On Tuesday evening I watched both President Obama’s State of the Union Address, and the Republican response by Representative Paul Ryan. Both speeches were well prepared and delivered. Ryan had the difficult job of following the President with a speech from the House Budget Committee room.
What struck me even in the first minute of Paul Ryan’s speech was an unfortunate artifact of how he was televised. He was looking straight into the camera, probably at a teleprompter in front of the lens. The close-up view of him as a “talking head” emphasized his repeatedly raised eyebrows and furrowed forehead, as shown above. After two minutes I began concentrating more on his delivery than on his message, and even started counting the number of furrows.
It reminded me of Kevin Trudeau, who lately does infomercials that peddle books about things that “they” don’t want you to know about (because they aren’t true). I don’t know how Kevin manages to keep his eyebrows raised that much (and that often). His messages and style have been parodied by Mad TV. Does anybody actually believe that Kevin traveled 5-million miles and interviewed over 5000 "real" doctors in order to write that Natural Cures book?
Bill O’Reilly of Fox News also raises his eyebrows a lot. However, he doesn’t keep them up for as long, so that habit is less noticeable.