Look of shame: scandalized politicians give their best guilty face

Images via New York Times City Room Blogs. Clockwise from top left: Richard Perry / The New York Times; Keith Meyers for the New York Times; Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times; Stephen Crowley/The New York Times; Greg Gibson/Associated Press; Associated PressImages via New York Times City Room Blogs. Clockwise from top left: Richard Perry / The New York Times; Keith Meyers …Lips pursed, eyes down, head hung low. Anthony Weiner knows the drill. And after seeing so many politicians give the "yup, I cheated face", we do too.

[UPDATE: Weiner's expression was even guiltier than we thought. His wife Huma Abedin is pregnant, according to multiple news outlets.]


Today, The New York Times made the astute observation that the guilty expression crosses party lines.


At Monday's press conference, when Congressman Weiner fessed up to online sexting exchanges with multiple women, he took a cue from Clinton, Spitzer, Lee, McGreevey, Ensign, et al, and assumed the position.

Today, the Times' City Room Blog called on Dan Hill, author of "Emotionomics" to interpret the facial cues that say a mouthful without making a sound. The gist: "Sorry, I f---ed up."

Hill explains: "Lips pursed and pulled tight is a sign of anger...Eyes and head down both correspond to sadness, i.e., disappointment in oneself...The chin raiser, where the chin boss pushes upward, causing the lower lip to push upward, could also be called an upside-down smile. It's a muscle movement implicated in expressions of anger, disgust and sadness. Clearly, these scandals are (sometimes fatally) poisonous to the politicians' careers. It's as if the whiff of scandal tastes bad to them."

It's all so specific, it almost seemed coached. And based on Weiner's exchanges with one of his online mistresses, Ginger Lee, public relations coaching is a last-ditch lifeline in political sex scandals.

So we wonder, is it a political maneuver or an involuntary muscle movement? If it is a naturally occurring phenomenon, we've got another question. Is this really the look a man who regrets his actions or the look a man who regrets that his actions were found out?

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