“I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.” Those memorable words from the '50s flick “Sunset Boulevard,” uttered by Gloria Swanson as aging movie queen Norma Desmond still seeking the limelight, came to mind Saturday. That was when the President turned the gun massacre at the Parkland high school into a photo op, ever at the ready for the camera even when visiting hospitalized kids shot up from AR-15 rifle fire.

Say cheese!

The photo captured the President posing and grinning for the camera and otherwise making himself the center of attention with a thumbs-up gesture – as if America just took a gold at the Olympics instead of a bullet.

trump's callousness also conjured up yet another famous line, this one intoned in exasperation by attorney Joseph Welch during Congressional hearings in 1954 when Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy falsely alleged a Communist conspiracy in government, Welsh asked him, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” The question hangs over Trump unanswered.

For the record

The President's written words about the shooting didn't go with the picture of him grinning, which suggests that the words were written by another: “ Our entire Nation,, with one heart, continues to pray for the victims and their families in Parkland, FL.” Trump's show of his pearly whites in the aftermath of a tragedy stays in the mind to recall Mark Twain questioning whether to photograph President Lincoln serious or smiling.

He said in a letter to the Sacramento Daily Union, “A photograph is a most important document and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly. Foolish smile caught and fixed forever.”

High spirits

There was a time, however, when picturing toothpaste smiles were all the rage- in the Dutch Golden Age painting of Frans Hals.

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He painted grins so wide that you could see teeth, which was often seen at the time as a sign of drunkenness and considered by some as a breach of etiquette. You can see that mindset in a 1703 publication titled “The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility,” which ruled: “There are some people who raise their upper lip so high… that their teeth are almost entirely visible.

This is entirely contradictory to decorum, which forbids you to allow your teeth to be uncovered, since nature gave us lips to conceal them.”

Breaking the rules

Hals' famous portrait of Willem Coymans is a forthright description of inebriation with listless hands, bleary eyes and a smirk that makes clear the subject was smashed. Trump doesn't have the excuse of drunkenness to explain his toothy grin because he doesn't drink. But given his cavalier look-at-me visit to stricken school kids still recovering from bullet wounds, you might rightly call him “The Laughing Cavalier" after Hal's painting commonly seen in McEwan's beer ads. The subject, obviously soused, is unknown, although by the look of the expensive silk duds, he might have been some wealthy merchant. Vainglorious Trump would probably take the comparison as a compliment.