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Mixed Health Signals from the Half-Naked President-Elect

You know it’s a slow news day when a photo of Barack Obama shirtless in Hawaii makes the front page of The Huffington Post. But you know what they say: no news is good news. No terrorist attacks, plane crashes, or giant corporation closing its doors? That’s a good day.

So let’s take the lull as an opportunity to dig a little deeper and find out what message our future President is conveying here. Because, like it or not, at this moment he is the most visible role model in the world.

Photo by Bauer Griffin.

What’s the first thing that hits me? Man, this guy is in good shape! The second thing? This is the President? Seriously, when was the last time we had a president with abs like that?* The press should have nicknamed him Joe Six-pack!

But look a little closer, and what do we see?

Oh, say it ain’t so, Joe! Bottled water? I’m disappointed, Mr. President-Elect. The message now becomes: Hey, kids! Want to be healthy and look great in a swimsuit like Barack Obama? Exercise for 45 minutes every morning and drink plenty of Aquafina (or Poland Springs, or whatever the hell).

Let me get one thing out of the way: I don’t drink bottled water. Never have. And the reason is this: I am cheap. Why would I pay 2 bucks a pop for something that gets piped into my home for free? It’s ludicrous. The height of decadence. I refuse to be a part of it.

There are other considerations, of course. The poor communities that get their blue gold piped literally out from under them without compensation, the chemicals in the plastic, the petroleum used, the mountains of waste, the energy involved in their manufacture and transport…

Photo by Brett Weinstein.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I expect more from our half-naked President-Elect.


*Mm, maybe Hamilton.

Dennis Pacheco is the Web Editorial Assistant and cartoonist-in-residence at Chelsea Green. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he majored in cartooning. He lives in downtown White River Junction with his partner, Robyn, and their cat, Marty McFly.

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