President Obama awarded Joan Didion, George Lucas, Tony Kushner, and 21 other writers, academics, performers and artists with the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal on Wednesday. While many of the people honored have been celebrated for decades, tiny Joan Didion stole the show. "I’m surprised she hasn’t already gotten this award," Obama said. The photos of the tall president and the diminutive writer were striking. "Didion and Obama together dyinggggggggggggg over here," New York's Michael Connelly tweeted. "Watching the ceremony live, I worried that the medal was going to be too heavy for her," Mark Athitakis tweeted. "She's so frail. I couldn't believe it," the Washingtonian's Sophie Gilbert responded. Gilbert tweeted this photo:
BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner tweeted the hug:
But the ceremony wasn't just about cute photo ops. While many of those who made the list are hardly controversial—we can all agree Lucas has contributed to the arts in a big way, and you can see a "proud George Lucas" in the photo at right—the Obama administration also honored several writers known for works that comment on, and criticize, U.S. foreign and domestic policy. As the Washington Post argues, a President's selections for the medals can be seen as a political statement. The supposed liberalism of some of his nominees, however long ago they demonstrated it, shows the president is taking "a stand in the nation’s continuing culture wars." It comes as Obama has announced a few new policies to appeal to liberals as they criticize his current foreign policy.