July 10, 2008

"Obama's ample self-regard is lapsing into hubris."

Oh, no! He's losing Andrew Sullivan! Sullivan's biggest complaint: that "Access Hollywood" interview with the daughters.
I was gob-smacked by the Obamas' decision to include their children in a soft-focus TV interview.

Displaying them in this way was bad judgment and poor parenting. Fame is a toxin. Children deserve to be protected from it as much as they would from lead paint.
No one should ever let their kids go on TV? Oh, come on. There's such a thing as overprotection too. I thought it was nice seeing and hearing from the daughters. They're perfectly charming and they reflect something about the man we're trying to understand.

I'm actually a little put off by Obama's expressions of regret about doing the show.
"I think that we got carried away in the moment," Obama told NBC Wednesday morning. "We were having a birthday party and everybody was laughing, and suddenly this thing cropped up, and I didn't catch it quickly enough, and I was surprised by the attention it got."...

Appearing on ABC Wednesday morning, Obama said he didn't think it was healthy for his two daughters to be so exposed.

"Particularly given the way it sort of went around the cable stations, I don't think it's healthy, and it's something that we'll be avoiding in the future," he said.
Why is he conceding that his judgment is so poor? How can someone who didn't anticipate that an interview like that would be all over the cable channels (not to mention the internet) expect us to trust him with national security? Or is it his modus operandi to do one thing and then, when he sees the pundits criticize him, change positions? (That's change you can't believe in.)
Speaking with CNN Tuesday, [Maria] Menounos, the Access Hollywood reporter, said the campaign had reached out to the show for an interview and her only goal was to show the Obama family dynamic.

"No one really expected them to open up so much," Menounos said of the daughters. "You know the campaign and their family were all huddled around and as surprised that the girls took over the interview as I was!"
Yeah, the girls were great, especially the confident, talkative older daughter Malia. (Nothing against the ice-cream-loving younger one.) Did anyone trash her? Did anyone say she was disrespectful? I haven't read the criticism. I'm just speaking for myself. I thought she was wonderful, and, as I've said before, seeing the family together has a powerful emotional effect on me. This is a natural, human feeling, but of course, the Obama campaign must be careful not to do too much.

Anyway, I'm old enough to remember how sublime it was to have the young Kennedy family in the White House. Americans felt a tremendous amount of pleasure seeing the beautiful wife and the adorable children there.

Children are an important part of the world. They have something to contribute to the culture before they grow up. They shouldn't be entirely hidden away in family and school enclaves. They should be out in public frolicking, having fun, and bringing joy to the world and breaking up the crusty solemnity of adult affairs. It's not wrong! And it seems morbidly fearful think that it is.

71 comments:

Al Swearengen said...

Soon the little tykes will be playing wiffle ball in the thouroughfare.

My kingdom for a horse.

Randy said...

As you were among their target audience, it sounds like it worked out well for them. As will the Brandenburg Gate speech, I imagine.

Original Mike said...

I don't disagree with anything you said here except: [the children] reflect something about the man we're trying to understand. None of my concerns about Obama are related to whether he's a good parent or a good human being. So no, I don't think this interview shed any light.

Meade said...

You don't think they were sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?

MadisonMan said...

Oh, no! He's losing Andrew Sullivan!

I love that Sullivan purports to know what Michelle and BHO would have done a couple months ago. Hubris, thy name is Sullivan.

I can easily see myself falling victim to the wheedles of a tween and having remorse afterwards. Here is a relevant quote: The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, "Daddy, I need to ask you something," he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan. Bonus points if you ID the source.

If you don't have a daughter, you'll never understand :)

Meade said...

But seriously, I made this comment over at Amba's place a few weeks ago: We would all be doing the Obama family a huge favor by electing John McCain in November.

Come back and run again in 8 years, Barak. Set your ambitions aside and let your daughters have a normal childhood. Besides, as senator, just think of all the experience in government you can acquire simply by being present during the next eight years.

1jpb said...

Wasn't it his blog (a while back) that had a comment saying BHO needed to push images of his family because it countered the outsider-America-hater mantra that thrives best in a vacuum?

I could be 100% wrong, I have the faintest memory, and no motivation to search.

Anyway, I know some folks who saw that show and only then did they believe that the Obama family aren't a bunch of Black Liberation nuts (These folks where originally from Butte, so that helped too.)

BHO should probably avoid this exact thing in the future, but large portions of the American people do need to learn that Hannity and others are liars and manipulators. This sort of thing may be the best (only) way for some folks to learn (and viscerally feel) that the Obama family is not the scary image projected by the right wing attackers.

I even found some comfort in this interview. Not that I, as an unequivocal BHO supporter, am a demographic that matters. Now I must go and decide between Koolaid or a latte.

Yachira said...

Actually, you'd think that putting them on TV would pale in comparison to subjecting them to the psychotic rantings of "Reverend" Wright.

Meade said...

Go for the latte. You've already drunk the koolaid.

1jpb said...

Yachira,

Thanks for making the point.

Meade,

Thanks for the tip. Of course I do have two hands, why not both?

The Drill SGT said...

"I think that we got carried away in the moment," Obama told NBC Wednesday morning. "We were having a birthday party and everybody was laughing, and suddenly this thing cropped up, and I didn't catch it quickly enough, and I was surprised by the attention it got."...

Total BS. The campaign sought out the interview, arranged it for the b'day party, the kids had make-up. it was a totally staged event, only after the fact is it portrayed as a spur of the moment decision.

veni vidi vici said...

"I'm old enough to remember how sublime it was to have the young Kennedy family in the White House."

It's not like Amy Carter, Chelsea Clinton and the Bush twins were dowagers, either. But yeah, Obama has young daughters. So what? Aside from underscoring how young he is, it shows he has... charming young daughters.

I expect they'll be trotted out every time his campaign needs to remind voters that his opponent is "the old guy". i.e., every time McCain beats his behind on the issues. (Yeah, I know there's a huge "if" in there...)

Gotta love the new politics. Cue up the old "Who" song...

Outis said...

"I think that we got carried away in the moment," Obama told NBC Wednesday morning. "We were having a birthday party and everybody was laughing, and suddenly this thing cropped up, and I didn't catch it quickly enough, and I was surprised by the attention it got."...

Okay, I thought Barack was running on his "character and judgement". If he gets "carried away in the moment" by Access Hollywood wanting to interview his daughters then what kind of self-control will he have when the shit really hits the fan?

bearbee said...

My barf alert went off when I saw a 5 second promo of the interview.

phx said...

Some of you folks REALLY believe that admitting to a small lapse in judgment like this calls into question his ability to show proper judgment during the 3:00 am call? Here's a clue: EVERY human on earth makes many small mistakes and lapses in judgment all the time - and it doesn't say anything about how they will perform under real pressure. It just goes with the territory of being human. There are no perfect people when it comes to managing the small stuff, and the one's who are closest are probably so anal that you wouldn't really want them to be a President anyway.
The point that he may be pandering by backtracking, however is a different issue, and might have more merit IMO. But to say that candidates owning up to small misjudgments on the campaign trail and owning up to them is prima facie evidence that they have a character problem is totally silly.

m00se said...

Crikeys.

The cult of personality around the Obama's is truely amazing. As pointed out earlier, there have been a number of children in the White House, and how they have been treated was a reflection of how their father's administration was precieved by the press.

This is just another manifestation of "Obama - isn't he just dreamy?"-itis.

PS - Ann seems to have gotten the bug as well...

Balfegor said...

Okay, I thought Barack was running on his "character and judgement". If he gets "carried away in the moment" by Access Hollywood wanting to interview his daughters then what kind of self-control will he have when the shit really hits the fan?

Come on. He's just lying to you. That was one long moment to get carried away in, seeing as they probably had to set up all the cameras and do make-up and so on. I wouldn't worry -- he's being duplicitous, not foolish.

Roger J. said...

The JFK presidency also had a comedian, Vaughn Meador, who did parody's of the first family. (Needless to say his whole act died along with the President on Nov 22,1963). I wonder who might be a suitable comic to parody the Obama family in the White House--if that comes to pass.

Roger J. said...

The whole Obama phenomena suggests to me that BDS has resulted in some kind of mass hysteria among what I hope will be a sufficiently small part of the electorate. I don't recall seeing this fawning coverage of any candidate, including Clean Gene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy in my time. The Obama thing offers vivid proof how demagogues can rise to power.

George said...

It's the Kennedy thing.

The kids will be on the covers of People, Us, Family Fun, the Enquirer. They'll be everywhere!!

What are they eating? What are they wearing? What shows to they watch? Do they have Club Penguin accounts? When do they go to bed? Who's the disiplinarian--Mom or Dad? What are their personalities?

Children in the White House!!! Tots!!

Great photo story, and a great way to win over white female voters aged 18-39.

Pastor_Jeff said...

The campaign sought out the interview, arranged it for the b'day party, the kids had make-up.

Obama says it wasn't supposed to be a family interview -- except the girls were already mic'ed up? Riiiiight.

Really, the interview seems like no big deal at all. So why lie and backtrack about something that's not that important? That's what's interesting here.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't recall any extended interviews of Carolyn or John John when the Kennedys were in office or on the campaign trail. Yes it was charming to see the young children and hear a bit about them, but those were the good old days when people (read the press) were not so intrusive and down right mean.

It seems that Obama wants to have it both ways. Push the wife and children out front...ok. That's his perogative. They seem like Ok kids. But he brooks no comments or criticism of the wife and childern. I can certainly understand the desire to bring his family portrait front and center as it does emphasize his youth compared to McCain, however there is just something unseemly about using your children as props.

Personally, as a parent, I think it a very bad idea to give children an inflated idea of their own importance.

ricpic said...

The Garrison Keillor quote about the father of a daughter being nothing but a high class hostage is pretty damn good and I say that as a GK hater.


Where I live, on a country road, there are no, zero, nada kids and it's creepy. The world needs kids, no doubt about it.

rhhardin said...

When hubris appears, can kudos be far behind.

rhhardin said...

Americans felt a tremendous amount of pleasure seeing the beautiful wife and the adorable children there.

Women, not Americans.

Guys exhibited complete indifference.

AJ Lynch said...

I only saw a few seconds of the clip but thought it was weird the way Obama was rubbing the young daughter's arm.

Obama lacks trure self-confidence folks. There was no need to backtrack on the decision to give the interview. It was innocuous and really nothing so why is he stepping back when the media blows it up?

blake said...

Everything
She sees
She says she wants

Everything
She wants
I see she gets

That's my daughter
In the water
Everything she owns
I bought her
(Everything she owns)

That's my daughter
In the water
Everything she knows
I taught her
(Everything she knows)


"Daughter", Peter Blegvad

blake said...

And while I agree with the sentiment, it's probably more necessary to turn that "stone face" to your daughters, lest they grow up figuring that all men are chumps.

They are, of course, but that's no way to live.

paul a'barge said...

I'm with you.

Pretty much everything is going to suck bilge water when Barak Hussein Obama moves in to the White House, but having cute, intelligent daughters running around the place will be nice for a change.

Balfegor said...

Pretty much everything is going to suck bilge water when Barak Hussein Obama moves in to the White House, but having cute, intelligent daughters running around the place will be nice for a change.

Yes, they're still at an age when it could be charming if they do embarassing things like run through the hallways of a hotel with their clothes off. Although they'll be pushing it if their father somehow manages to get a second term.

Middle Class Guy said...

"Children are an important part of the world. They have something to contribute to the culture before they grow up. They shouldn't be entirely hidden away in family and school enclaves..."

I whole heartily agree.

gophermomeh said...

For the most part, I thought it charming, as well. I think the girls are young enough to still be in that "cute" age. A little older, like Amy and Chelse, they become targets, for some reason.

MM, your right on with the tween girl/dad...look out, it lasts a while. Our 20 year old still has the touch.

montana urban legend said...

Oh! It's just so powerful to see a couple of well-adjusted, intelligent and gregarious kids.

That comment reminds me of when Alison Stewart began a segment on Michelle Obama by noting mainstream media's fascination "with the concept of a strong, well-educated black professional woman who speaks her mind." She then gave some perspective by clarifying, "in my family, we call that normal."

blake said...

Yes, they're still at an age when it could be charming if they do embarassing things like run through the hallways of a hotel with their clothes off. Although they'll be pushing it if their father somehow manages to get a second term.

Nah. The Press will cover for them as assiduously as they attack the current first family. From your link, with emphasis added:

One tabloid headline had the young women running nude in the hallway of their hotel, a report the hotel staff denied to ABC News.

Official response from the US Embassy in Argentina:

We have seen a report from news sources stating that Embassy officials strongly suggested that President Bush’s daughters curtail their visit in Argentina.

This is false, as are other aspects of the report referring to the Embassy’s position on the visit.


They'll just discard whatever rumors they don't like, just like they always do.

Methadras said...

Obama's blatant need to be viewed as a Kennedyesque figure as a means to brand himself as the next young Kennedy is shameful to say the least. It's transparent and cheap, which is really in line with the type of man that he is. If you put the pieces together, you can see that this is the modus operandi of this man and his PR staff. First the access hollywood bit, second is his insistence that he make a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, third is his total narcissism coming into the fold by holding his acceptance rally at a nearby stadium.

Now Sullivan is having a gay frenzy in his disappointment in the Obamunists need to for self-aggrandizement and to cater to his malignant narcissism. Leave it to Sullivan to ferret this out. Hey fancy pants Sullivan, while you are reading this blog, why don't you explain to us your prurient love affair with your Lord and Master. How did you get so low in your groveling to have the veneer and sheen of your God start to strip and dull to this point? Was it the gold-plated knee pads he sent you with a key to his zipper?

Bruce Hayden said...

I note the contrast between the Obamas and the McCains here. The later have three children who are adults, or at least close to it. You can probably imagine the two boys in uniform with the parents at an event. No chicken hawks in that family. But you likely won't see it, because their parents are trying to protect them from this sort of thing.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Now Sullivan is having a gay frenzy in his disappointment in the Obamunists need to for self-aggrandizement...Hey fancy pants Sullivan, while you are reading this blog, why don't you explain to us your prurient love affair with your Lord and Master...Was it the gold-plated knee pads he sent you with a key to his zipper?

Lovely.

Sullivan is one of the most annoying crybabies, who just happens to be a grown man, that I know. But this has nothing do with his sexual orientation. Lame and cheap shot.

P.S. For everyone claiming that the interview was staged because they were mic'd and had make-up on...please. Unless you were there, be quiet.

veni vidi vici said...

I'm not so much older that I can't say this, so I will: what I wouldn't give to see the Bush twins running nude down a hotel hallway... *sigh*

Methadras said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Lovely.

Sullivan is one of the most annoying crybabies, who just happens to be a grown man, that I know. But this has nothing do with his sexual orientation. Lame and cheap shot.


Sullivan is a fawning, effete snob that puts his sexual orientation on display at almost every opportunity as a means to silence those that upon knowing his orientation wouldn't dare criticize him because of it. A grown man in name only. He doesn't know the first thing about being a man. Spare me the histrionics.

Bobby Meachum's Aunt said...

Which one of them is Rudi?

I get all of those nice Huxtable children mixed up.

Randy said...

You didn't see anything like this when Kennedy was President because Jacqueline Kennedy reportedly forbade it. The infamous pictures of Caroline and John Kennedy playing in the White House (with John crawling out from under his father's desk) were reportedly taken while Mrs. Kennedy was in another country.

Zachary Paul Sire: You might want to check and see what the folks at "Access Hollywood" said about who called who and who asked for what to be covered before telling everyone else to shut up.

Amerigo Vespucci said...

I once a saw a the infante of Spain when I wenta there to beg for coin for my voyage. She was most comely. Such a sad end.

Kirk Parker said...

"Why is he conceding that his judgment is so poor?"

A rare moment of unguarded candor?

Don't worry, it won't happen very often.

Spread Eagle said...

I'm actually a little put off by Obama's expressions of regret about doing the show .... Why is he conceding that his judgment is so poor?

I'm thinking that the both the Access Hollywood appearance with the children AND the immediate announcement afterward that it was a mistake and would be happening again were both carefully and calculatingly rendered. This is Obama having it both ways. He's good at it too.

rastajenk said...

Do people still get gobsmacked? How can one take a person seriously if that person is capable of being gobsmacked?

Al Swearengen said...

If he wants it both ways thats two dollars extra. Half price for the gimp.

Padre Steve said...

Obama is up to his ears in bad decisions and mess-ups. The media have covered for him very well so far. Will they do this after his coronation? We are in for a tough 4 years...

Spread Eagle said...

4 years? Can he make it to November? That's the question.

Trochilus said...

Oh, please Ann. He obviously wanted it both ways.

I don't fault him for that, incidentally. But he really deserves exposure for being so calculating!

He is a politician who has been very successful at convincing a significant percentage of people who focus on him that he is an earnest and forthright public figure, who has somehow risen above politics.

So, it is a little frustrating when very intelligent people do not see through that facade.

He wanted to have all those who respond favorably to the charm of cute young children to hear them speak. And, he also knew that there is a percentage of people who do not like to witness public figures taking advantage of their children by exposing them to public view.

By openly expressing his "second thoughts" about the interview, he calculated he would win some of those folks in the second category back.

And he is no doubt correct in that assumption.

Anil Petra said...

Maria Menounos spends a bit too much time in makeup and fitting for any event she's a part of to be "spontaneous".

It does suggest an unhealthy crush afflicts this married man. That's how Menounos gets all her "exclusive" interviews -- celebrity and prurient appeal. So in which does Obama's compulsion live? Or both?

Jim_J said...

The access Hollywood interview is no different from the campaign event Obama had in Indiana when he suddenly trotted out his daughters and the older one implored to crowd to "vote for my daddy."

At that time he was pulling out all the stops because Hillary was hot on his heels.

I can never trust a politician who conveniently trots out his children for effect.

MontJoie said...

Why the hell is Sullivan always "gob-smacked?" What does that even mean? Does it involve lubricants?

Rocker 419 said...

Looks like Ann is getting into the Kool-Aid. How nice. I can't wait to start reading this blog when she realizes what a snake Obama is. Take off your bliners Ann!

Outis said...

I wouldn't worry -- he's being duplicitous, not foolish.

That would be the character part of it.

But to say that candidates owning up to small misjudgments on the campaign trail and owning up to them is prima facie evidence that they have a character problem is totally silly.

Three points.

(1) What you describe isn't a character issue, it's a judgement issue.

(2) Obama is the one who has decided that he should be judged on his superior judgement. He has invited exactly this kind of critique.

(3) Obama has bigger judgement issues than just this.

(a) There is the Reverend Wright issue, where he listened to an extremist minister for 20 years without objection.

(b) There is the Iraq Surge issue: he opposed it on the basis that it would never work. Well, it is working. Therefore his judgement on that issue (and on the Iraq issue more broadly) is called into question.

(c) Then we have the FISA bill. He was against it before, and now he is for it. He had this issue wrong at least once!

Relly, the issue with the Access Hollywood interview is that it is part of a much larger pattern.

PatCA said...

Don't bother arguing about this today; he'll change his mind tomorrow.

I wonder why goofy outfit will finally sink his campaign, like the hazmat suit on Kerry and the tank helmet on Dukakis? Hmmmm...

chuck b. said...

Obama's fakeness is so facile.

How much longer do we have to pretend that it isn't?

Give me a fucking break!

JohnTaylor88 said...

Why is Andrew Sullivan such a whiny primadonna?

Quixotic said...

Seeing the Kennedy kids was "sublime"? There's something a bit disturbing about that remark.

Politics is ultimately about the question of the proper uses of physical coercion. To that end, we should select political leaders with good judgment, and to do that, we must know something of their characters.

But there's something vaguely un-American about seeing the President and his family as the embodiment of all that is true and good, and delighting in the President's family. We don't need uber-leaders; we can take care of ourselves. And sometimes the President is just a jerk who knows little and thinks much of himself, as Kennedy was and Obama would be.

Suzannah Speaks said...

I think you are making too much about this. I think that you are not a parent. It was July 4th. It was his oldest daughter's birthday. The family was relaxed and happy. It was spur of the moment. Upon reflection, Senator Obama took a more cautious stance, appropriate for the age in which we live, his political visibility, and the emotional well-being of his daughters. Most parents have these "get caught up in the moment," times, from which they then retreat a bit. Cut the man some slack, OK?

Helen Cadogan said...

Obama's got gorgeous kids. Nevertheless, I can't help thinking that these two beautiful girls are the same children he subjected to Jeremiah Wright's racist rants for all of their lifetime. Going by what their father has written and by what their mother has said, these sweet faces may well be the modern day version of Hitler jugend. It pains me to say that, but they've had a lifetime of Wright, Michelle, and Barack. What these kids really think, I don't know if I want to know.

rhhardin said...

When did candor lose its original meaning, namely seeing only the good in people.

Jane Austen

``I would wish not to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what I think.''

``I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affection of candor is common enough -- one meets it everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design -- to take the good of everybody's character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad -- belongs to you alone. And so you like this man's sisters too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his.''


Bumper sticker of the day: Whomever controls language, controls politics.

MadisonMan said...

I don't recall any extended interviews of Carolyn or John John when the Kennedys were in office or on the campaign trail.

Well that's a ridiculous statement. Who is going to interview a 3-year-old?

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gophermomeh said...

Humility requires that you see things as they are. So, it's no crime to see the good in others.

Richard Dolan said...

People want to know that the fellow they are thinking of electing president is, at some basic level, a normal guy who can be trusted to do the right thing. This homey stuff has its place, and every candidate for public office does some of it. Here as elsewhere Sullivan manages to miss the obvious, as he goes off on some weird tanget or another with increasing regularity.

It's all well and good to say that children have a lot to contribute, are a major part of the culture and shouldn't be hidden away or overprotected. All true. But politics puts its spin on all of that too, and the context here is obviously political. As Ann was saying a day or two ago about those posters in Florida that twisted Rockwellian themes to a different purpose, the same "snark, cynicism and sadness" twists those homey values and images making them viewed differently today than they were when JFK was playing with his kids in the White House (yes, I'm old enough to remember too). Then it was all "aren't they cute, such a nice family." Today there's still some of that, but mixed it with a lot of "who are they kidding, what fakery." There are many reasons for the change in how these images are viewed, some related to how the art of political campaigning has changed. But the fact that today's audience grew up in a TV-saturated culture where fakery, self-referential irony and cynicism are the norm, while the audience of 1960 had not, is a big part of it.

Mitch H. said...

So Ann, have you started badgering your sons for grandchildren? Because this post comes off awfully...

Needy.

And if you feel the need to have unsupervised rug-rats crawling all over the landscape, you need to move down-market a bit. I live in a smallish white-trash town full of rampaging kneebiters. It can be an overrated experience.

And, as irritating as Sullivan can be, I have to back him up here on the "celebrity is a toxin" thing. No-one who loves their children should let them near the business end of a television camera.

The Exalted said...

Okay, I thought Barack was running on his "character and judgement". If he gets "carried away in the moment" by Access Hollywood wanting to interview his daughters then what kind of self-control will he have when the shit really hits the fan?

heh. this captures the level of discourse in this thread nicely.

Methadras said...

Well, hasn't the discussion about Obama always been about his lack of experience, characterizations, and judgements? This detour into tabloid television notwithstanding that charge already? If the man regrets putting his kids in front of a camera and then goes on a morning show with Matt Lauer to say he won't do it again, then what is the message here? That the tabloid show was beneath the dignity of his family and his regret on tabloid morning program to denounce it is somehow high morals?

The Exalted said...

good morning america is a tabloid show where you live? interesting.

bigger question would be why anyone on earth cares.

vbspurs said...

You don't think they were sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?

A politician, especially one running for the Presidency, should be able to show himself in familiar terms, with his family around him.

It humanises the man, and actually, I thought the kiddie segment on Access Hollywood was delightful. Anyone catch their mention of going to the Dairy Queen?

(Possibly to counter the Whole Foods arugula stigma, but it sounded natural)

However, JUST ONCE, I'd like to see Obama do something, or be on someone's side, and immediately when criticism pours in, not to turncoat and run.

Oh God, it's ridiculous.

He's not a flip-flopper so much as yella.

Cheers,
Victoria

kwo said...

Most parents have these "get caught up in the moment," times, from which they then retreat a bit. Cut the man some slack, OK?

Exactly. It's just like the Cyrus' little daughter being photographed for Vanity Fair. They didn't have any control over that situation either.