A Close Reading Of Barack Obama Typing

President Obama is answering questions on Twitter right now. This is a photo of him typing, by official White House photographer Pete Souza. Let’s look closer. Much closer.

• Obama’s hands look comfortable and relaxed. Most of his fingers are resting on the home row, so he is a trained, experienced typist. He does not finger peck, in other words. He types at least 60 words per minute, I would guess. Is he too relaxed though? Shouldn’t he seem more concerned? Hmm.

• At first I thought he was using a 1517-inch Retina display MacBook Pro because I couldn’t see the “MacBook Pro” logo, but I think he’s in fact using an older non-retina Pro, given the machine’s older style MagSafe power connector… which is unplugged, so he’d better be careful or the computer will die and important Twitter questions from constituents will go unanswered. (Good thing he doesn’t need their votes anymore!) It is definitely 15 inches, given the size of the speaker grills. (On second consideration, it’s a 17-inch machine. I’ve been using an 11-inch Air lately, so the speaker grills look HUGE to me, sorry.) Also, he is apparently using a second monitor, connected with what appears to be a cheap DisplayPort adapter — a Chinese knockoff even, not an official Apple adapter, which, WTF, how many jobs did that kill? Perhaps this is to keep an eye on national security threats, like Kate Middleton’s spawn. (Most likely: TweetDeck is running on a second screen, since using the Twitter website is the least efficient way on earth to use Twitter outside of mailing your tweets to the Twitter office, one at a time, on a pretty pink glitter paper.) Also, wireless is not good enough for the president’s tweets — there is a honking ethernet cable plugged into the side of it.

• I believe White House photographer Pete Souza snapped this photo with either Instagram or Hipstamatic, given the quality of the filter and the texture of border. (This is confusing, because his first picture of Obama’s Twitter event was taken with Camera+.) I would tweet at Souza to ask, but his Twitter feed is little more than a glorified RSS feed of links. No human is behind it. Fortunately, however, I think we are past the days of debating whether news photography can happen with a retro filter on it. Answer: New York Times photographer Damon Winter shot a war with Hipstamatic, so the question has been asked and answered in the overwhelming affirmative.

• Where is this happening, really? Looking even more closely, it appears that this live-tweeting is indeed happening from within the Oval Office, based on the reflection in the monitor’s glass, which reveals windows matching other photos of the Oval Office. Or at least somebody very much wants us to believe Obama’s in the Oval Office and planted a reflection inside of Pete Souza’s photo, which no one would suspect because it looks like it came out of Hipstamatic or Instagram, and you can’t Photoshop a Hipstaprint, or every picture in the world would simultaneously combust.

• Oh, and his screen looks kind of dirty. I think it looks dirtier than it is because my screen is kind of dirty, but I’m definitely detecting the presence of a film or residue covering the president’s display. I am mildly surprised he does not have a matte display version of the MacBook Pro. What if the glare obscured a very important marker on a map, like Osama bin Laden’s hideout? This seems very irresponsible.

• At second glance, his posture is kind of odd. Put your hands on your keyboard. Notice where your arms are in relation to your hands, and your keyboard. Doesn’t Obama seem like he’s sitting too far back, like he’s reaching? Stretching outward and ahead, reaching for something more? Perhaps this moment, more than any other in his entire presidency, is a metaphor for his entire life? Obama, reaching. Always reaching. But what more is there left to reach for?

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