Is Barack Obama too glamorous for his own good? It sounds like a tired punchline from a White House Correspondents' Dinner, but Virginia Postrel, Atlantic contributing editor and founder of website Deep Glamour, thinks it's worth considering.
"Glamour," Postrel says in an interview with Reason magazine, "is a particular form of illusion. It's an illusion that tells a truth about the audience's desires, and it requires mystery and distance." Obama, as "a very glamorous figure," has to deal with both "the power and the downside of glamour." The downside is simple:
People have projected so much of what they think, including things that are sort of impossible, onto a glamorous figure, that when any flaw shows up the glamour is dispelled and suddenly he becomes terrible.
Flaws eventually show up, too, Postrel asserts. A president cannot possibly, once he gets down to actual governing, maintain the distance necessary to maintain glamour, to continue to reflect all of the hopes and projections he once did. Does Obama have a "glamour problem"?