Obama official surrealist portrait.Dispatch From OrbitThe official portraits for President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were recently unveiled. I guess it was yesterday. I dunno, sometimes it takes media buzz a while to get through to me. Really the date doesn’t matter. The portraits were unleashed and it doesn’t seem like there’s anybody without an opinion. Like the old saying goes, “Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.”

And I’m no different than the next asshole. I like it. The one of Obama with the floral background is apparently his bid to be the first ex-president with a surrealist official portrait. In our version of the portrait, you can see we added a paean to another renowned surrealist, René Magritte.

“Why did they use that godawful wallpaper for the background?”

Now when I asked a friend what he thought of the Obama portrait, he said: “Why did they use that godawful wallpaper for the background?” Personally, one of my favorite aspects of the portrait is Obama appears to be doing The Charleston while seated. The specific move he’s doing is called “the bees knees,” or “wobbly knees,” or just “knees.” I didn’t know that until I just looked into it.

It’s just a fact of life there’s something about being up here in orbit shortens your attention span. We don’t like videos that run for more than about 20 seconds, but we made an exception here. We’ve embedded this video to illustrate what The Charleston looked like. It runs 1:52 but we didn’t watch more than about 30 seconds. The guy in the video was so painfully awkward he was kind of creeping us all out.

If it wasn’t surrealism Obama had in mind, maybe it was a fantasy world.

Obama fantasy worldIn any case, if it wasn’t surrealism Obama had in mind, maybe it was a fantasy world. I know a lot of his critics have complained he was living in one. Here’s a quick pass at what we think might have worked better for the Obama Fantasy World portrait. You can click to enlarge that photo and see its full splendor. Then click the back button to return here.

I noticed a comment on one of the sites I consulted on this portrait situation. Someone wrote: “I think Obama’s presidential portrait is wonderful, especially compared to literally every single other president.” He or someone else supplied a composite photo of the official portraits of Regan, Clinton, Bush and somebody else, I forget who. They were all pretty stodgy, but they were real life scenes. As you go back in time they have neutral or hazy backgrounds. None of them were surreal, though.

Whatever the case, I like the background of Obama’s portrait because it looks like a Hawaiian shirt.

Kind of fitting, don’t you think?

M. Nick