G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Anybody interested in reading body language should check out this pictorial of President Obama meeting with his various underlings. Two of the more interesting snaps:
Plenty of other photos of cabinet members and politicians and Obama himself guarding their mouths.
I (and I think most people) are tempted to look for the most dramatic interpretation of these types of gestures. The caveat here is that all of these people are sitting around a table. Their hands have to go somewhere so it could be that they naturally gravitate towards the face. Some gestures, like Valerie Jarrett’s, could be indications of deep thought while others very well may be subtle hints that they are holding back or are incredulous to what the speaker is saying. These are people of power who, while being on the same general team, are still competing for power. And we can assume that at these high levels, as at higher levels of business, self-editing is a routine part of the job.
Joe Biden’s gentle gesture is interesting to look at. One fingertip rested lightly on his lips. I usually do this one too when I’m hyperaware of my facial expressions. Biden is notorious for his quick mouth and gritty, aggressive manner, yet his pose here is incongruent with those behaviors. I see myself in the picture in that I often realize that I’m either talking too much or being too aggressive and then adopt a softer pose to counteract my aggression. It’s similar to how when I realize that my arms are crossed and that I look closed off that I will let my arms either rest at my sides or clasp my hands at their natural meeting place right in front of my junk.