(Conclusion revised: 9:16 am)
The thing about those “Merkel massage” video frames is that — like scanning a flip book — they are mostly concerned with the story line. In this case, the climatic moment occurs in shot #3, with Merkel doing the big flinch.
Breaking the sequence into “before” and “after” (or, “before,” “during” and “after”), however, I was particularly interested in shot #1. Here comes Bush, the boy with the silver spoon. Look at that cocked left arm. I’m the baddest guy in the bar. This is Bush without the script — but unaware that he needs one. This is the guy who, one weekend, suddenly decided he would nominate chum Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court — and he would do it before anybody (specifically Rove or Cheney) could get to him.
So, did Bush have this Merkel stunt in mind when he entered the room, or did it only come to him after frame #1?
Recently, I wrote that the war in Iraq was an impulsive act on Bush’s part. In reply, a reader countered that this was impossible; it had been planned for months. This can be true in a technical sense, but not necessarily a psychological one. An impulsive can always take time. That doesn’t mean, however, that much more processing will be going into it.
Really, it doesn’t much matter if Bush actually conceived his “massage strike” on the German Chancellor when he entered the room, or it just came over him at the last instant. The interesting thing is that Bush — pre-set to carrying out his “prankish” agenda — registers not an iota of change in his demeanor (shots #2 – 4). There’s no time, you say? That’s not true, however — especially given the fact Bush was physically connected to Merkel’s body. (In comparison, just look at the range of movements, actions and, especially, reactions Merkel goes through in those 3 or 4 seconds.)
As much as one can tell, however, Bush physically and emotionally “stays the course.” Merkel couldn’t have given Bush a more extreme cue if she had jumped out of her seat, or thrown back her arms and clipped Bush in the nose. The example is no different in the larger world, by the way. Political situations can shift and react as suddenly, dramatically and unexpectedly, and Bush wouldn’t deviate (from his at one time impulsively determined, and then fixed agenda).
These stills suggest that he just doesn’t feel it.
(images: taylormarsh.com via You Tube)