Re: Paul Ryan’s Head

I know this is old news, coming as it does on the heels of the second Presidential debate, but I’ve been obsessing lately about the head-bobbing mannerism that Paul Ryan exhibited during last week’s Vice Presidential debate.

Some have characterized Ryan’s trademark head maneuver as bobble-head like, and indeed a Paul Ryan bobble-head doll does exist.

Clark Toys actually makes “bobble-head” toys of all the high-profile political candidates, but Ryan is in the unfortunate position of being a particularly apt subject for this kind of toy. (See also: bobble-head doll syndrome)

With this in mind, I somehow got it into my head to take a crack at capturing Ryan’s side-to-side head movement in an endlessly looping animate gif.

Everyone has their personal idiosyncrasies and it’s not really my intention to mock the congressman. What I mostly want to know is: What exactly is this movement meant to express?

A form of emphasis, I suppose, moving the head from side to side while maintaining eye contact, as if to underscore some particularly persuasive argument. The trouble is, as body language, the underlying message is rather predatory, I think…

Cats will often sway their head from side to side very quickly just before they pounce on their prey. This is important so that when they do pounce that they do not miss their target.

Cats have binocular vision which when they shake their head quickly allows them to accurately judge just how far away their prey is and so gives them a better chance at hitting their target.

Cat Hunting

Nothing wrong with a little binocular vision in a vice presidential candidate, but consider the optics of what programs Paul Ryan, might pounce on, were he a cat.

Vice President Biden’s laughter got more media coverage, but researching online, I find that there were others, for whom Ryan’s head was the bigger story.

(A sampling of other opinion re: Paul Ryan’s head,  follows …)

whats with paul ryan’s sassy head bobs? I’m expecting excellent gifs tomorrow morning, internet.

Charlie @charcarturie


For all of Biden’s antics, Ryan detracted from his own performance with a kind of head-bobbing and weaving that reminded me of a kid posturing in a street brawl that he knows he’s not ready to fight.

Dallas Morning Views Blog


Was anyone else annoyed with all the head bobbing?  Guess the dude was drowning in his own lies, and barely trying to keep his head above water…

Paul Ryan Channels Lady Gaga


Paul Ryan does the Quagmire head bob a lot.

Steven Amiri


What the hell is up with Paul Ryan’s head movement? He looks like one of those nodding dashboard dogs.

Victoria Barrett, Engine Books


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