Selfies have become a political gesture in the digital age

March 23, 2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

By G. Michael Dobbs

    Some scattered thoughts from a busy week.
I have a couple of observations about the Sen. Elizabeth Warren appearance in Springfield.  First, while I think this kind of event is a good one to actually maintain some relationship with the voters, I can’t help but think that having something once a year is too little.

Granted Warren gets a gold star pasted into her grade book for the fact that she actually does this kind of meet and greet. Did the late Ted Kennedy ever do something like this? How often did Kennedy make it out here to the hinterlands?

I don’t mean to pick on Kennedy. You can go down the list of senators and governors for that matter to see how many just showed up on a semi-regular basis.

We’re a small state. How do senators from California, New York or Texas handle personal interaction with constituents? Or in this age of social media, do they not worry about old-fashioned question and answer sessions?

Here is my second thought. The Warren event lasted just under an hour. The question and answer section was perhaps a half hour. Then the senator took the time to pose for selfies with anyone in attendance. Now my astute friend Matt Szafranski explained to me that in this digital age this is something elected officials can do that constitutes a “personal touch.”

    I get it, but I just wish she had spent more time on the issues.

Snow, snow, snow
    I had expected a scene out of a classic Universal horror film from the 1930s when I went to the Springfield City Council subcommittee meeting asking questions about the snow cleanup job from the last storm. You know, enraged townspeople with torches, pitchforks and clubs.

Instead there was a group of reasonable people asking pointed questions about what everyone though was a pretty sloppy reaction to the latest storm.

The questions were pointed and Chris Cignoli of the Department of Public Works answered many. His assertion that at the end of the plowing the main roads were in “excellent shape” and the side roads were in “very very good condition” was not received well.

Springfield has a system in which the city is divided into 20 plowing districts, each with an inspector. Here is my question: who the hell inspected my neighborhood? I want the person’s name. Seriously.

If the final approval is left up to 20 people, all of us should know who they are and when they certify a district is completed. Then residents should know how to contact them to correct what they believe are still problems.

The removal of snow is not easy in an old city with a lot of narrow 19th Century streets and with residents who refuse to move their cars during a parking ban. I feel Cignoli’s pain. There must be a better way, though, in addressing storms such as the one we had.

It’s simple: preserve the depot
    East Longmeadow has a dandy old train depot building and the Community Preservation Committee is seeking a way to ensure the building stays in town and is properly redeveloped.

This is good news as the history the depot represents provides a physical link to the town’s past.  I’m hopeful the parties involved with the depot – its owner and the town – can come to some accord to preserve the structure.

Hide the razor
    Okay I must end with the latest completely stupid Internet controversy: the absence of Wonder Woman’s armpit hair.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The new trailer for the Wonder Woman film was released and to this fanboy it looks pretty great. There is one scene in which the actress playing the Amazon superhero raises her arm and she lacks armpit hair.

Some people on the Web thought that was horrible because a feminist heroine such as her would not bow down to that artificial beauty convention.

A point of fact: as far as I can tell armpit hair was never a part of the way she was drawn.

With everything going on in this world I was astonished that anyone noticed such a detail and that anyone would interpret this as some sort of affront to feminism.

And no doubt this is will the subject for which I’ll get flamed!

I have no idea how my publishers or advertisers will view the issue of Worder Woman’s under arm hair but my opinions are mine alone. I’m happy to learn yours. Send me an email at

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wrote on 4/2/2017 at 5:54:01 AM

Too, I feel your own pain about snow removal.  On my street, many ppl can't be bothered to move their cars.  They're the same people who litter and don't clean up their dogs' waste on the tree belts.


indeed, originally, Wonder Woman wasn't drawn with armpit hair.  I'm a feminist too and I've always shaved. Mainly for reasons of hygiene and to not smell bad.  Body hair just isn't attractive- on both men & women.  Period.