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Obama Rage Face (also known as “Not Bad” Face) is a rage comic reaction face based on a press photograph of Barack Obama wearing a sturgeon face during his official state visit to the United Kingdom in May 2011. The image is used as a positive response to a pleasant surprise or an outcome of an event that has surpassed one’s expectation, similar to the usage of “everything went better than expected” face.
On May 24th, 2011, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama paid a visit to the Queen of England at the Buckingham Palace. During the presidential couple’s first state visit to the United Kingdom, a peculiar photograph of the couple looking rather startled was taken by a Reuters photojournalist. The Obamas’ summit with the British royal family was widely covered by the British news media and the photograph was featured two days later as “Picture of the Day” by The Telegraph.
On the May 26th, 2011, Redditor joeyjoejoe99 posted a rage comic on the f7u12 subreddit called “Not Bad Obama.” The multi-pane comic strip depicted Computer Reaction Guy photoshopping the news photograph into a rage comic reaction face and being satisfied with the result, accompanied by the caption in red letters “Not Bad.” Later that day, a version of the first lady Michelle Obama’s O RLY face was posted by Redditor thrsdy titled “Not Bad, Michelle”.
Shortly after the Reddit post, several comic strips and threads were submitted including a faceswap instance posted by Redditor eyes_of_disapproval in a thread titled “Not bad, Mobama”. The Daily Mail held a captioning contest using the photograph and The Daily What featured the Obamas’ rage faces on the same day.
In the following weeks, derivative comics and reaction faces were highlighted by internet humor site Memebase, as well as resource sites for reaction faces like Ragefac.es and All The Rage Faces. Meanwhile, the caption “Not Bad” became associated with “sturgeon face” images in general:
On August 26th, 2012, Obama visited Reddit for a 30 minute AMA. In address to what he thinks about reddit, the president makes a direct mention to his rage face. Though this is not confirmed as intentional, it is highly likely, with “NOT BAD” in all caps.
For more information on the AMA, head over to the Obama entry.
Search queries for “Not Bad Obama” picked up in late May 2011, around the same time as the original rage comic threads were posted via Reddit. As of January 2012, search interest has not waned off.
BBC News – Queen greets President Obama on first UK state visit / 5/24/2011