The Best Picture to Come From the World Cup WITH IMPORTANT UPDATE

By James Fallows

Update: A big important asterisk apparently applies to all the below....
And see bottom for UPDATED UPDATE.
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I am no big fan of soccer, but the whole World Cup extravaganza, angry-bee-swarm horns and all, will be worth it for having produced this photo*:

ObamaBeckham.jpg

Of course* it is Barack Obama's instantaneous reaction, to David Beckham's instantaneous reaction, to the English goalie's screwup during America's 1-1 victory over the Brits. Most everything I know about soccer is contained in the preceding sentence. Cartier-Bresson used to talk about "the decisive moment" in photography -- the visual equivalent of le mot juste. Boy, was this sublime timing (and framing) by the photographer at the White House.

I don't know who the photographer was, or anything about the picture other than its place on the internet here. Will share any info that comes in.
 
[* HERE'S THE UPDATE: Unfortunately the photo appears to be a "sublime" and "decisive" ... fake. Jared Simons was the first of several readers to point out that if you look at the reflection on the table top, it's entirely different from what you'd see if Beckham's face had really been on the screen just then. But, as he adds: "That said, I have to imagine that would be the POTUS's face if he were actually watching the game, as it sure was similar to the expression shared by all the US Supporters I was surrounded by at game time."]

Is Barack Obama "really" an American? Birthers should look at this picture and despair. [*Hmmm: Maybe the birther faked-documents theory has new power!]  Probably won't soothe the inflamed US-UK relations, but: tough.

[Sorry to fall for a "too good to check" decisive photo. On the other hand, good thing I didn't go to bed early here in China and let it stay up for the next few hours, rather than hearing about the problem in five  minutes.]
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UPDATED UPDATE: A reader who claims to be Matt Jordan -- but, hey, what do I believe any more! -- sends this explanation:

Sorry about that. I was actually the one to create the original picture with David Beckham and Obama. I actually did it so fast and didn't watermark it, it was taken for truth in alot of internet places. Here's the link to the post I made shortly after it happened, just so you can close the story if need be: http://iammattjordan.tumblr.com/post/691370396

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/06/the-best-picture-to-come-from-the-world-cup-with-important-update/58115/