Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Back from my conference in Tucson, I am still a bit tired and in a moment of weakness, I decided to bring up the Presidential bow/dip issue. Did we all see this? Was it a "dip", was it a "bow", a sign of loyal fealty revealing his secret Muslim sentiments, a very tall man stooping to equal heights, or perhaps stooping to conquer? BTW, there are, also, quite a few YouTubes asking the question...Did Obama bow to the Queen?
What I find amusing are the attempts to understand all these bits of non-verbal communication. Terrorist fist bumps all around. Kind of ends up being one of those nice moments of "what bias (cultural or otherwise) are you assuming".
The interesting Teachable Moment is the way that students think there exists a firm set of "cultural rules" that govern this behavior. As if the subset of American Presidents greeting Saudi Kings in large touch-filled crowds of heads-of-states has a firmly established, well-defined required behavior. Good luck with that. I think I was only marginally successful at making the point that much of human behavior is negotiated and created anew not set in stone. That is the ones who don't think I am a "socialist"--whatever they think that is.