White House Gets Greetings All Wrong
Egalitarian handshake better than hugs, curtsies: Miss Manners
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jun 10, 2009 4:07 PM CDT
Michelle Obama demonstrates an intimacy with the queen that Miss Manners says is elitist since mere subjects can't do that.   (AP Photo/Daniel Hambury, pool)
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(Newser) – After watching six presidents botch greetings with their global counterparts, Miss Manners has had it. “Where is the Office of Protocol, for goodness’ sake,” Judith Martin fumes in the Washington Post. Fifty years ago, “the American huggy movement” replaced the egalitarian handshake—a gesture that made Americans feel “superior to people who had to bow down to their leaders.”

Hugging implies an elitist intimacy, Martin says, and warns that “those photographs are bound to surface when the loved one or his country does something nasty.” But the “symbolic subservience” of a curtsy or bow “to a foreign ruler is worse. When an American official does it, we can only hope it was because he was noticing that his own shoelace was undone—and not that he recognizes the divine right of kings.”