Pres. Obama took selfies with world leaders during Nelson Mandela’s memorial


Yesterday, President Obama and FLOTUS led a large American delegation to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. The Obamas were joined by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, Laura and George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Sen. Ted Cruz and more than 20 congressmen and women. The memorial also drew in dozens of high-profile world leaders, like David Cameron, Ban Ki-Moon, Kofi Annan, Stephen Harper, Francois Hollande, Raul Castro (who shook hands with Pres. Obama, which is MAJOR!), Angela Merkel and Robert Mugabe (seriously?).

When I watched the news yesterday morning, I thought the big headline was going to be that Pres. Obama shook hands with Raul Castro, the president of Cuba and brother to Fidel Castro. That was like the first time in more than five decades that a Cuban leader has been face-to-face (not to mention hand-to-hand) with an American president. It was major. But that was before photographers caught these photos of Pres. Obama, David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (the hot blonde in the middle of the British-American “special relationship”) taking selfies. Now “funeral selfies” is the big story. Really. Because it’s in “poor taste”.

Not to give some knee-jerk liberal defense of Obama, but is this really a huge deal? I understand if you think it’s in poor taste and you’re like, “Ugh, Mr. President, you should know that this doesn’t look good.” But let’s not make it into the worst thing ever, please? The memorial wasn’t even that solemn – it was respectful to Mandela’s extraordinary political, humanitarian and moral legacy, but it was also a celebration of life. I’d like to think that if Mandela was there, he would have been taking selfies with world leaders too. Besides, it’s nice to see world leaders hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. I would prefer a million #funeralselfies to a series of uncomfortable handshakes and glares.

Also – look at Bubba Clinton and Dubya! They were having a good time hanging out too. Remember when the Clintons and the Bushes were like oil and water? Now they get along so well, it’s a little bit weird.







Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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244 Responses to “Pres. Obama took selfies with world leaders during Nelson Mandela’s memorial”

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  1. Snazzy says:

    I watched it on the news …. looked like a big party to me! The celebration of an amazing life.
    I would’ve been taking selfies too! But with Bono 🙂

    • NYC_girl says:

      With me sitting on his lap of course. Have you seen the video for “Sun City” they did in ’85?

    • Esmom says:

      Speaking of Bono — when I was in college in the 80s, U2 played on campus and randomly popped in on a sorority house. The campus newspaper had a front page photo of him at their piano, surrounded by all the ladies in their PJs. Sort of the Dark Age equivalent of a selfie!

    • JennaR says:

      I remember that video! Darn, now I feel old. However, I was young enough that my brother had to explain what apartheid was.

  2. Dani2 says:

    At first I was like, “C’mon Obama, you should know better” but the vibe of the memorial itself wasn’t that solemn. It was a celebration of life so I’m gonna give him a pass.
    The photos of Michelle giving Obama the stink-eye were amazing though, she reminded me of how my mum used to act in church when I got a little giggly with my friends lol.

    • Anna says:

      It really looked like a bit party with the most A-list guest one could imagine (Oscars and coronations – take a seat). I dunno, I am not having such a good feeling about this.

    • BooBooLaRue says:

      Agreed, it was a celebration of a major life force. Ahem, I still think Bill Clinton is a hottie!

    • claire says:

      Same here. I thought it seemed out of place until I began to see more photos of the event, and everyone seemed to be upbeat and having a good time.

    • bluhare says:

      Oh my word, Michelle’s reaction was the BEST. And she ended up sitting in between him and the Danish prime minister! Michelle was not happy . . . and I bet Barack got blistered to the wall when they got in the car!!

  3. MrsBPitt says:

    I have to admit, I was a bit shocked when I saw the “selfie taking” on the news yesterday…but, looking at these pictures, it looks like everyone was smiling and having a good time…I’d like to think Mandela would have liked that!

    • Dani2 says:

      +1 I think Mandela would’ve liked that too, he had the warmest smile.

      • KromBoom says:


        And I think Mandela would have appreciated a black man being able to take a photo with a blonde, white woman without fear of imprisonment (which was what used to happen during apartheid)

  4. ncboudicca says:

    Only another POTUS can know what it’s like to be POTUS – and I think Clinton became friends with Bush Sr first doing Tsunami Relief.

    • Esmom says:

      That’s what I was going to say — it’s a unique bond that I find extremely poignant for some reason. I’m guessing Obama’s relationship with these guys will evolve in a similar fashion. You can already see it when the Bushes and the Obamas interact.

    • Liv says:

      Eh, I can’t help but find Bush Jr super creepy. Or dumb. I think it’s the dumbness I find creepy. I’ll put it like Britney – he’s a simple man.

      • Dani says:

        Bush is definitely pretty dumb, but I kind of like him. Seems like he’s a good character.

      • alihar says:

        Bush Jr is not dumb. Just so you know…..his college GPA was higher than Obama’s…..and he was a partier in college and still had a higher GPA.. And let me just say… don’t get to be President if you are ‘simple’ or dumb.. And this is for anyone who is President. No matter what you think of their politics. I’m not a fan of Obama….but I would not call him stupid or simple.

      • Liv says:

        Do not ever believe that college degrees count for intelligence. Look at James Franco. I believe he attended one class out of 14 or 15 and passed. Money plays a role too.

      • Han says:

        Alihar. I don’t believe that for a second. Bush went got in to good schools and positions of power because of nepotism. Obama got their on his own.

      • telesma says:

        To whoever said Bush had the higher GPA? Bush’s cumulative undergrad GPA at Yale was 2.75. Obama’s? Never been released. There’s some second-hand gossip from a Columbia donor that his GPA at Columbia was 2.6, but that’s never been verified and he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, which does not f*cking happen without excellent grades.

        Quit watching Fox News, quit reading stupid@ss Breitbart.

      • The Original Tiffany says:

        Bush is also the ONLY president to have earned an MBA. (Harvard)

    • Reece says:

      Exactly. It’s a rarefied club.

      • hypocritical? says:

        You know if President Bush was the one taking the selfies, he would have been ridiculed to no end. You just don’t like Bush and look for any opportunity to call him “dumb.” I’m not a Bush fan, but have enough respect for him to NOT call him dumb.

      • Fwozbo says:

        You conveniently forgot Affirmative Action to get into good schools. My African American Stanford roommate had a hugely low SAT score yet she got in.

  5. Holly says:

    He’s not the one taking the selfie, so I’ll save my indignation for something more important.

    • Bex says:

      I was thinking the same thing. It’s a celebration, everyone else was being friendly and mingling and someone asks you to be in their pic. Score one for peer pressure but he would have looked like the jerk if he told them it was disrespectful and backed out.

    • Kate says:

      So true Holly but you know the naysayers will also find something to complain about.

      I was thinking there would be more faux outrage with him shaking hands with Castro. ABC News mentioned President Clinton shook hands with Fidel Castro during his presidency.

    • Hillshmill says:

      That’s what I noticed too. He’s not the one taking the photo, he’s simply in it. I bet you can search twitter and Instagram and find a million other selfies from the event as well. It was a very important celebration, and I can’t blame anyone (even the President) for preserving the memory with a photo.

      • drdoolittling says:

        Riiiight. Because whether or not I’m outraged at Obama shaking castro’s hand makes all this difference in that poor prisoner’s plight. Geesh get a grip

  6. i says:

    This would have been shocking or heartless behavior if the story on the interpreter for the hearing impaired hadn’t broken almost simultaneously. The most troubling part is that the interpreter story might take the focus away but it seems suspiciously politically motivated.

    • i says:

      Maybe we should consider the interpreter with no interpretations as a “selfie” of our lack of understanding about the true political climate within South Africa.

    • L says:

      What story about the interpreter? I hadn’t seen that one.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        The interpreter for the deaf was just making the same gesture over and over again and not actually signing anything.
        It was complete gibberish so the hearing-impaired missed the whole ceremony. Very upsetting and disgusting, really.

      • littlestar says:

        That’s really strange! Was it done on purpose? Or did the interpreter not understand what was being said?

      • JustJules says:

        As a South African I can shed some more light. The interpreter was part of an association (called “translators south africa”) The ANC hired him through this organisation. The accreditation of this organisation seems sketchy and the cynic in me tends to believe that this might have been cronyism (a term we use here to refer to the common place practice of mostly ANC comrades profiting from connections – see all the irregularities that go on with government tenders in this country) So possibly whoever runs this ‘organisation’ is connected hence they were hired for these events.

        He said he has translated at other important events (namely BRICS Summits and other funerals) without complaints.

        On radio this morning he also said that he suffers from schizophrenia and he may have been hearing other voices while he was interpreting.

        Whether that is just an excuse or not, the organisation “Deaf South Africa” (although very angry at what has transpired) has decided that in the spirit of all Nelson Mandela stood for, to take him in and properly train him and assist him.

        It was definitely not done on purpose but the ANC probably did drop the ball here and not check his qualifications properly… etc

        You can read more here –

        It was embarrassing but lets make this an opportunity, to draw attention to ineffectual/poor regulation and fix it. As well as help this man become better at interpreting. He clearly has an eagerness and willingness to perform this role.

  7. LadyMTL says:

    I don’t think it’s the worst thing ever but I do find it disrespectful. Yes, the crowd was singing and dancing but it was to honor Mandela, it wasn’t to focus attention on themselves, which is basically what a selfie is. (“Look at me at this cool party / restaurant / memorial / etc”).

    I just think that in some situations, you don’t pick up a phone to take a selfie. The world will still turn if you don’t take a picture.

    • blue marie says:

      Yeah, agreed. I hate selfies..

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      “I just think that in some situations, you don’t pick up a phone to take a selfie. The world will still turn if you don’t take a picture.”

      Totally-I think your last paragraph summarizes exactly how I feel–I also don’t understand the selfie obsession.

      That being said, how do you tell the Danish PM “Listen, not right now ok” when she asks for a picture? It’s kind of a tricky thing to say without coming across as rude. Ultimately, I think it probably wasn’t the best idea, but certainly nothing to get outraged over. A chance pic of the POTUS should not be overshadowing the importance of remembering Mandela-an anti-apartheid leader and a great man.

      • claire says:

        Apparently this Danish PM has a habit of being starstruck on a regular basis and being very jovial like this, selfies and all, with other well-known people. The Danish cringe quite a bit at her.

    • Delta Juliet says:

      I agree. And I would think it was tasteless no matter who it was. I didn’t think it was appropriate when my sister “tagged” herself at a funeral home and I think it’s tacky for the President to be in a selfie in this situation. For the record, I think it’s inappropriate of ALL of them, including the blonde in the middle.

      Not everything is about you.

      • Esmom says:

        Agreed for the most part, although I think there’s a HUGE difference between taking a selfie — or any photo, for that matter — to have as a keepsake for yourself vs. posting it on social media. I highly doubt Obama had any intention of making his photos public. And it’s not like ran around seeking selfie photo ops the whole time, like “look at who I’m with!” When this situation presented itself, they spontaneously went with it.

    • Nicolette says:


      Unfortunately it seems we live in an age where taking a “selfie” has made people a little less sensitive to a situation at hand. Thinking about the clueless young woman last week who thought it was appropriate to take her selfie as a suicidal man was on the Brooklyn bridge being talked out of ending his life by first responders. She was heavily criticized for it, and rightfully so. Not everything should be photographed or filmed, yet that seems to be the mentality now. It’s sad.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I completely agree with you. I’m not trying to make it the end of the world, but it was inappropriate, immature and self-absorbed of all of them, and sadly, I think it reflects our culture today.

    • Lucinda says:

      Okay, I’m not a fan of our president at all so I can’t even believe I’m defending him but what if the woman had asked someone else to take the picture of the three of them. Would that have been different? Technology allows us to take a picture ourselves now. And it isn’t a selfie, i.e. a picture of just him. It’s a picture of him with two other people. They just happened to use technology that kept them from asking someone else to take the picture. Pictures at memorials are not offensive. They are being taken by dozens of photographers. I’m not sure this is different.

      That being said, he is a pretty unpopular president right now so the media has turned on him. He could have been completely solemn and gotten in trouble for that too.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        It was not the time or place to be taking pictures for personal mementoes, period, whether they were selfies or not.

      • Nicolette says:

        He’s unpopular all right, his ratings are dropping fast. I don’t think it’s an issue of the media turning on him, I think they’re finally waking up.

  8. Nev says:

    Michelle’s face!!!! Hahahahahahahaha

    Too funny.

    • Dani2 says:

      Michelle’s face was hilarious and I think she later swapped seats with Obama. Don’t know if that was to stop him talking to Cameron and the other lady whose name I can’t remember but it was hilarious! She was acting like a church mother lol

    • lkaye says:

      YES!! Always with the bitchface. I am beginning to think she cannot stand her husband.

      • mel2 says:

        It’s not that she cant stand her husband. She cant stand his arrogance and the attention he receives from other women. She had to check him by switching seats and putting space between him and the PM of Sweden.

      • epiphany says:

        You’re just now thinking that? I know many (most?) disagree, but I’ve said it before, and I stand by my prediction; these 2 will divorce when he’s out of office.

      • Kim1 says:

        Michelle loves her husband and I predict they will be together forever.They have the same goals ,are extremely affectionate and loving.Michelle is a strong,secure,confident woman and is not submissive to her Man.That’s my girl
        As for pic had he refused Danish PM request he would be called uppity.
        Lastly where is the outrage about Clinton and Bush goofing around at the Memorial.Clinton is still on my Sh#t List for Never removing Mandela from Terrorist Warning List

      • Latisse says:

        Wow! What is wrong with you people, a less than ecstatic expression and now she’s going to divorce her husband??? So glad I am a muggle out of the public eye.

      • epiphany says:

        @latisse – Uh, no – as I said in my first post, I stand by my prediction, which I made quite some time ago, not based on this photo. Michelle has no political aspirations, so. unlike Hilary, she won’t stay for the sake of appearance. After January 2017, she’ll divorce him.

      • Violeta says:

        @ epiphany well since you are so sure of them numbers, can you be a dear and predict the winning lottery numbers for this week too please? Thanks.

      • lucy2 says:

        That’s funny epiphany, I’ve always had the exact opposite impression. They always seem genuinely and truly in love, I think. More so than a lot of politicians anyway.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        I think Michelle has resting bitchface syndrome. I empathize; I think I have it too.

    • CaribbeanLaura says:

      I have to concur on the epic side eye!

  9. Dingo says:

    I’m Danish – kind of funny with the “hot blond” Helle Thorning-Schmidt, haha, I don’t really see her that way.

    • M says:

      I’m Danish to and do NOT see Helle that way! So funny!

    • minime says:

      I’m not danish and I also don’t see her that way. Now I will start to refer to her as: the dumb woman that appears to be the PM of Sweden and doesn’t know how to properly behave in a state event (she was representing her country after all). It’s like she was never out of home and is just over excited about being there…how embarrassing for a head of state.

      • TrixC says:

        Honestly? Do you really not understand that Denmark and Sweden are different countries?

      • minime says:

        sorry for the mistake, Denmark of course (as it was obvious in my first sentence, it was then a lapse). If it was me, I would be happy if people would actually think that she was the PM from another country that not mine 😉

  10. TG says:

    I want to pal around with all those world leaders.

  11. Amy Tennant says:

    Has anyone read the book “The Presidents Club”? It explores the relationships between Presidents, both current and former. It’s fascinating. Even political rivals sometimes become friends or at least call each other up and help each other out with advice. They find themselves in situations where there are only a couple of people in the world who know what they’re going through. Good read. (Clinton has become tight with the whole Bush family now).

    I’m not Obama’s biggest fan, but I hope the selfie thing doesn’t become a kerfuffle. We don’t even know at what point it was taken, do we? I’m sure it wasn’t during a solemn moment. I say we need more friendly interactions in this world. It’s not like they had the casket in the background or anything.

    • Esmom says:

      Thanks for the book recommendation, I made a comment about the “POTUS brotherhood” above. Sounds fascinating.

    • HappyMom says:

      It’s also fascinating that Carter is the only one who is excluded from the chumminess. He has put himself on the outs by being critical of sitting presidents-which the rest of them take pains not to do.

      • gg says:

        Are you sure it’s not just because he’s 86? That is pretty old. You generally lose a bit of your “chumminess” and presence when you’re pushing 90, from what I’ve seen.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        I was a wee one during Carter’s presidency (and I bet a lot of you weren’t even born yet), but wasn’t being a political outsider sort of his thing? He was the Georgia governor, not the DC insider. And he stayed an outsider pretty much through his presidency and afterwards too. In some ways it allowed him to get some things accomplished as an ex-president, and in some ways it hindered him while he was in office. It’s true that he’s not held back from speaking his mind.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Amy, I was pretty young during his presidency too and yes, he was and always has been one to stick to his principles. Even when it cost him. A lot.

        (Bush Sr, and many others, wanted him out of the Presidency so bad that they made the Iran hostage situation worse and then it magically ‘resolved’ under Reagan when it could have been resolved under Carter. That’s how few friends Carter had in Washington.)

      • Tulip Garden says:

        I don’t remember, and haven’t read, much about Carter as President. I do believe that since leaving office he has continued to work in humanitarian areas and has been successful, and low-key, about it. He has my admiration for that.

  12. epiphany says:

    Bill Clinton and George Bushs Sr. and Jr. are very good friends – (don’t know about Hilary). Clinton and the Bushes were only political opponents. Like most politicians, behind closed doors they get along just fine. This is what made Clinton such an effective President. He could put aside his personal political philosophy and find merit in somebody else’s agenda, then work to get it accomplished. He didn’t care if it was a conservative or liberal approach, all that mattered is if it could work.

  13. Frida_K says:

    I remember when Georgie B lurched onto Angela Merkel’s shoulders like that. She was not amused.

    There are other pictures floating about in which Mrs. Obama switched seats with President Obama and she has an expression of doom on her face that speaks volumes. Daddy’s in the doghouse!

    I love the Obamas, though, and I doubt that President Obama would have been taking selfies if the the tone weren’t right for it.

    • lucy2 says:

      I know, that W & Clinton picture instantly reminded me of his unsolicited shoulder squeeze on Merkel!

      • Cecilia says:

        I remember that too. Also, do you remember when Michelle inappropriately hugged the Queen?? OH NO!!

      • LadySlippers says:

        But the Queen returned the affection. Others were offended but apparently not the Queen herself.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        I never thought that hugging the Queen was “inappropriate”. It may have been against protocol. I just thought, and still think, that the Queen probably enjoyed being treated like a real human being for a change.

      • LadySlippers says:

        No one is technically allowed to touch the Queen first. Per protocol, she extends her hand first for a handshake.

        However, HM wrapped her hand around Michelle’s waist (mimicking Michelle’s actions) rather than simply removing the hand/arm OR asking her aide to step in to ask Michelle to remove it (HM is big on saving face and an aide asking is a great saving face tactic).
        Thus indicating that HM was okay with Michelle’s half embrace. And many people commented that HM and Michelle *do* get along which is stupendous. (I’m sure many of the BRF have to fake their enjoyment with all kinds of people so honest enjoyment is refreshing)

  14. Winnie says:

    I thought the funnier story was the photos I saw where Michelle and Barack switched seats after Barack was being too chummy with the blonde woman.

    • Snazzy says:

      hahaha yessss !!!

    • Cazzee says:

      Team Michelle on that one.

      Barack was totally flirting with the Danish prime minister, even down to doing the shoulder touch! Not cool to do the shoulder touch. You know the shoulder touch move: “Oh, you’re so funny, stop it!”.

      Seriously, look at the photos. Usually Barack seems like a good husband, but yesterday he was out of line. I don’t blame Michelle at all for looking unhappy.

    • endoplamic_ridiculum says:

      Ya. Totally. Also – even though it was a celebratory funeral, it’s one thing to be cheery and another to get all frat boy at frosh week at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. She’s probably questioning his judgement…

  15. Susie Q says:

    Ha, Presidents, they’re just like us.

  16. LAK says:

    There were boatloads of people with questionable reputations attending. Madiba embraced and supported them. Mugabe is the tip of the iceberg of those he supported.

    • Cleo says:

      Reason why Mugabe is being vilified because he is not what you think…how about both bushes and Clinton’s….they are not whiter than white (no pun intended)…

    • B. says:

      Madiba supported Mugabe??? He was actually one of his harshest critics.

    • Han says:

      @LAK Thats incorrect. Mandela was a harsh critic of Mugabe. Please be accurate.

  17. Jessica says:

    Meh. Obama shaking Raul Castro’s hand is a much bigger deal. Who cares if the Danish PM wants a pic with Cameron and Obama, I’d want one too.

    • Nroth Wset says:

      Shaking hand with Cuba a big deal??Yes but not in your context, Its the first step in the right direction..It was a apur of the moment thing (i hope!)..not orchestrated.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Obama should have extended his hand as if to shake Castro’s and then just withdrew it really quickly like “just kidding!” That would have been a lot better.

        Come on, guys. CONTEXT. This was not an official political meeting of any kind–it was a gathering of people to celebrate the life of an incredible man.

      • mel2 says:

        Shaking Raul Castro’s hand was the right thing to do. After all that’s what Mandela fought for freedom and peace. Most of those dignitaries who were there dont exude what Mandela stood for.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Completely agree about the hand-shaking. It is called manners and appropriate behavior. He should have shaken hands. It takes nothing away from him but gains him “the upper hand” of gentlemanly behavior. That is something that shouldn’t ever go out of style.
        As to the “selfies”, it was inappropriate. I get the celebratory nature of the event but that does seem to be taking things too far. I think the President of the United States could easily have politely refused to be a part of that.
        I know this entire post comes across as old-fashioned and I really don’t care. It is up to an older generation to set a good example of manners.
        To me, POTUS gained a point here and then lost a point here as far as decorum is concerned. But also, DON”T WE HAVE BIGGER PROBLEMS HERE IN THE U.S.?

      • blue marie says:

        @ OKitt.. ha, that’s fifth grade material right there. Going in for the handshake and then “SYKE” President Obama rubs his head instead. That just gave me a great visual.

    • Janet says:

      Why was it a big deal? It’s called good manners. What was he supposed to do, spit in his eye?

    • buzz says:

      What was he supposed to do? Take a sh!t on his face? The petty hatred you have for The President is disgusting. And you’re not fooling anyone. You cannot be taken seriously by anyone real.

      There are hundreds of pictures of St. Reagan, McCain and many others shaking hands with Khadaffi. Bush holding hands with the Saudis. I mean, Reagan sold arms to Iran for hostages! That’s like a big sloppy wet kiss on the Ayatollah.

  18. Neffie says:

    Bush has been travelling with Obama quite frequently lately,whats up with that,is he bored? Anyways the series of pics going around the net are hilarious, its like FLOTUS was like ‘what in the hell are you guys doing? so inappropriate, Barrack come sit over here’ LOOOL

  19. BeckyR says:

    On top of all his other shortcomings, Obama has no manners, no inkling how conduct himself at a memorial service.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      …and you feel the same way about the Danish Prime minister and the British Prime Minister as well, I assume?
      How can so many of the world’s leaders be so incredibly inappropriate (I mean, according to you)?????

      • Neffie says:

        Exactly, why direct your criticism only to POTUS , that lady was acting like a 14 year old on a school trip, the guys were clearly just humouring her. There is another picture where she is practically pulling David Cameron’s face towards her. She is the most inappropriate of them all if we really wanted to get that heated about it.

    • Dimebox says:

      He was conducting himself in keeping with the atmosphere of the day. If he had turned down the selfie, those quick to find fault would criticize him for being rude.

    • Honey says:

      Becky i am south african. We south african loved Obama and felt his speech was very much in Madibas spirit. His speech was widely percieved to be the best by the people i spoke too back home.
      It was not an austere occasion, the people were singing and cheering as is the custom in our country when a soul passes on.
      The selfie looks silly but shouldnt we lay some blame on the danish prime minister who was the one suggesting it? It wasnt actually Obama Or the british prime minister David Cameron that started that.
      I am surprised by how some of you americans dislike Obama he is a much more loved president across the world than the previous president you elected.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “I am surprised by how some of you americans dislike Obama he is a much more loved president across the world than the previous president you elected.”

        Many Americans have never cared much about how the rest of the world perceives us, unfortunately.

      • Han says:

        The same is true in europe he is very popular here and always has been. Maybe because many european countries struggle with the economy post the financial crisis so people here know its not Obamas fault that the economy is bad but rather the moment in time we are in. Also seems like The Us has a major problem with partisan politicians.

      • Kate says:

        TheOrginalKitten; unfortunately we have some americans who haven’t traveled outside their backyard.

  20. Nroth Wset says:

    Already said this in the Dutcvh news….HOW COULD HE?? Michelle didnt looked amused.
    She looked pissed. I would be..

  21. Chloe says:

    I’m cracking up at the picture of Obama kissing FLOTUS hand and bowing his head we know who runs that household:) As for the picture I cringed at two things one it was at a funeral service (though it was more of a celebration life) and two your grown damn adults not teenagers stop with the selfies, all we needed to make it more eye rolling is if the blonde woman would have stuck her tongue out Miley style . The Morning Show just did a piece on this and apparently everyone was doing them at the event from Bono, Bush and there were thousands of just regular folk that had posted selfies, so we can’t be critical of just one person.

  22. Evi says:

    If you look at the other angles of the selfie [particularly on the DM site], you will also note that Michelle Obama doesn’t look too impressed with her husband’s behaviour. Especially when he was talking animatedly [it seems] to the Danish PM after the selfie.

  23. lilian says:

    As a South African I can tell you that we don’t care about the selfie. I was actually shocked about the big deal the American Press seems to be making of this. Seriously??? As some of you have mentioned a lot of the culture in South Africa is about Celebrating the life of the deseased in South Africa. What better life to Celebrate the Nelson Mandela?
    What we were talking about mostly this morning was the heartfelt speech President Obama gave. It was wonderful and respectful.

    • lenje says:

      Thank you! I just wrote down thread that it’s more important what the South Africans think about it 🙂

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Very well said.
      The truth is that if Obama had worn a tie that didn’t match his suit, some people in this country would be seizing on that and calling THAT inappropriate.

      • MorticiansDoItDeader says:

        I’m pretty much all “argued” out about this, as one of the discussions on a Facebook group I belong to became quite heated with one person calling anyone who disagreed with the “selfie” a racist. My take, as a funeral director, is that it’s in poor taste for anyone to take a “funeral (or memorial) selfie.” If you want to take a photo with someone at the service do it at the repast after the service. Traditionally, Americans still view funeral/memorial services as formal events. Some are solemn and some are more lighthearted celebrations of life, but I think neither are appropriate occasions for “selfies.” I’m aware that the media was present (because the mandella family approved it), but unless selfie taking was approved by the family, I think it’s a different story. Also, as Americans, Brits and Swedes we a have a right to judge how our world leaders comport themselves. It isn’t just the right of South Africans to comment, unless “funeral selfies” are culturally significant to South Africans in some way 😜

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Hi Mort 🙂
        So former president George W. Bush posting a photo of himself and Bono at the very same memorial service on Instagram is also very inappropriate as well correct?

        Look, if it was a funeral-a somber and formal affair-I would feel entirely different, but this photo took up 3 seconds of a FOUR HOUR ceremony filled with singing and dancing–not like POTUS was taking selfies through the whole thing. In fact, Obama actually never took a selfie-the Danish Prime Minister did (a fact that people seem to conveniently gloss over).

        Here are some other images from that day, people are smiling, laughing, dancing, and YES taking photos.

        I certainly agree that every American is entitled to have an opinion about how the president conducts himself at these very public functions, but it depresses the hell out of me that this one picture is overshadowing an event that was meant to commemorate Mandela’s legacy. But such is the nature of American politics–always and forever the focus remains on the superficial and the unimportant.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Mort, agree with you completely.
        TOK, yes it was inappropriate for Bush too.
        Basically, it was inappropriate for anyone who did this. Of course, sadly I expect inappropriate from some in the crowd at such a large event. I do not expect it from dignitaries. I am not going to lower my expectations or let the internet dictate to me the social niceties.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “Basically, it was inappropriate for anyone who did this. Of course, sadly I expect inappropriate from some in the crowd at such a large event.”

        Well, it wasn’t “some” but by all accounts, the majority that were singing and dancing and cheering.

        Please understand that “inappropriate” to you isn’t necessarily inappropriate to other cultures. Saying that the South Africans who were taking photos and singing and dancing were not acting appropriately according to YOUR standards, which are based on the American culture means you’re essentially judging (and in a way condemning) another culture’s way of honoring a profound leader that greatly changed the face of this world. To me, when you’re in another country, it’s appropriate to observe THEIR customs–that’s the respectful way to behave as a visitor.

        Personally, if I had been lucky enough to be at that memorial service and I saw all the people of South Africa singing joyously, I would join right in, I don’t GAF if Americans thought I wasn’t observing “proper memorial service protocol according to the USA”.

        Anyway, I’m ok agreeing to disagree with you ladies on this one.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Point taken. I do understand that other cultures have different meanings for what is or is not inappropriate. I suppose that on that point, I will withdraw my complaint about those of a different culture behaving in manner inconsistent with my values. I am not apologizing for having my own values as we all do but, I hadn’t considered that South Africans are being in accordance with their values and I respect that. That is a good point and well-taken.
        That said, I do not withdraw my criticism of Bush, Obama, and the dignitaries from other western countries. Also, I may be mistaken but I don’t believe that they were so much behaving this way to respect this culture (I haven’t seen any of them dancing), I believe that were simply showcasing the fact that much of our (American) societal niceties have fallen by the wayside with the advent of social media.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “Also, I may be mistaken but I don’t believe that they were so much behaving this way to respect this culture (I haven’t seen any of them dancing), I believe that were simply showcasing the fact that much of our (American) societal niceties have fallen by the wayside with the advent of social media. ”

        Well, that’s certainly true…and I think what you’re saying here is sort of an extension of what Lady MTL said above-selfies need to go away forever. The idea that a photo must be taken at every possible moment really just detracts from ENJOYING an experience in real time IMO.
        Now excuse me while I take a selfie of me typing this and instagram it just so I can relive this moment 😉

      • LadySlippers says:

        I’m in 100% agreement with Kitten here.

        In Japan, funerals are VERY solemn and all customs are rigidly adhered to. Right down to the fact that NO ONE wears anything but black and white (in fact you don’t wear the black and white combo together as those colour combos are ONLY for funerals or other solemn occasions) . Wearing dark brown and/or navy to a funeral is a huge faux pas. However, in the States, those colour customs are no longer being followed (which is why I find it amusing when Hollywood still adheres to it) but no one in Japan is crying out in horror at our seemingly lack of decorum.

        We need to look at this, not with our morals and standards, but theirs. It shows a huge cultural insensitivity when we constantly critique everyone based on our moral ruler. Our codes of conduct are not THE codes of conduct for the entire planet.

        So while I’m not nuts about anyone taking a ‘selfie’ ever — I’m not going to throw someone under the bus for it either. And if the South Africans choose to party rather than cry at a death/funeral — let them. If they aren’t offended at the selfies than we should take their cue and respect it. Period/Full Stop.

      • littlestar says:

        Mort – great comment and I agree with you completely. It is in poor taste to take “selfies”, happy carefree memorial or not. Side note story here, it kind of reminds me of this old great aunt of mine, when she was alive she would go to funerals and take pictures of the dead people in their caskets. Apparently she had an album full of pictures like that. Now that is extreme and morbid and makes a selfie seem harmless, but still. Just because social media is changing the world, doesn’t mean we have to lose all formalities when it comes to certain things!

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Yes exactly! Also, you enjoy that selfie as even to my, apparently, exacting standards, it is more than appropriate to commemorate this meeting of the minds and, yes, this completely civil discourse!!! 🙂

        Agree that it isn’t worth throwing anyone under the bus about. It is however worth a conversation about how much our society is changing in regards to respect, appropriate behavior, and where social media fits into all of that. Also, agree completely that it would be wrong to judge another cultural by our standards…which originally I did…and I apologized and acknowledged my error.

        Thank you ladies. I have really enjoyed this both on an intellectual and a social level.

      • LadySlippers says:

        I don’t like ‘selfies’ at all and cringe
        when seeing it done anywhere and everywhere. But that’s MY hang-up and I get that.

        But the cultural insensitivity really curls the leaves on my delicate orchid as it keeps promoting the idea that Americans are judgemental, overbearing twats*. Other cultures get really smug when this see us being so stupid because we’re playing into our stereotype. And it is stupid. There are seriously much bigger fish to fry in the world than whether or not a few famous people took some selfies.

        Tulip, I absolutely accept your apology (house rule). I love to have these good, stimulating conversations. And this selfie culture — now that is more irksome and much more conversation worthy topic.

        *Read up and down just this post. Plenty of people are busy making huge presumptions and judgements and not listening to actual South Africans who obviously know their customs better than we do.

      • Kate says:

        TheOrginalKitten and LadySlippers , I always enjoy your posts and totally agree with on this subject. some americans want everyone to live by their standards whether person is in the United States are not. there’s a huge world out there, love social media. If the South Africans didn’t have a problem with it, who are we to nitpick.

    • Han says:


      • Kate says:

        President Obama could find a $75,000 salary job for every American working 20 hours per week, free health care & college education and 5 months paid vacation with 30 sicks days and some people in this country will still complain.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        If President Obama or any candidate CAN do this, let’s find ’em and shove ’em into office whether they want the job or not! 🙂
        Seriously, if you don’t understand why some people are complaining about “free” healthcare than you and yours are incredibly blessed. I hope that continues. For others of us, we are not “complaining” or “whining”, we are simply trying to make figure out how to live with the vast changes that the Affordable Care Act has introduced into our lives and our society whether or not we voted for President Obama or not.

      • bluhare says:

        Tulip, every president makes changes that impact everyone. The viciousness of some who don’t like Obama’s efforts is beyond the pale. Not saying you are, but there’s always a few who taint everyone else.

      • MorticiansDoItDeader says:

        Hi Kitten!

        Yes, the Bush selfie was JUST AS “inappropriate” as the Obama selfie. like i said in my original post, I’m not a fan of funeral/memorial selfies in general no matter who is taking them. If Bono or the Dutch PM initiated it, either president could have excused himself to speak to someone else and caught up with the selfie initiator at a more appropriate time. If someone asked me to participate in a funeral selfie I would say “please excuse me for a moment while I speak with so-and-so, I will catch up with you at the repast for photos.” Both gentleman know how to politely avoid potential PR nightmares and their ability to execute a graceful exit would probably be even more dignified than the one I proposed. As others up thread have mentioned, selfies take the focus off of the person being honored and put the focus on the people taking photos of themselves. Nothing says selfish more than a selfie.

        As an aside, dancing, singing, etc are culturally significant forms of mourning in many cultures as is photo taking of the deceased. A period of traditional mourning is sometimes followed by these things. I think they are wonderful and steeped in tradition. Funeral/memorial selfies are not. They are a new phenomena initiated by self absorbed teens and the me me me generation. Why would any adult want to emulate that?

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Fair enough, Mort. As always, your insight as a funeral director is insightful and interesting—particularly how fascinating to read about how different cultures mourn.

        …and at least we can all agree on one thing: selfies suck 😉

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Exactly what you said! You are a consistently lovely poster with a well-articulated point of view and I truly appreciate it. As you can see upthread, I feel the same way but am, perhaps, less articulate about explaining my feelings.

        Oh, I didn’t take your comment to be a swipe at me at all. Of course, all presidents have had and will continue to have difficult decisions to make that affect all of us. No president is ever going to have a 100% approval rating from one person little less all people (or, at least, I hope not because that’s some Kool-Aid drinking thinking).
        I do take exception to people accusing others of having invalid complaints simply because of party affiliation. In fact, I detest “parties” for that very reason.
        I have legitimate concerns about the Affordable Care Act because of how it affects me, even though in one instance where I am benefitting from it. I have concerns too because of how it affects others and because of how it affects business here in the U.S.A. I believe it is ridiculous to suggest that those of us that are concerned and less than enamored of the Affordable Care Act are “pretending” to have concerns. Kate’s quote above is, to me, simply trying to say that people are “Obama haters” which, granted some are. Some of us however would be more than happy to climb aboard any train that takes this country out of its present economic state regardless of what “party” tag was on said train.

      • Kate says:

        Tulip Garden what I’m saying is; If Obama fixed ALL the problems in the United STates there would still be people who would hate him and nitpick. The Tea Party has been very vocal. Were where they during Bush presidency?

      • Tulip Garden says:

        With all due respect, this attitude of “why didn’t you (particular group or party) say something about them (particular group of party)” really doesn’t advance the conversation at all. When someone brings up a legitimate concern about a problem facing our nation or a concern about the actions of any part of our governmental body, the reasonable thing to do is engage the person on that topic. Persuade them through facts and logic that team xyz or person xyz is doing the correct/incorrect thing.
        Yes, there are people that will dislike a particular party or person for no logical reason. We all know that. I don’t see how getting on the internet and decrying silliness to one and all solves that issue. In fact, nothing will solve that issue because these people are unreasonable. Unfortunately, when you make the arguments as you did above, you become part of the problem.

    • lucy2 says:

      The American Press is stuck on this stupid 24/7 news cycle, so they have to take the smallest things and make them huge just so they have stuff to talk about. And when it involves politics of any kind, even worse because they’ll twist things to suit their audience, rather than actually provide facts.
      I’m glad to hear the people of South Africa were pleased with the ceremony.

      • gg says:

        This is one of the most intelligent posts on this whole thread. All sides do it, all sides are guilty of dehumanizing presidents and ex presidents for the sake of arguing all damn day long. I grow weary of it all.

      • Esmom says:

        lucy2, you are exactly right. It’s crazy what this 24/7 media cycle has created in terms of divisiveness, and often over the most inconsequential things. I recently watched an American Experience about President Clinton and I was floored because I hadn’t remembered the divisiveness then as being quite so bad as it is today, but it was. It just wasn’t analyzed and spun to death and then spread like wildfire over social media like it is today…

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Completely agree with you. I am sick and tired of all “news” organizations. The organizations themselves or the reports/talking heads often seem to have an agenda whether it be left or right. I really believe that this dumbing down of society is going to be catastrophic for America. I don’t want to hear Obama’s “you didn’t make this” sound clip played continually and then a spinmeister (left or right) explaining what it means. Also, don’t want to hear Romney’s “binders full of women” and the accompanying explanations. Going further back, would love never to see Howard Dean’s “wooohoooo” war cry being played as evidence of anything. It is depressing to me the outright stupidity that drives the news cycle and, far worse, the poorly informed (read unintelligent) lowest common denominator that these organizations pander to. What is so frightening is that , left or right, these people VOTE. That is who is making decisions for this country. Anyone else as uncomfortable with this as I am? Anyone else squirming in their seat? I am talking to Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, any and all Americans. I’m truly frightened, how about you?

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @Tulip Garden-I was just discussing this very topic with a friend of mine. The Today Show is a great example of a show that went from covering important, newsworthy material to covering the Kardashians and youtube videos of dancing babies. Sure, The Today Show was never the gold standard of reporting, but their focus has turned more and more towards pop culture, less about actual news, to the point where I sometimes feel like I’m watching Access Hollywood instead of a news program.
        The dumbing down of America, indeed.

      • Esmom says:

        @Tulip Garden. YES. Hear, hear. What’s most scary to me is that people are choosing from so many sources where to get their info and in doing so they make choices that ALL tend to lean in the same direction. I think I once heard it referred to as “media silos.”

        So in many cases — left or right — people are only getting one side of a story, a single biased slant, day in and day out. Neutral sources are really hard to find.

        My mom went through this phase of forwarding all these emails full of partisan, fear-mongering crap. My brother-in-law and I ended up in a sort of contest to see who could debunk her info faster via Snopes or whatever and she learned pretty quickly to double check stuff before mindlessly swallowing it and passing it along. But many people do not — or will not — question their sources.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Yes exactly. The scary part is that a large portion of this country still thinks that these are “news” organizations. They absolutely are not. The more frightening part is that so-called reputable news organizations, and I’m not just talking FOX, are “soundbite” organizations. There is probably not one news presenter from CNN that you don’t know with absolute conviction which way they vote. That should not be. I am afraid that critical thinking skills are being lost, not only for our young but by adults.

        See above. I agree with you too. It is almost as if a popularity contest is taking place wherein if you “admit” that your party or your candidate is wrong on this or that point then you are not a “team player”. I say screw being a team player. We are Americans. We should demand non-partisan news reports. Present the issue, present the different politicians take on that issue, then present all with tough questions. I want to know if there are inconsistencies, I want to know if someone has an agenda, I want to know a whole lot…..but I don’t want a newscaster to “tell” me or lead me into coming up with a conclusion. Critical thinking people can do that on their own.
        ***AAARRRGGHHH, I will stop ranting****

      • Esmom says:

        Tulip Garden, No need to apologize for “ranting,” this topic gets me going, too. I’m involved in my town’s local government and the only thing that keeps me going (because it can be thankless and exhausting) is that it’s completely non-partisan. People with very different political persuasions when it comes to Rs and Ds, yet working together for the common good of our town.

        It’s feels odd, sometimes, being in complete agreement with someone on some things, and utterly opposed on other, partisan stuff. But isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? We should be able to keep stuff like that separate — it’s called civility. Like you said, if everyone keeps up this “team player” nonsense and never gives an inch on anything, there’s no hope for us. Sticking to the party line at all costs is indeed mindless and lazy and it drives me up the effing wall.

      • MorticiansDoItDeader says:

        @kitten, as always, I appreciate your opinion and enjoy having my perspective challenged politely.

        @tulip, thank you so much. You did a great job getting your point across. My dislike for selfies originated with the selfies at serious places tumblr and then the funeral selfies tumblr
        All of the people taking these photos seemed to miss the point of their visit to Aushowitz or lacked the depth to understand the gravity of the moment they were in.

        @littlestar, thank you. For what it’s worth, your aunt isn’t that strange. In certain cultures photos of the deceased are quite common and usually close out a person’s life album.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        I commend you for your community involvement. I am impressed that at least in your arena what matters is what is good for the community and not what one’s party affiliations are. I’ll bet the lower that you go in terms of government the more likely that you are to find honest, decent people just trying to make a go of it for the common good. Having said that, nationally this country is a joke as far as partisan politics. It does the people no good nor in the long run the candidates although it does get them into office.
        Lastly, it is strange to agree completely on one issue and to vehemently be opposed on another but you know what is stranger? To agree with anyone or any party on everything. I know which I am more comfortable with.

    • endoplamic_ridiculum says:

      that’s cause he’s representing us….

  24. lenje says:

    It’s quite a dilemma for me, hehe… On the one hand, it’s a memorial service, where I expect people to act solemnly out of respect to the deceased and their family. My work in the government agency with a pretty strict protocol will require it too.

    On the other hand, the memorial service is also a celebration of the life of a global personality. I couldn’t follow the memorial service until the end because I had to work, I can’t tell when those things (selfies, merry chats between the Bushes and the Clintons, etc.) happened, but I figured it must’ve been during the lighter program agenda. It’s quite refreshing, actually.

    It’s more important to take into account what the South Africans think of that. I came from a culture that marks all life happenstances. Funerals are a big deal for the many ethnic groups in my country, including my own tribe group. When my grandmother passed away, we had a three-day funeral. On the first day, we all mourned for the loss. Family members gathered around the coffin, and the ladies wailed. On the third day, her children, children in laws, and grandchildren (including myself) danced around the coffin to celebrate her memories and express our joy that she’s now free from pain.

  25. Han says:

    It was meant to be a celebration of Mandelas life and for people to come together in unity and respect for his ideals. Thats why its fitting that even bush and clinton had a good time together. Obama even shook hands with the Cuban president. I watched it and Obama stole the show, his speech was brilliant. The crowds booed their own president and cheered for Obama.

  26. Jules says:

    Does anyone else think it looks like Clinton is going to give Dubya a piggy back?

    • Evi says:

      It reminds me of the scene in 300, where Xerxes says to Leonidas:
      “I can make you warlord of all Greece!”


  27. Dirtnap says:

    Being rather old school, I was initially appalled at the selfie. There’s a time and place for narcissism, and there were plenty of photographers documenting the event and takings pics of those three chumming around. But … It sure would be nice to have world peace and our leaders smiling at each other while children sing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” in the background. So I’m going to put my high horse in the stable.

    I should buy Michelle a Coke, girlfriend needs a drink.

    • Miss_Magpie says:

      I have never heard “putting my high horse in the stable” before, may I steal it? It is wonderful!

      • Dirtnap says:

        Steal away, @Miss Magpie! I confess that I have to put my high horse in the stable quite often. : )

    • bluhare says:

      Dirtnap, I have an entire herd of high horses. So much so I have one for every occasion. 🙂

      • LadySlippers says:

        As long as those high horses are fully accessorized and colour coordinated specifically to each occasion — then I’m fine with it. Would hate to call out a fellow wiglet watcher with fashion faux pas that she herself created. 😉

        Because…. Heavens, what would the neighbors think?!???

      • Dirtnap says:

        @Bluhare: LOL, good thinking, maybe I should get a high horse for every gossip site I visit so that I don’t wear out my Celebitchy horse right out of the gate!

  28. Jacqueline says:

    This is how I would expect them to act at a reception AFTER the memorial. Despite any tone of the memorial, I think this is extremely disrespectful. It’s a funeral – not a reunion.

    • Evi says:

      Exactly what I think. Every other culture on the planet still finds stuff like this quite odd. I know if I did something like this at a family funeral, I’d never hear the end of it.

      • lenje says:

        Every other culture? I’m sorry, you don’t speak for EVERY other culture. It’s not exactly like that in my culture. And have you read the comment from the South African reader above?

    • Han says:

      It wasn’t a funeral. It was a memorial with music. A celebration of his life. Guys you should read up before you speak.

      • thecookingpan says:

        Thank you Han, The event was a celebration and memorial of Madiba’s life, it wasn’t his funeral. That happens on Sunday.

    • Kay Vincent says:

      Well said.

  29. Anastasia says:

    I am loving that pic of Clinton and Dubya bro-ing it up. Now I really want to see a reality show with them taking a bro road trip or something.

    • Kate says:

      I’d watch that LOL

    • Cazzee says:

      I get the feeling that there might have been some tippling on Air Force One on the flight over there. Dubya only tends to give shoulder rubs when he’s been drinking, and he’s giving one to Bill Clinton in one of the pics. It would also explain President Obama’s super-flirty behavior with the Danish prime minister…

    • gg says:

      haha, I would totally watch that. BUT, it would lower them a bit further than they need to be lowered, however, so it’s best presidents just stay off the tube as much as possible. I have a slight problem with sitting Presidents appearing on talk shows so putting them on The Simple Life – Ex-Prez would not be very smart (even though the fantasy of it sounds delightful).

  30. Lark says:

    I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but I love Michelle’s look like “oh really, all of you? put that damn phone down.” She is the queen of the side-eye. To be honest though, it was the Danish prime-minster who wanted the selfie with Cameron and Obama so I’m more like “okay.” Maybe it’s me, I’m kind of a luddite when it comes to things like that like I want people to put their phones away all the time. Again though, it’s amazing how people overreacted to this minor thing imo.

  31. Megan says:

    I’m pretty whatever about the selfie, but all I keep thinking about is: imagine the reaction on Celebitchy if this had been Duchess Kate. We would be facing an extreme polar opposite. Is it in poor taste, yeah probably, but the worst thing ever? Absolutely not

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      I’d side eye Kate more, because she can’t seem to even pretend like she’s happy or interested in anything but a gala or shopping, let alone when she’s out doing her charity events.

    • mommak918 says:

      Poor taste. And I agree with you. If it was Kate at a funeral, everyone would throw a fit. It amazes me how he gets a pass for so much. He is extremely self obsessed and inappropriate.

      Id rather have Michelle as President.

  32. Tiki Bar Queen says:

    Im not a fan of this administration so I try to make my life happier by avoiding politics but I think the selfie outrage is silly because it wasnt a funeral, it was like a wake. Wakes are supposed to be celebrations of life and a good time.

  33. AG says:

    It was a celebration of an amazing life. Everyone seems to have had a “good time” (if you can say that a memorial service was “a good time.”) There’s no need to panic about the selfies.

  34. Sandy says:

    I don’t like selfies, and thought this was inappropriate. And as one jealous woman to another: “Michelle, he needs a beat-down!”

  35. AJ says:

    No funeral selfies!! It’s not like he was the only one doing it and it’s not his fault but it’s just really not the time/place. I was appalled when I saw distant family members taking selfies at my mom’s funeral it was just so tacky and inconsiderate. I understand that these relatives of mine hadn’t seen each other in a while but seriously?? Just no. Save the photo op for later.

    • Janet says:

      Except this wasn’t a funeral. It was a memorial service celebrating a great man’s life, and everyone was laid back and having a good time. Lighten up.

    • buzz says:

      New Gingrich was sending political tweets while touring Nueremberg. Bush was publicly drunk at the China Olympics. This was after he groped Angela Merkel.

  36. menlisa says:

    Why is everyone picking on Obama?
    It’s the Danish PM who requested the “selfie” not Potus.
    And as a South African too, my parents who were at the service said it was not a somber affair.

  37. lucy2 says:

    I initially thought it was inappropriate for a memorial service but not the end of the world, but now see that it was not a solemn event at all. There are people talking and smiling and laughing, it was a celebration of an amazing life. A life that should teach us there are far worse things to worry about.

  38. Jedi says:

    I thought the friendliness of the Bush and Clinton families was the most interesting part – i read a book called “This Town” a couple of weeks ago. It was all about political life in DC and how everyone on either side of the spectrum is all in it together. Regardless of party politics, they all keep each other in business and the only real losers in DC politics are the American public. This was written about 2008 though, right when Obama was launching his campaign. It was a very interesting take on what politics was really like from an insiders perspective, and sort of made me think of how most of the people in power in the US (and a lot of other G8 countries) have probably known each other for decades and are probably very friendly outside of legislative battles.

  39. Miss M says:

    I think Mrs. Obama expression summarizes at all. Apparently, after that, she switched places with him. Ha!

  40. Loulou says:

    Unbecoming the function and incredibly lame. When people see this in the future, without the context, they’ll think he was moronic. Same for Cameron.

  41. ALJsMom says:

    If I hadn’t seen pictures of everyone else looking like they were having a good time the selfie might bother me.
    OMG can you imagine if this were Kate Middleton? So many of you would be having a fit

  42. Michele says:

    It looks like Bill Clinton is giving W a piggy back ride LOL

  43. elo says:

    Not a fan of Obama, and I think funeral selfies are tacky. That being said, there are so many other things for people to attack him for and things going on to be angry about, that I just don’t see this being a big deal. I think most of these politicians are more friendly then they let on but it pays to keep Americans polarized. They attack each other in public for votes and ratings then after they go drink expensive scotch and smoke expensive cigars on our dime, and laugh and laugh.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Exactly-nothing new here. American politics has ALWAYS been like this: focus on something irrelevant but convincingly divisive, get the American public fighting about it and that effectively removes the our focus from problems with the current administration (and I’m including Pres Obama AND Congress in this).
      In other words, get us to argue about trivial things so we don’t notice the HUGE failures that are happening in Washington, DC on both sides of the political aisle.

      Sadly, it’s an extremely effective deflection tactic.

      • Esmom says:

        You nailed it, TheOriginalKitten. These tactics are more than sad to me, they make my blood boil. 🙁

      • elo says:

        I agree TheOriginalKitten, it gets particularly bad during election time. They predictably turn to hot button, divisive issues to distract the public and start the debate. They don’t want any hard hitting questions about the economy, food sources, or the failing of the American dream. The whole bunch of them are terrible on both sides IMO.

    • MorticiansDoItDeader says:

      @Elo,That’s not the only thing some of them are doing with expensive cigars 😜

    • elo says:

      Hahaha @MorticiansDoItDeader! You officially have won the internet tonight…I decided!

  44. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    It is funny in a way because it is not funny yet funny at the same like the teen taking a selfie while his teacher was going into labour – that picture is funny for some reason it makes me laugh because he looks slap happy like obama, and the other two. This photo seems funny for the same reason. They also look way hiiigh.

  45. Shalamar says:

    Bono was there, so the whole place must’ve smelled like douchebag.

  46. Janet says:

    It looks like everyone was having a good time. Madiba would have loved it.

  47. Dee says:

    It wasn’t like it was a funeral. It was a memorial, and a happy occasion at that. I don’t see anything wrong with taking a selfie – I would have.

  48. MissNostalgia says:

    Well, I’ll be the minority opinion; it was tacky and over exuberant. However, in Obama’s defense, the Danish PM was the one who initiated all of the flirting and “selfie” taking. The President could not very well just ignore her, but she had no decorum whatsoever and Mrs. Obama’s expression says it all. It was not a mournful occassion, but some level of decorum can be expected from people with this level of a public image.

  49. Kay Vincent says:

    Typical B.O. Classless. I wonder what Mr Mandela’s family thinks of this self absorbed behavior. Total lack of respect from our “leader”.

    • Janet says:

      Read the comments from South Africans posting on this thread. They have no problem at all with it and neither should you.

  50. Pippa says:

    I dont give a shit about the selfie. They were all doing it and it wasnt a funeral the people were cheering and booing and there was musical acts performing it was a pretty rowdy atmosphere. This is a minor thing that gets blown up by people intent on focusing on trivial stuff.
    I found it to be quite beautiful how they allowed all the major faiths, muslim, hindu, jewish and christian to say prayers for Mandela. I found it to be nice to see how Obama and Castro shook hands and smiled at each other. Mandela would have liked that. I loved when Winnie Mandela and Grace mandela hugged.
    And lastely you should listen to Obamas speech, say what you will but he is a brilliant orator and so eloquent. His speech was truly in mandelas spirit.

  51. Kim1 says:

    The photographer already explained that Michelle was smiling seconds before that pic but that will be ignored because she is an Angry Woman to some people.

  52. madchen says:

    The selfie is a non-issue, so is the look on Michelle Obama’s face which likely had ZERO to do with anything. As for the wing-nuts berating POTUS for shaking Raul Castro’s hand…get a grip and learn: Nixon and Mao; Reagan and Mobuto; Ford and Pinochet…etc., etc., etc.

    Also, I know this is geopolitics not gossip but this article is a good look at a real significant theme at the memorial

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Thanks for that link…NOT surprised that the American media isn’t talking about this and is focusing on a selfie instead. Amazing how all world leaders seem to have the same problem-exploiting their powers and privilege, usually at the expense of their countrymen

  53. Maggie says:

    One big party on the tax payer’s tab. How nice for all of them.

    • buzz says:

      And if he hadn’t gone you’d be squealing like a little pig about that. You realize you people have no credibility on any issue anymore. Your personal hatred of this man is grotesque and repellent, and complete transparent. We know what you are.

      • Janet says:


      • Cecilia says:

        buzz says..
        you people have no credibility on any issue anymore

        you people?? we know what you are??

        And what are WE??

        It certainly doesn’t take much effort to figure out what you are.

        Have a nice day.

      • LadyL says:

        Do you always hyperventilate when you go on a self-righteous tear ? Or is being a bleeting harpie your nomal state?

    • buzz says:

      your hatred is ugly. and yes we have seen exactly YOUR KIND in certain periods of American and European history. you are nothing new. you are the same old same old.

    • Maggie says:

      buzz, I’m not American. And my comment had absolutely nothing to do with skin color. I happen to like Obama. My comment was more about my country, who went and the pics I’ve seen of them. You come across as insanely angry about something. Chill. Same goes for you Janet!

  54. LaurieH says:

    I’m not an Obama fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel as most here do. Taken out of context, the selfie incident seems crass and indecent. But it’s not like they did this during a solemn prayer. This was a LONG memorial, designed to celebrate a man with a long life and long history. The memorial had various phases, from religious solemnity to joyous celebration and moments of fellowship. The selfie incident, I am sure, happened during one of those celebration moments.

    It is good to see past Presidents bonding. Despite politics and ideology difference, being President of the US is a “can’t win” job. At least half the population will always oppose you. All you can is be true to yourself and let the history cookie crumble as it may.

    As for Michelle – that was priceless. Say what you will, but she was NOT a happy camper and probably not because of the selfie, but his flirting with the Danish prime minister. If you look at the full series of photos online, his body language said it all. He was diggin’ on that Dane.

  55. Katy says:

    Where are my pictures of Raul Castro and President Obama? I really want to see that!!

  56. my.comment says:

    obama did not take the selfie; he did pose with the others though… IMPEACH!
    good grief… just like sites like to pick the least attractive photos of whatever celeb is on the current hate list, the photo of michelle obama is completely misleading. according to the actual photographer, she was laughing just moments before this was taken. the attempts to make it seem like obama was hitting on the prime minister are pathetic.

  57. CC says:

    I wasn’t shocked by the selfie but when I saw it I thought “they look like idiots”. I mean, seriously? Obama knows full well his movements and actions in public are always carefully watched, same for Cameron (I guess not so much for the blonde because she’s not well known).

    But then again, there were a LOT of smiles all around. It’s not….horrible, in the sense that Mandela’s life wasn’t cut short. Let’s not forget that this was a memorial for a man that lived a full life (even if 30 of those years were spent in prison, morally he got them back, even if not time-wise).

  58. buzz says:

    Some people need to get over their Obama Derangement Syndrome already. I mean, how many years of your life can you spend marinating yourself in hatred? It’s obscene.

  59. Sachi says:

    That Danish PM was the one holding the phone and she was the one who asked for a photo, it would have been rude to refuse or ignore her.

    There is one more photo of her with her hand in Cameron’s face, like how you’d caress a friend/relative/boyfriend. She behaved in a very familiar, intimate manner with Cameron although I actually doubt they know each other personally.

    But of course, it’s all Obama’s fault because he is so rude and has no manners and he failed to represent America in a good way, right?!

    The speech he gave, praised by many people as eloquent and brilliant, was just a dream and didn’t really happen. That speech is irrelevant and didn’t give America a good image around the world because he also posed for a photo! Sigh.

    Never mind that the moment they used to pose for a selfie was not a serious moment and everyone else was interacting and celebrating around them. They were just a few of those who were having fun at an event meant to celebrate Mandela’s life and legacy.

  60. anne_000 says:

    I’m glad President Obama shook Raul Castro’s hand. Diplomatic relationships have to start & if it starts because of a simple handshake, then terrific! Then there can be an opening of communications, including about political prisoners, ideology, civil rights, etc. Hopefully we’ll be at peace w/ Cuba one day. So again, it has to start from something. And if this is the solution, then it should be commended. World politics isn’t a high school politics game. It has to involve grown-ups who will try to get along with each other for the bigger picture, which is for the good of all the people.

    As for the selfies, the event was about celebrations. There was singing, dancing, laughing, crying, respect, etc amongst the crowd. People taking photos of themselves at the event as a memento of the occasion & people getting on well with each other, including world leaders is all good.

  61. bailey says:

    I hate selfies. It’s all about : me, me, me and more me, enough already, but I don’t think any of them meant any harm. It wasn’t a funeral, but a memorial and a celebration of the amazing Mandela, may he rest in peace. Obama could have told them that they will do it later. It’s no crime to take a selfie at a memorial service, but they could have postpone it for after it was finished, before leaving the stadium. Obama is a decent, educated man, although I’m very disappointed in him as a president, I don’t think he did anything wrong here.

  62. dorothy says:

    Way to be dignified and classy Obama. You always make us proud. ~ sarcasm.

    • Janet says:

      He does indeed, your pathetic attempt at sarcasm to the contrary. I am very proud to have him as my President.

  63. Deedee says:

    I think Nelson Mandela would have approved.

  64. Lauraq says:

    I think it was a tasteless thing to do, but (and I say this as someone who voted against Obama both times) there are worse things in the world to worry about. Obama is friendly (I personally think he’s a lovely man and a crappy president), so he probably would have a hard time saying no.