people love to shake hands of famous people. to see them ‘in person.’ ‘i shook the presidents hand’ does not usually illicit the response, ‘yeah, but i saw him on tv.’ (although i have heard this in regards to sporting events before.) we are obsessed with this physical contact because it allows us to put physical limits on that person. yup- flesh and bones, just like me. we start to become doubting thomas’ and we want to feel the wound. a handshake is the death of the image. but our president shakes hands because we don’t want a god, a spirit, as our power vehicle. he is not above us, but chosen by us. a handshake implies and equality between those shaking hands.
but, of course, more important than that is who is NOT shaking hands. the president is limited by his body and how many hands he really could shake and so there is a whole economy built around it (illustrated in full color by the price of sleeping at the white house). the advantage for all of the hand-shakers is the obvious advantage that they are the hand-shakers. they have been included. chosen as important enough. by telling people you shook the president’s hand, what you are really telling them is not that the president is human like me, but that i am an image (like the president) and you are human. why would you tell someone you shook the president’s hand if they were there, they saw you, and they did too.
from the president’s end then, shaking hands is the ultimate showing of his physicality and weakness. kings chosen by god didn’t shake anyone’s hand, except those they feared. the president needs the power hungry orgy of hand-shakes because it is those power mongers whom he needs for real physical power. try shaking no one’s hand and see how far you get as a politician. we don’t need secret handshakes anymore. the mass media to physicality provides a nice demand to supply ratio upon which we can build an economy of inclusion/exclusion. are you included in the image or excluded as one of the masses?
but with the internet… fuck the internet. “i shook helen’s hand today?” “who’s helen?” (damn, my whole god status ruined with one simple question) “she’s got a webcam on her home-page at UIUC.” “oh”
we will never get over our desire to limit someone by shaking their hand until we get over our desire to participate in an economy based on such limits. when we are willing to not build our selves up into spirits through exclusion. when you enjoy shaking everyone’s hand as an equal then there will be no one to brag to. this will happen simultaneously as we turn to a gift economy, replant the world with flowers, and spend every day in communion with our fellow man. (please note my sarcasm)
the largest question of power (and therefore capitalism and any form of economy or politics) is how to preserve, continue, and expand exclusion under the guise of inlusion. expanding limits.