Seriously, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion after reading this story in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin about the growing national gaze being thrust upon some baby President-elect Barack Obama held during his recent Oahu vacation (click here for Oahu blogger Ian Lind‘s back story on the baby in question).
Umm, politicians posing with babies was old a CENTURY ago (I believe Andrew Jackson originated the practice). In fact, in 1903 Theodore Roosevelt angrily denied the “outrageous lie that I had been kissing babies” [and thus overtly campaigning]. Candidates criss-crossing the nation in search of babies to kiss has been a joke for many, Many, MANY decades (Even Bugs Bunny made fun of the practice in this cartoon in which Yosemite Sam campaigns for some office by yelling “I love babies! Show me babies!”).
But apparently, that history has largely been forgotten by both the press and general public. Instead, time has bent back on itself, plunging us all into a world in which a politician holding a baby is no longer ironic or even cliched but once again novel and newsworthy. Acts once deemed pedestrian, even shameless, are now provocative.
We truly live in special times. And if we’re really lucky, we’ll make it out alive.