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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Game Faces On For the Pope's Address

I would make a lousy politician or diplomat.

I once shared a dressing room with a single other person, (luxury!)
She was witty and interesting.

The adjoining room had a passle of men, and over the course of the run, as our work became easier and less fraught with anxiety, (because every chore of preparation became more automatic,) their room became quieter and quieter (you will know how bizarre that is.)

We became aware that it was because they were listening to us.

One of the men in the cast, who was also active in broadcasting actually approached us with the idea of a talk show, (small outlet, but very large market.)

But both of us knew it was a terrible idea, because neither of us were capable of "making nice" if, for instance, someone on a press junket whose work or person we did not respect were a guest.
And at the same time, neither of us was interested in being cruel or disgusting, (these are a fairly new development in the world of entertainment and professional talk, at least on tv. Radio is looser, and the internet? As Letterman would say, Katie, bar the door.)
(David Letterman had extraordinary skill at walking that tightrope - when he chose to.)

I look at world leaders, both political and religious, I look at members of legislative bodies with deep divisions on issues, and I wonder, sometimes, how they refrain from eye-rolls at stupidity, head-shakes at pronouncements for which they have a ready and pithy rejoinder, spit-takes at blatant lies....

It's a real skill, looking thoughtful without giving the impression that you'd like to get a word in.

Watching Pope Francis address congress, I was grateful that, except for a couple of random "whoops," (the indoor equivalent of the idiots' yell, "get in the hole!" at golf matches,) the gallery was decorous. (I hasten to add, nothing the Holy Father said deserved the eye-rolls and spit-takes I referenced earlier.)
This was not exactly surprising, but still, in a time when the state of the union message has become a place for settling scores and looking for camera time, it was a relief.

But I really admired the general diffidence of the two men whose faces were, of necessity, on nearly constant view.
Vice-presidents and House leaders do well to have taken a page from Queen Elizabeth's playbook - you know you face is going to be on camera virtually every second you are in public? Find a good, blankly thoughtful expression you can hold for a long time without muscle fatigue or tremors setting in, and which, since many different situations of many different moods will arise, cannot be misinterpreted as either a scowl or a grin.

Pope Francis hasn't found his yet. When he is not actively smiling, (which beauty queens tell me is tiring,) he looks simply glum.
But the other two guys with the most face time?
Nailed it.
(The fact that one looks like like Walter, and the other as if he's gotten self-tanner in his eyes and it's making them water, is neither here nor there.)
Image result for scowl biden

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