Hidden In Plain Sight

A Day At the Beach With Obama
A Day At the Beach With Obama

Sophie Pollitt-Cohen writes:

Today, we know what important people look like.


In the Times the other day, there were two (2) articles about government people on the beach.   In the first, “On Facebook, Future Spy Chief is Revealed (Pale Legs, Too),” Sarah Lyall wrote that Sir John Sawyers, who is about to be head of MI6 (where James Bond works) went on vacation, and his wife posted the photos on facebook.  Naturally, the British thought anyone caring was lame.  Foreign Secretary David Miliband is quoted as “snippily” saying, “It is not a state secret that he wears Speedo swimming trunks.”  Damn right.  English people keep it real and tell it like it is.  Also, they wear teeny tiny bathing suits, which is funny.


In the same newspaper, there was a different article  with s of not one but three (3) different presidents on vacation, and no one finds this to be a matter of national security.  I guess that’s because it isn’t.  “President’s Vacation: Classified, but Not Much of a Secret,” in case you couldn’t read that, is about how Obama’s vacation plans have not been released yet, but everyone basically knows he’s going to Martha’s Vineyard.  I read that in New York Magazine ages ago.   Apparently, “the destination—officially at least—is classified.  Yet it is hardly a secret to the people on Martha’s Vineyard, several business owners and others said, where reservations have been made and preparations are under way for the Obama family’s August arrival.” 


We all know the President isn’t a spy.  Or do we?  Yes, I’m pretty sure we do.  So it’s not that weird that we know where he is most of the time.  However, this is a relatively new thing.  Newspapers publish photos of the President in the White House or strutting on the beach like a man-God in Hawaii.  When I was in Hawaii, Obama was also in Hawaii.  I knew this because I saw photos of him in the Times, which they sell there.  The photos showed him on this particular beach.  I went there, but I didn’t see him.  Probably because he was on a fancy beach for fancy people, and I am not that fancy.  Regardless, I knew whom to look for, because I had seen so many photos of him. I wasn’t about to stop any random black guy with two little girls.


Before photography, no one knew what anyone looked like.  King Arthur could just don rags to live like a commoner amongst the people and find out what gruel tastes like (moldy sand).  Clearly no one was doing much guarding over Achilles, because if they had been, maybe they would have realized duh he was right here in his tent the entire time, not in battle, because that’s Patroclus, a completely different person.  And speaking of the Illiad, remember when King Priam went across enemy lines to beg Achilles for the body back without anyone recognizing him?  (You should remember that from my piece about finding underground treasures.)  What was up with that?


What was up with that was it was a different age.  Anonymity was easier in a world without film, photography, or really good engravers.   As technology advances and we can share information quickly, the dangers increase. This is why, when I am president, I will have like twenty body doubles and we will all wear masks.  You’ll never know if it’s really me or if it’s just some other freak.  Then I will be able to do whatever I want.  I guess I can do that anyway, because I am the President, who the hell are you?  To be fair, I cannot declare war, because that is checks and balances, which I will hate when I am the President.  But for now they are really great, and I can continue living my life of anonymity.  And I didn’t even need to go back in time.


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