September 17, 2008

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Rule by smirk From Bush's initial presidential campaign on, I've been puzzled by his hideous smirk. The biggest puzzle: why don't more people hate it? It looks so completely stupid. And worse, it's like a satisfaction in stupidity that says, "I'm so stupid, I'm free from your scorn." In a way, his smirk embodies his bizarre authority, one that extends totally from himself and is completely immune to reason. It's worse than a 'shit eating grin' insofar as the shit eating grin is more interactive, more other aware. The smirk displays idiocy and self-absorption. Palin is a smirker. She's not embarrassed by her ignorance and limitation. They don't bother her at all. I wonder if smirking is spreading, if it's contagious. It's been a long time since I've seen a college student smirk (like over a decade). Academia isn't really an environment conducive to smirking, likely because the competitiveness and insecurity makes people pretty aware of those around them (if only to better assess their own position in the food chain). I wonder if smirking is more common in business or among bureaucrats? I've seen a bureaucrat smirk. It was surprising, particularly on an older person one would expect to have more self-awareness and self-control. It seems like such a lapse, such a weakness, that one would pity it. But, with the Bush smirk as an instrument in the deflection of criticism, one starts to wonder whether there is a new management technique circulating, perhaps the Kim Jong Il guide to administrators, that...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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