Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama (and Society): Put On a Damn Tie!

Sorry, folks, but my hot button just got pushed. I'm going to show my age. Big time.

What the hell happened to dressing formally in important situations? This picture was taken on Monday at Obama's press conference on the botched terrorist attack. While I know that he's on vacation in Hawaii, it would seem to me if you're going to go to the trouble of addressing the American people (and those that would do us harm), you might want to take that extra step and throw on a tie. I'm sure they have them, even in Hawaii.

Humans are visual animals - we take our cues from hundreds of unspoken movements, gestures, facial changes, and hidden signals. We have done this through our entire existence. So when the President comes out to reassure the public and warn our enemies but just can't be troubled to make that extra fashion step, it sends a signal. And not a good one.

The bottom line is that we don't dress up (or down) for ourselves. We do it for others, and we do it out of respect and to set the appropriate tone. It would seem to me you'd want to respect those that sent you to Washington and are looking to you for assurances of safety, but it appeared it just wasn't that important.

Obama is not alone in this - it is amazing what you see walking around at weddings and funerals now. My biggest pet peeve is the job interview. Sure, we have a casual culture. But guess what, Einstein, you're not part of our culture yet. Wearing a suit shows me the respect that you're taking this opportunity seriously.

Respect and sending the appropriate signal is what it is all about, not your comfort.

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