On December 11th at Nelson Mandela’s Memorial service, President Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt created quite a stir with what appears to be a selfie of the three world leaders. One of the most thoughtful analyses I found on the world leaders selfie was conducted by Mike Langlois, LICSW.
Many critics of President Obama lashed out on social media expressing their outrage at the appearance of him taking a selfie with other world leaders. Many news outlets reported that the world leaders appeared upbeat at what should be an otherwise somber mood for a funeral. However, the actual funeral for the beloved world leader, Nelson Mandela, wasn’t actually held until days later on December 14th.
Chris Taylor of Mashable wrote about selfie-gate with a detailed analysis of why context matters.
First of all, this wasn’t strictly a funeral; certainly not the solemn dressed-in-black occasion we often associate with the term. It was a four-hour stadium-sized memorial celebrating the life and works of the beloved Madiba, a riot of colorful dancing and singing. Think New Orleans meets the World Cup. Read More
For me when I look at the photo, my response is how cool is it for our world leaders to like each other enough to take a selfie. In my opinion, the photo evokes thoughts of allies and not enemies who may go to war against each other. I believe the photo is a dream realized for the life’s work of Nelson Mandela. If one must judge this photo, shouldn’t the standard be whether Nelson Mandela would approve?
As a teacher of online technologies, video gaming and psychotherapy, Mike Langlois believes that our reaction to the President Obama selfie may actually say more about us than what it says about him. View Mike Langlois assessment below, and tell me do you agree?