An Addiction to Photo Shoots

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January 4, 2010 | Comments

I knew it was coming. But I still was not prepared. I went to pick up my mail today after being away in California for the last week-and-a-half, and there it was. Innocently I lifted it from the stack of magazines and catalogs that had been held for me, and from my throat came a guttural, purely involuntary, groan, a roar, summoning, without my conscious consent, the spirit of mama Grizzly. Kind of embarrassing when you consider I get my mail at the post office, but some responses can’t be helped.

You’ve seen it by now, too, I’m sure: the January 2010 issue of Golf Digest, boasting that tragically embarrassing, posed image of the President and his mentor, Tiger Woods, both looking so earnest, so driven, so bonded in their shared mission.

Of course Tiger has his own problems right now, but to be fair, we expect to see him on the cover of a golf magazine that went to press months ago, even if the timing is, shall we say, unfortunate. What bothered me was the President’s mug once again found on the cover of a magazine – especially a magazine in my mailbox.

This goes beyond mere over-exposure. The man is downright addicted to the camera lens. Given the fact that in the midst of the attempted Christmas Day underwear bombing — where all we got from our fearless leader were smiling images of him golfing, snorkeling and enjoying the paradise that is Hawaii – the man’s constant mugging is obviously taking a heavy toll on his job performance, as well as the safety and security of our nation and our children.

Though I am not an addiction counselor, I speak with some authority on the consequences of photo-shoot addiction. Having myself been involved behind the camera in countless photo shoots back in my magazine days, and more recently when collecting images for my books, I can tell you, they take time. Lots of time. Whole days, sometimes, for that single perfect shot.

So now I’m wondering, just how much of his valuable time is this President spending at these endless photo shoots of his? We see him on just about every cover of every publication out there – if not the cover, then in some elaborate multi-page spread inside, often with multiple poses, multiple costume changes, multiple backdrops. He is everywhere: Time and Newsweek, of course (practically on a weekly basis, since they are part of the President’s official PR machine), as well as, among far too many others, Us, People, Esquire, Men’s Vogue (which for some unknown reason also made its way into my mailbox and elicited that same involuntary mom-Grizzly growl), that magazine with a shirtless him on the cover, Food Network Magazine…and, of course, GQ, which he was spotted carrying with him as he stepped into a limousine a few weeks back. And now Golf Digest, where we find him crouching on the course with the newly beleaguered Tiger Woods standing over him. According to the cute cover blurbs and the blubbering, slobbering article within, the two are mentoring each other in the art of golf and the art of life. Just adorable.

Once we’re done swooning, let’s try and count up the hours this President is logging in front of the camera, any camera, every camera. We might forgive the First Lady her own penchant for the camera, as she ostensibly has a little more time to devote to showcasing her arms for the cover of Prevention, or assuming the perfect pout and posture of a demure, 50s-era teenager for Glamour as she did this month (wince).

But the President: Just picture him posing like a supermodel for a fawning fashion photographer who urges him to look more manly or god-like or powerful or concerned, waiting patiently as the assistants, between poses, adjust the lights, the silver umbrellas, his wardrobe, his makeup. I don’t think he get that whole concept of “unbecoming of the office of the President of the United States.”

And while he’s not getting it, terrorists are sneaking in, regular Americans and airline passengers are taking on the responsibilities of national security, and our troops are waiting, worrying, knowing that their Commander-in-Chief does not have their backs. Even if he did, the demands of the photo studio would still take precedence. Priorities, you know.

My own priorities in tow, I will be making a small symbolic gesture of my own: cancelling my family’s subscription to Golf Digest. It’s not much, I know, but we didn’t sign up to be members of the President’s fan club, and we resent Golf Digest assuming we did. Of course you would think that if the powers-that-be at the magazine are actually golfers, they would understand that if the man they chose to grace their January cover has his way, fewer and fewer people will even be able to afford to play golf, let alone subscribe to Golf Digest. Brilliant move, guys. Consider me cancelled.

Betsy Siino | Comments