The impact of a trendsetter-in-chief

Maybe it’s just me, but is everyone being greeted with a “terrorist fist bump” these days?  Seems I put out my hand for the traditional, firm handshake and before I can say “CHANGE,” I need to form a quick fist lest some “awkward round peg in a square hole” moment erupts.  Now, it could be either I have cuties or that everyone’s suddenly discovered the benefits of germaphobia.  My instincts tell me, however, that the June 6th celebratory gesture involving now President Obama and his wife Michelle, has something to do with this, can I say, phenomena. 

What I find a bit perplexing is that the fist bump is not new.  Though the exact timeline remains debatable, according to a Time Magazine’s June 5, 2008 article:

The origins of the bump are murky, though most communication experts agree on a basic — if fuzzy — evolutionary timeline: the handshake (which itself dates back to ancient times) begat the “gimme-five” palm slap that later evolved into the now universal “high-five” and, finally, the fist bump.

How it ever became a terrorist gesture is beyond my paygrade.  I suppose we should have asked as long as we were waterboarding.  You know, “tell me where the bomb is” and “please describe the origin, significance, and hidden meaning of the terrorist (oops, I mean militant) fist bump.”  I cannot say I have ever seen terrorists bump fists.  Probably because with so much hatred and loathing, who has time to imitate American athletes.

Terror aside, the Obama victory has created cultural forces unlike any since Kennedy.  I guess Trendsetter-in-Chief would even be appropriate.   I even received an email from a custom tailor on the new “Presidential Style” stating, “Barack Obama is returning sartorial style to the White House.”  It’s infrequent that I consult a dictionary after receipt of a sales pitch, but I was curious.  According to Yahoo’s generic dictionary, sartorial is an adjective of Latin origin meaning, Of or relating to a tailor, tailoring, or tailored clothing: sartorial elegance.”  Who knew?

Two days ago, SLATE ran a piece entitled “Obama Raises the Bar – In politics, as in life, a little alcohol can go a long way.”  It described the first bipartisan cocktail party at the White House in at least 8 years (the cocktail part, not the bipartisan). And, yesterday’s New York Times reported on Obama’s casual approach to weekend attire in the oval office.

So is the point here we should be fist bumping each other wearing presidential styled suits and drinking heavily except on weekends? Well maybe; but beyond that is the political impact of a leader who has the ability to sway not just issues, but culture.  If the President can do that, then the majority of the country will have a stake in his Administration’s success.  After all, it is one thing to vote wrong in an election, but quite another to dress and act like the loser.  With Americans rooting for themselves instead of just the President, Obama will create a lot of the cache required to move forward his agenda.

And oh, I just remembered, my knuckle manicure is today at 2.

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