Coincidences, Obama, SBY, iPad and Weatherproof

There are those, lets call them cynics, who believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence but Unspun believes that they happen all the time and that there is nothing mysterious or profound about them.

Take, for instance, accusations from critics and wits on Twitter that SBY has become the pitchman for Apple’s IPad, just because he used an iPad instead of a teleprompter or good old-fashioned paper to read his speech two days ago. The cynics would suggest that SBY, if he was not a pitchman for Apple, need not display his iPad so prominently.

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The cynics would also say that the timing was suspect, coinciding with the day the iPad went on sale in Apple stores in Indonesia. They would also cite another occasion where the president was posing for a photo (and published by with an iPad as further proof that he was doing a job for Jobs.

Nothing of that sort. In fact that occassion was what probably started SBY into the path of iPad-dom. Says ITpopular:

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) began using the iPad after getting a unique gift during his visit to Toronto, Canada last July 2010. The gift were given by Richard Greene, author of “Words That Shook The World – Addendum: The 1st Decade of the 21st Century” a book that contains one of his speeches during a visit to Harvard University,  not in printed book but in a digital format that has been incorporated into the iPad, a popular computer tablet made by Apple’s.

Some cynics question whether the President is so ingenuous that he had to hold the iPad as if he was displaying a product. To this Unspun would say that there are those who are much more image savvy than him that was caught “pitching” for products.

Take Obama, for instance. He inadvertently became the pitchman for outerwear company Weatherproof.

The ad came about  after the company purchsed and used Associated Press photographer Charles Dharapak’s photo of Obama in China. Here’s the AP story giving the lowdown on what happened:

NEW YORK (AP) — A larger-than-life President Barack Obama became a presidential pitchman Wednesday on a Times Square billboard that used his photo without permission.

Outerwear company Weatherproof used a recent news photo of the president in front of the Great Wall in Badaling, China, for the advertisement, with the tagline “A Leader In Style.”

The White House said Wednesday that it will ask Weatherproof to remove the billboard because the ad misleads by suggesting it was approved by Obama or the White House, which has a long-standing policy disapproving of the use of Obama’s name and likeness for commercial purposes.

Obama stands alone in the image and is captured in a striking, rugged pose. Weatherproof president Freddie Stollmack said he first saw the photo in a newspaper while Obama was on his trip to China in November. The coat looked familiar, so Stollmack got out a magnifying glass and found the brand’s logo.

The photo was taken by Charles Dharapak of The Associated Press and the company purchased the right to use it from AP Images, the newsgathering organization’s commercial photo arm. The AP agreement with Weatherproof required the company to seek any necessary clearances, said Paul Colford, a spokesman for TheAP.

But Weatherproof did not seek permission from the White House, and Stollmack said he did not believe it was necessary to do so since the billboard does not say Obama endorses the product.

And before the cynics can say anything more Unspun should point out that its pure coincidence that the photographer has strong ties with Indonesia.

So you see this world is full of coincidences and Black Swans. Cynics will see conspiracies and attribute sinister motives to every coincidence.

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