There was an interesting article on the Guardian website about the body language between David Cameron, the new British Prime Minister, and his coalition partner and political rival Nick Clegg. With Clegg now deputy to Cameron, he was clearly in the "one down" position. Much of the article was a demonstration of how their body language revealed this dominance hierarchy. I was particularly struck by one paragraph:
"One of the litmus tests of power relations is who laughs at whom. That's because laughter serves to elevate the status of the person who manages to elicit laughter, while it reduces the status of the person who does the laughing. During the press conference Clegg made a bold attempt to be amusing when he feigned hurt and pretended to be leaving. Cameron responded with a show of embarrassment, but he didn't laugh. But when Cameron made an amusing remark, Clegg cracked up. On the surface it all looked very jolly, but the underlying purpose of the levity was to sort out their status positions."
Before paralysis set in, I turned quickly to a comforting article about the oil spill in the Gulf.