The visible manifestation of narcissism in the White House — or how not to behave at a memorial service *UPDATED*

Obama at the mirrorOne of the best ways to describe a narcissist is to think of a not-very-nice 13-year-old kid housed in an adult body.  You know the type of 13-year-old I’m describing:  anger issues; impulse control issues; selfish-ness; a self-centered world view; chronic insecurity marked by cruelness and swagger; and the gnawing, nagging the sense that you have to hang with cool people because only they can reflect the true (cool) you.  The adult narcissist is able to refine, control, and disguise many of the less pleasant aspects of the adolescent mind, but if the narcissistic adult relaxes or is very angry, that immaturity leaks out.

The pictures making the rounds showing the Obamas’ behavior at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service perfectly illustrate the loss of control that narcissists suffer when they’re angry or too relaxed.  Keep in mind as you look at them that Barack and Michelle are not at the memorial in their individual capacities. They are there as the living embodiment of the American people. If that embodiment is anything to go by, we Americans are selfish, ill-mannered, and petty.

The first picture to make the rounds showed a relaxed Obama and an angry Michelle both forgetting how to behave at a memorial service.  He and British PM David Cameron found themselves on either side of Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and one of them obviously said “Hey, guys, let’s take a selfie.” The three of them, blind to their status as representatives of their country, happily complied. Meanwhile, Michelle turned her eyes straight ahead and glared angrily:

Obama hamming it up at Mandela memorial

I am not saying that memorials have to be relentlessly grim, solemn affairs. Indeed, they can be very joyous celebrations of the deceased person’s life and of life itself. That joy, however, shouldn’t devolve into unseemly exhibitionism and selfishness, which is exactly what happened when this trio of world leaders whipped out the smart phone to memorialize . . . themselves.

As for Michelle, it’s insanely rude for an American representative to have a temper tantrum like that. Most people, when they saw that picture, assumed that Michelle was aware that Obama was engaging in rude behavior, and used her own ill-mannered behavior to set herself apart from that display. A subsequent series of pictures, though, might have shown that what really piqued Michelle was that her husband was sitting next to a laughing, pretty blonde, and was clearly basking in her attention.  When Obama left his seat to deliver his political attack on Republicans . . . oh, sorry, his memorial address, Michelle moved to interpose herself between Barack and Helle.

Michelle switches seats with Obama at Mandela memorial

It is a very sad day for America when this vulgar, exhibitionistic, narcissistic couple stands before the world as our representatives. It is what it is, though. Those who hate America will still hate it. And those who love America will feel sympathy for her sufferings.

UPDATE:  Brilliant headline at Drudge:

No selfie respect

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  • Mike Devx

    If Michelle Obama had performed her seat-switch while remaining perfectly dignified, smiling gently all the while, I’d give her kudos.  But her scowling petulance ruins the gesture.
    As for Obama himself… it is far worse.  Crass, immature, undignified, embarrassing… I could go on and on with an adjective list.  It is interesting that at least he is not alone in this thoroughly depressing moment.

  • Robert Arvanitis

    We must look at this from the bottom up – who was the least-objectionable, least-documented figurehead available for Soros et al?
    Some have visceral anger when they see Obama.  I think of “Chauncey Gardner” when I notice him (, a sad but not truly culpable tool of others.

    • Bookworm

      I’m with the Chauncey Gardner analogy.  Indeed, I believe I might have been the first to make it, all the way back in 2006.  To the extent my opinion has changed since then, he’s managed to sink much lower in my estimation.

  • Robert Arvanitis

    Kudos for your perspicacity, Book.
    Regret I only learned of your site a year ago, else I’d have given you credit.

  • Mike Devx

    On a side note, I think it was appropriate for Obama to shake Casto’s hand… but his effusive and warm greeting was not appropriate.  Obama was, to me, more affectionate to Castro than to any of the other foreign dignitaries in the line, and that is where Obama (as usual) screwed it up.  I know, to his closest advisors, it’s not a screw up, but politically, yes it was.  Just plain screwed it up.  But hey, a wanna-be dictator’s gotta show his love for the real deal, doesn’t he?
    It brings to mind OBama’s deep waist-bow of deference to King Abudllah of Saudi Arabia when Obama was doing his Islamic Tour Thingee in 2009.  It was the bow that the leader of a vassal state gives in homage to the dictator who in truth owns him.  Outrageously inappropriate for anyone with any knowledge of diplomatic decorum… and leading inevitably to questions of Obama’s intrinsic Muslim mindset and childhood upbringing.
    It also brings to mind Governor Christie’s “You’re my best friend ever, I luv you man” bomber-jacket hug of Obama in the photo-op following Hurricane Sandy.  That “we’re best-friends-forever!” huggy mug was just as wildly over-the-top where a friendly dignified greeting would have been far more appropriate.  We don’t forget.

  • jj

    The leader of the free world approaches life with all the sensibilities of a six year old.  And that bitch he’s married to, well: the less said the better.

  • Matt_SE

    Ditto everything said about the Obamas. But what about the other two leaders? Aren’t Europeans supposed to be more dignified than Americans? It seems the world-wide “elite” these days are cut from the same cloth…and it’s of poor quality.

  • raymondjelli

    Every day the world looks more like the movie Idiocracy. You can almost picture that selfie on the White House website with a caption that says Yo Obamacare luv in bros and hos….been hanging at Mandela fest wid ma bitches….blond bitch be PM of Denmark. Fo shizzle….Been takin’ heat from the ball and chain tho’ LOL

  • Charles Martel

    raymondjelli: LOL, LOL, LOL!

  • Ymarsakar

    A lot of people seem to be interpreting Michelle’s look as that of jealousy that her husband is with another woman or something of that kind.
    Looking back at it again, she could just be annoyed that he’s acting like a boy at a public (we’re watching) event and one that is supposed to be to respect death. So she, who wears the pants in the house, has to reign him in. That’s why she looks like that.
    It’s a more optimal interpretation of her behavior, though, than the average analysis. Given the numerical preponderance given to one analytic gut reaction, the alternative should be considered in more depth before final conclusions are made.
    A direct supporting evidence is that Michelle Obama and Barack are looking Right At the Camera in one shot. He’s surprised, like somebody watching football while the wife drives him to get out the garbage. Now suddenly Obama acts seriously? Because his wife told him they were in public, not in private, and that her status would be questioned if this goes on any further. Blacks, especially racially conscious ones, are very sensitive to “status” and “respect” in public.

    • barbtheevilgenius

      Except she’s been photographed at least once before, giving some attractive white female political figure the stink eye. Sarkozy’s wife/girlfriend, I think? Also, as someone at Ace of Spades pointed out, refer back to, say, that picture of her galloping down the steps of Air Force One wearing baggy shorts and a tank top. She’s a lot like school in the summer herself — no class.

      • Ymarsakar

        I like to think of that as the often purported “white devil” cultural belief in the US where black women think white girls are always out to steal their black man. Which seems to have pervaded even Harvard or so.

  • Ymarsakar

    Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese have a certain expectation for how blacks and black civilization acts. An American President like this, merely confirms their biases.
    Which is perhaps a reason why racial prejudices exist in the first place. Most of the time they are right more often than wrong.

  • Danny Lemieux

    John Kass of the Chicago Tribune tagged Obama with the title, “President Selfie”.
    I think that this will stick! Let it be the enduring image of his administration.

    • Libby

      His twitter feed certainly conforms to that nickname. For every event or remembrance they post a picture of Obama on Twitter or on his Tumblr feed.
      Remembering Rosa Parks – post a picture of Obama sitting on a bus!
      Neil Armstrong passes – post a picture of Obama gazing at the (crescent) moon!
      Nelson Mandela passes – post a picture of Obama in Mandela’s cell, and later, a silhouette of Obama surrounded by the crowd at his memorial service!
      And on and on. You can’t blame the staffers who put out these images because they’re just conforming to Obama himself, a man who cannot comment on an event without making it about himself (I, I, I, I, me, me, I, I…).

      • SADIE

        Lest we forget, inserting himself into the WH biographies of every president in the last century.


    It wasn’t a real selfie – it was a selfie à tois.

  • Ymarsakar

    Correction on my word selection: optimistic is more of what I meant rather than optimally.
    Meaning, it would be a nice fantasy world if Michelle Obama was stuck on upholding “proprieties” and “tradition” but that isn’t really it, I think. But it’s a lot more optimistic than the popular saying about why she looks like that in the pic.

  • lee

    You all HAVE to read this over at PJ Media:
    Not like we hadn’t laready figured this out, but to read it black and white, spelled out… It’s frightening. What the heck are we going to do?!?!?

    • SADIE

      The Dems since Wilson have wanted only one thing – a progressive caliphate and they plan to carry it out by judicial jihad.

    • Ymarsakar

      Civil war is inevitable. It was inevitable the moment people refused to wake up.
      If you want peace, prepare for war. Of course a lot of people are also moving overseas as expatriates, taking their family with them.That’s also a justified decision. Although I’m not sure how long they will be safe between the Evil American Empire and Islamic Jihad’s occupation of European nuclear delivery systems. It won’t be long for them either.

  • Gringo

    I don’t particularly mind Michelle’s facial expressions at the funeral. Somber to angry is much better for a memorial service than her husband’s schmoozing as if he were at a baseball game.
    The reason I replied is that I linked to your 2006 article on Obama. One of the commenters in that 2006 article  was our “old friend” Helen Losse. I went to her blog, and noticed a lot of religious-themed posts, not so much poetry or politics. Perhaps it is the season.
    Helen came across as oh-so-civil in our discussions. Good she did, because she was keeping control of her inner snark. Saidie once linked to a poem Helen authored in 2004 about Dubya- very, very, snarky. We should all thank Helen for controlling her inner snark when she posted here. She stopped posting when she finally concluded that her “I feel” posts were not convincing us.

    • Danny Lemieux

      In a crazy way, I really miss the Helens of the world…they provided us with oodles of entertaining discussion on Bookworm’s blog.
      However, in retrospect, I cannot think of on discussion in which we Bookworm groupies were ever proven wrong by events, can you?

  • bizcor

    In my various dealings with organizations both political and business I have worked with good leaders and bad. Good leaders know how to act in public. Bad ones do not. One organization recently went from a very good leader to a nice guy who was simply after the title. The result is the organization has suffered significantly. A once thriving membership has dwindled down to the die hards who intend to stick it out until we can replace the leader in question. Another organization had a well intentioned but not so good leader replaced by a dynamic and good leader. The result is this organization has regained the prominence it had before. The moral of this story is if we can find another great leader for this country it can regain its prominence. That leader is out there our challenge is to find him or her before it is too late.

  • Earl

    I suspect that Michelle wasn’t the only one put out at the goings-on…..have a closer look at the middle photo of the three.  The one where Barack has his arms folded, and the blonde Danish PM is leaning well away from him.
    Doesn’t it look an awful lot like the lady in the row behind is giving Ms. Thorning-Schmidt a bit of advice or admonishment about her behavior?  The PM isn’t taking it all that well, either!
    The American people elected an embarrassment as their President, for certain.

  • Ymarsakar

    Gringo, some people here were able to annoy Helen to the point where our fortitude caused her to lose her filters for a slight moment. And that was necessary to educate the crowd in what the Left always hides behind their facade.

  • Ymarsakar

    Btw, this is exactly how Obama looked during his fun and games when they tried to tell him about Benghazi, when McChrystal tried to get an audience with Barack the magic negro over Afghanistan strategy and troop casualties.
    This is Exactly how the Left always looks, when they think you aren’t looking.

  • Call me Lennie

    No one commented on an important point.  Obama ordered flags to fly at half mast for this person, an honor that’s been given to only four other foreign leaders in the past 30 years.
    So there are only two conclusions that can be drawn here.  Obama is either pathologically childish to a degree that should be unthinkable for any high government official, let alone the President of the United States — OR — liberals themselves don’t really have that much esteem for Mandela; the whole thing is PC street theatre.  I think there’s something to that given that three Western heads of state had no problem goofing off at Mandela’s funeral