Friday, January 30, 2009

On working without a jacket

From The New York Times and Daily Routines, a note about the way Barack Obama is working as the president. The article focuses not only on the new more casual dress code but also how Obama schedules his day. 

A few notable semiotic moments:

*He openly reads The New York Times, and in fact, based his denunciation of corporate greed on material he read there. This is both a nod to the importance of the Times and the sign of a president who wants to have contact outside the bubble of White House staff. (As a side note, I have been wondering for a while what Barack Obama reads, especially after the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric.  I particularly want to know if he reads Daily Kos or Talking Points Memo. as they seem to write with the idea that people who are high-level decision makers read their copy)

*He is not wearing a suit coat but is wearing a tie. The Times and others break this down, but it is an important nod to process and image--the statement is that working hard is more important than being formal. That the president does not always wear a suit in the office (apparently Nixon always wore on) is supposed to show his constituents that he cares more about productivity than tradition.

*He works out first and then goes to his office. I think this is generational (though not universally so). Unless you are a banker, people of our generation like to get that workout in first rather than lunch or after. Lunches and dinners are now prime time for working, and as we all know, time shrinks after you start working.

*We're fascinated with our president. We want any information we can get. The Daily Routines site includes mostly writers (Mr. Rogers being a notable exception), and to include Barack Obama shows another level of interest in the way he works. 

Expect the suitjacketless look to take off....and our workouts to begin earlier. 


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