A President's Reading List? What About His Doodles?
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 11:34 AM
Last week, the commentariat pounced on Obama's light-weight summer reading list, but what would they make of his doodles? Yes, doodles, those absent-minded sketches found in the margins of the White House stationary. A reading list, after all, is a highly calculated, self-conscious act of political semiotics, but a doodle ... truly, what better window could there be into the unguarded presidential id?
Unfortunately, Obama's stationary is not readily available, but in the meantime you can check out the sketch-work of his predecessors in Presidential Doodles: Two Centuries Of Scribbles, Scratches, Squiggles and Scrawls From The Oval Office, which analyzes everything from Washington's Rococo curlicues to Bush's infamous note at the UN explaining, "I need a bathroom break. Is this is possible?" And just in case you aren't inclined to take doodle analytics seriously, consider this offering from LBJ:
Terrifying. And no wonder, considering all the problems he was dealing with. If only he had glimpsed this doodle by the White House's previous occupant, history might have been different:
Clearly, Kennedy lacked Johnson's flair for symbolism, but in both cases, as with the rest of the book, the joy of sifting through the visual musings of the most powerful men on Earth is undeniable. Let's just hope that Obama's doodles are all about counter-insurgency and macroeconomics.