Sorry for the long radio silence, but life has intervened, necessitating expenditures of time and attention that precluded posting recently. But my wife drew my attention to this article, which punched through the intellectual and temporal carapace surrounding me right now, and which demanded address as one of the more egregious media tongue baths I’ve seen given to Obama.
When President Obama heard about an awkward middle school student from Texas who had gotten into trouble with a big idea – a science project in the form of a clock that a teacher thought looked like a bomb – he identified.
He identified? Identified what, a PR stunt by the al-Kaboom familly? Or a PR opportunity for him? Or both?
And ripping the guts out of a clock radio and putting them into a pencil box now counts as a “big idea?” Really? That’s pathetic even by Muslim standards.
The message, aides said, reflected in part a fascination with all things scientific on the part of a president whose favorite annual White House event is the Science Fair.
Unfortunately, that fascination with all things scientific did not extend to realizing that aluminum is not ferromagnetic, as any 10-year old of normal intelligence could have told him.
As further proof of His Geekness’s scientific chops, the article cites his desire to receive an Instagram from space, his enjoyment of “The Martian,” and his sadness that “Spock” had died. (I’m not making this up.) No mention of any science-related comic books, however. Seriously, though, does a couple of superficial pop culture references to things at best remotely related to science now constitute evidence of “fascination with all things scientific?”
Many successful politicians feign lack of understanding of complex scientific topics — the better to seem just like the average voter.
[Note to the reporters: I don’t think they’re feigning, any more than journalists are, but if they are, Obama should be a lock for an Academy Award.]
For those who have not yet achieved emesis, but are merely queasy, the article continues, describing Obama’s invocation of Moore’s Law while visiting an engineering department.
“Did you go to engineering school?” Moll [Amy Moll, dean of the engineering college] asked, apparently impressed that Obama was familiar with the concept.
She was impressed? Really? Do you perchance have any applications for block grants outstanding, Amy? I’d be impressed if you could find someone who hadn’t heard of Moore’s Law.
But the topper is Obama’s response. Blushing with modesty, he allowed,
“No, but I know this stuff,” Obama said.
Now I would love to have seen the staffers reaction to that one. Were they nudging each other knowingly, feigning coughing fits, or just rolling their eyes? Obama’s handlers obviously missed a golden opportunity to claim he’d been the editor of an engineering review journal.
Our intrepid reporters gush about his “interest in science” as “a side of the president’s personality,” citing inter alia his hosting of “Astronomy Night,” which will bring together NASA bureaucrats with teachers and “talented” students, including Ahmed al-Kaboom. No word on who will bring the magnets and the aluminum.
Obama “was so excited about it,” said one advisor, referring to the Twitter invitation to the student from Texas. “It’s his thing.”
Strictly speaking, I’d say Ahmed is from Sudan, by way of Texas, but never mind.
Obama’s fascination with all things scientific often shows up in the rhetoric of the presidency. Obama came into office declaring that he would do something about climate change because, he said, he believed the scientists.
Reading some blather off a teleprompter programmed by staffers now constitutes evidence of “fascination,” (which is apparently the word of the day)? Since his rhetoric has focused much less on science than on homosexuality, should we presume he also has fascination with that?
On balance, this article has to rate as a classic of the genre. While it doesn’t go into how many holes-in-one Obama got on his first round of golf, it comes close to North Korean standards in the fawning adulation, and thereby cogently illustrates exactly the problem we have with the media today.