Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little-Known Facts About the President-elect

From the Telegraph.

My favorites, with commentary in italics:

• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

Spider-Man's motto is that with great power comes great responsibility. You don't get much greater power than President of the United States. Plus, Conan was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is a Republican. It's bi-partisan!

• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed

• He has read every Harry Potter book

Probably with his kids. Which is nice. Plus they're just good books.

• He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while living in Indonesia

Margot wouldn't approve of the first one, but it's just badass to eat snake.

• He can speak Spanish

Should come in handy.

• He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia

Maybe instead of First Puppy, the Obamas can get a First Monkey. Previous presidents have had giraffes and elephants and stuff. I think it was John Adams who kept an alligator in the White House bathroom, so this would just be traditional.

• His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Both excellent. Watch them.

• He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.

• His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees

The first three are probably carefully calculated and safely focus-tested preferences. But a president who listens to the Fugees...I think the generational change here is lost in the (however appropriate) hoopla about Obama's race.

• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker

Me too.

• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol

Me neither.

• He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal

This is why the "Obama is elite" argument was always stupid. A half-black kid with a funny name raised by a single mother who is basically a self-made man could not possibly be more "elite" than the son and grandson of admirals (which is not to disparage John McCain's family). The overwhelming majority of American households carry large debts, so this can only help him identify with normal folks.

• He uses an Apple Mac laptop

President Clinton sent only 2 emails while in office. President Bush, apparently, none. This is more of the generational change--I want a president who knows what MySpace is and can set up his or her own voicemail. How can you set technology policy if you can't program your TV remote?

• He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service handlers

Well that's just cool

• His specialty as a cook is chili

This aggression shall not stand, man. Barack Obama, I hereby challenge you to a chili cook-off. I await my invitation to the White House.


Brandy said...

Love the commentary.

steve and randel hambrick said...

i just found out why presidents don't use email. it's not because they are not techies, but because of a very valid reason.. check out this article.

Travis Greene said...

I stand corrected. Still, it seems odd that e-mail would be public (I assume there's some waiting period for sensitive information) but letters or phone calls (which I suspect are all recorded as a matter of course) wouldn't be.

I think Clinton was genuinely not a techie, like McCain. Once you get to their level, of course, you don't need to check your own email.