The Condi Smile

I’ll leave the punditry to the proper authorities, but I did notice something interesting about Condi Rice’s testimony today before the 9/11 commission. I listened to most of it on NPR as it was happening, but also saw TV excerpts on Lehrer this evening. And she came off way worse on camera than she did audio-only. Mainly it was her smile, which tried to say “I’m just a congenial bureaucrat trying to be helpful, here,” but seemed forced and often insincere — especially since it broadened when she was the most stressed-out. That stress was much more evident on the screen, too. On the radio none of that was evident, and she sounded fine. Oh, plus there was the whole shellac hairdo thing, but it’s hardly fair to single her out on that count. Certainly not in this town.