If “selfie” is the newly-minted word of the year, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, then photograph of the year is surely the one on the left.
It shows, left to right, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Danish premier Helle Thorning-Schmidt and US President Barack Obama taking a “selfie” during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg yesterday.
It also shows Michelle Obama, the First Lady, with a face like thunder – and you just know that once she gets her husband back home no amount of oratorical wizardry is going to get him out of the bucket of shit she is going to dump on his head.
And quite right, too. As a former member of the Bullingdon Club – speciality getting pissed and trashing restaurants – one can excuse Cameron for acting like a bored schoolboy in assembly. But on such sombre occasions we expect a certain gravitas from the 52-year-old leader of the free world.
Michelle knows this. She also knows that whenever she and Barack leave the White House a million cameras are trained on their every move, just waiting for a money shot like this one.
You’d think he would, too. After all, he has been President since 2009. But then is “Selfiegate” – as I am already calling it – symptomatic of Obama’s carefree attitude to his job these days?
Stymied at every turn by Congress and brutalised by his Pyrrhic ObamaCare victory, reports suggest POTUS now spends more time playing golf than running the country. Others have pointed out that, judging by his lacklustre performance in last year’s election campaign, the novelty of being the first black president went long ago.
His speech at Mandela’s memorial proves he can still pull a rabbit out of the hat when he so chooses, but commentators have noted this is the exception to the rule and has been for about three years.
Unfortunately there are three long years till the next election, and it doesn’t bode well if the President has already taken to larking about in public barely 12 months into his second term.
Michelle’s stony face suggests she is already wondering what he will be like in 2016, and whether the time has come to confiscate his phone and make the most powerful man in the world sit by himself at public functions, away from bad influences.