Would George Washington Have Used a Selfie Stick?

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This is exactly what the American Revolution would have been like if Instagram existed in 1776. (Painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, selfie revisionism by New York Magazine.)

In Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting of George Washington’s trip across the Delaware River, the general gazes across the icy waves, thinking deep thoughts about war and freedom, how ungodly cold it is, and how amazing he looks posing like that.

Washington was probably not thinking about how many likes a selfie of said scene could have earned on Instagram, according to a column published on Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.

After informing his readers that our first president wouldn’t even shake hands with his constituents — “George Washington did not shake hands as president and would grip the hilt of his sword to avoid having his flesh pressed” — Bret Stephens explains President Obama’s latest failure to live up to the George standard. It took place during an interview with BuzzFeed.

So it was that, hours after the U.S. confirmed the murder of Kayla Jean Mueller at the hands of Islamic State, Mr. Obama filmed a short video for BuzzFeed, striking poses in a mirror, donning aviator shades, filming himself with a selfie stick and otherwise inhabiting a role that a chaster version of Miley Cyrus might have played had Hannah Montana been stuck in the White House after a sleepover with the Obama girls.

Stephens was not alone in seeing the president’s use of a selfie stick as one of the low points in American history. The Pioneer Press, a newspaper in Minnesota, briefly captioned a photo of the president holding the selfie stick: “A fool-proof way to make yourself look like a self-absorbed assclown.” 

This is also not the first time that George Washington has been brought back from the dead to cast aspersions on the 21st century. It turns out that George Washington would have hated Edward Snowden and the tea party. He would have never apologized. According to Chuck Norris, “George Washington wouldn’t have completely undermined the very heart and soul of the military as Obama did” in regards to the Bowe Bergdahl exchange. Most important, he would have had serious reservations about the American Dental Association.