Images of these events in the Pandemic Age may too often look like hallucinations of a dystopian future, with all the black-pant-legged humanoids standing on socially-distanced place-markers (are they waiting for the transporter to beam them up?) while media captions burble incongruously about “family photos.” But now and then a human moment pushes through.
One such moment was the “reveal” of Dr. Jill Biden’s lettered jacket, worn over a black and white print dress and bearing the word “LOVE” on the back. The blazer jacket, executed in cotton, was meant by Dr. Jill to send a message; i.e., love. (It can be obtained here for the discount price of $139.00.)
Jill Biden showed up to meet British PM Boris Johnson and his wife wearing a jacket with "LOVE" embroidered on the back.
"We're trying to bring unity across the globe," she said pic.twitter.com/qnUXdJUgUv
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) June 10, 2021
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Answering questions from media, Dr. Jill said, “I think that we’re bringing love from America. I think that, uh, this is a global conference and we’re, uh, trying to bring unity across the globe, and I think that that’s important right now. That people feel a sense of unity for all the countries, and feel a sense of hope after this year of the pandemic.”
A fine sentiment. The more comprehensive humanity of the moment was captured in the many (many) comparisons made with Melania Trump and her olive-hued utility jacket inscribed with “I really don’t care Do U?” a few years ago.
Jill Biden wears jacket with word “LOVE” on back as the Bidens + Johnsons meet – immediately invoking comparisons with Melania Trump’s controversial jacket with the words “I really don’t care” in 2018 #G7 pic.twitter.com/UurTDS6NN9
— Suzanne Lynch (@suzannelynch1) June 10, 2021
Feel free to read the comments at both tweets for more humanity on parade.
The New York Times, always on the bow wave of social commentary, picked up the story immediately. Much less remarked was the fact that we went through all this back in 2019, when Dr. Jill wore her LOVE jacket on the campaign trail, and the same comparison was made to Melania’s utility jacket.
Jill Biden’s “LOVE” jacket vs Melania Trump’s famous “I Really Don’t Care – Do You?” jacket pic.twitter.com/h04L2YHspW
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) May 18, 2019
Edward-Isaac Dovere noted at the time that Dr. Jill’s jacket is “bedazzled” with the word LOVE in gold. The comments at his 2019 tweet thread are awash in humanity.
For a refreshing break from the tide of humanity, we turn to Queen Elizabeth II, who delighted summiteers and media alike with a pithy question during the head of state photo shoot.
A joke made by Queen Elizabeth caused G7 leaders to break into laughter as they posed for a photo together. 'Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?' the Queen asked as photographers clicked away https://t.co/eUlyUcDExx pic.twitter.com/SkmLiIdC0H
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 12, 2021
Said Reuters: “A joke made by Queen Elizabeth caused G7 leaders to break into laughter as they posed for a photo together. ‘Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?’ the Queen asked as photographers clicked away.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained tidily in character, actually responding to this sally and noting that the G7 dignitaries had indeed been enjoying themselves.
The 95-year-old Queen then went her joke one better, and elected to make a ceremonial cut in the summit cake using a sword. Elizabeth declined the use of a knife, observing that it would be more unusual to do it with the sword. She and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, between them were able to puncture the cake and end up with a very respectable cut.
Queen Elizabeth II insisted on cutting a cake using a ceremonial sword at an event on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2021
Note: Camilla’s formal title is Duchess of Cornwall — one of the titles Prince Charles bears — and for obvious reasons she was prominent in hospitality moments in Cornwall.
The Queen proved her chops in the fine tradition of Ginger Rogers, of whom it was said that she did everything Fred Astaire did, but backward and in high heels. Numerous kibitzers from the Twitter gallery have noted that the Queen made her cut with the sword upside down, and thus with the blunt side of the blade. (Indeed, when Camilla added her two hands to the effort, she was pressing downward dangerously close to the sharp edge.)
But in such a performance, that’s a feature, not a bug. Indeed, when the Queen does it, nothing is really a bug. The cake ended up well and truly cut, and we would expect nothing less.
The summit, we are told, also involves discussing a number of policy issues.