"Uh I am going to go ahead and ask, folks, why don’t we get a couple of Marines — they’re going to look good next to us — just 'cause uh uh — I wanna — I’ve got a change of suits but I don’t know about uh uh uh our prime uh our prime minister. Uh there we go. That’s good. [To the reporters:] You guys, I’m sorry about but but let let let uh uh mmm uh let me uh uh uuuuhhh make sure that I answer a specific question...."We see the rain failing on his dark suit, and maybe we think about how, yes, that's the White House in back of him and he does have his closets in there, full of suits... empty suits... skeletons in the uh uh uh... But he cares about Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who came all the way from Turkey, probably not to hear Obama grilled with uh uh uh specific questions. He's probably got another suit or 2 in his uh uh suitcase. Heh ha... suitcase... suits in suitcases... it's like gloves in the glove compartment... do you put gloves in the glove compartment... heh heh... Who puts gloves in the glove compartment? I mean... really... Gloves in the glove compartment! What an idea, am I right? Come on! That's funny, people, come on, but but let let let uh uh mmm uh let me uh uh uuuuhhh make sure that I answer a specific question....
There's something so sad about that picture. The gloved Marine answering the call of duty from the Commander in Chief, performing the duty with crisp precision, even as Obama's outstretched hand adjusted his elbow position, even as he knows it violates Marine Corps uniform regulation for a male Marine to carry an umbrella. I know that regulation from reading the WaPo's #1 most popular article. The same rule applies in all branches of the military, and always only for males, not for females:
An attempt to change the policy in the 1990s failed, with some suggesting that there was something effeminate about umbrellas.Isn't it unmanly to be very nervous, especially about being unmanly? But who were these "some" who suggested carrying an umbrella is "effeminate"? And who were these "irked conservatives"? WaPo only cites an email from the conservative Move America Forward PAC, but that's not so much expressing irritation at misuse of the Marines for umbrella duty as it is using that umbrella-holding duty as a symbol of the failure to act during the Benghazi attack. The email read — we're told — "Rain: 'Hold My Umbrella.' Benghazi: 'Stand Down.'"
“They seem to be very nervous what constitutes unmanly behavior,” said Cynthia Enloe, a professor at Clark University who researched military uniform codes in the book “Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives.”
If umbrella-holding conveys a message of unmanliness, it is a vivid image of impotence. It's a symbol.