap gesture? Are you serious? Are you certain that is what he is doing here? Or are you wildly misinterpreting a hand gesture that ANYBODY could make at any time of the day? I would suspect that if any of us were constantly in the public eye and subject to photographs at any moment, that we all would be caught making gestures we are completely unaware of, much less intend to carry any specific meaning. To me, it looks as if the President is simply gesturing with his hand as part of a phone conversation, which we all do, not emulating a gun. To skew this as something “gangster” is a ridiculous assertion laden with cultural and political biases. Stop slinging mud.