May 9, 2010

Obama diverts himself and tells us to quit diverting ourselves.

1. "With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," he said today.

2. He's golfing again. He knows how to do that. Is it empowering? Is it emancipating?

Hypocrisy?
Yes. He'd like to lay down a lot of rules that only apply to other people.
Yes. He thinks what he likes is worthwhile, but what he doesn't care about seems like a waste.
No. Golf is outdoor exercise, quite unlike the various high tech screens people fiddle with.
No. Unlike the people he's scolding,he doesn't need another "tool of empowerment."
  
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85 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

George H.W. Bush was widely ridiculed for not knowing how supermarket price scanners worked, even though they were fairly new technology at the time. I'll bet Obama will get little or no ridicule for not knowing how to work things like iPods and Playstations.

Peter

traditionalguy said...

He is wrong about the I-pod. Of course such criticism resonates with legalists everywhere that preach guilt over food, drink, activities and other sure fire guilt inducers. Sounds like Obama knows about a second leg of the financial crash coming soon and wants us to blame ourselves.

EDH said...

I get the feeling it's not just the limitations of the entertainment-friendly media that he's lamenting, but the content and messsage carried on all new media, as if there's only one route to "empowerment" and "emancipation."

His route.

Across the board he seems increasingly uncomfortable with people receiving information not filtered by a pliant, liberal media.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Since three of the four things His Hipness mentioned are information sources only in the most metaphorical sense, I suspect that this was another of his, erm, diversions from the prepared text.

Jim Hu said...

April 2009:
"President Obama and first lady Michelle paid a visit to Buckingham Palace yesterday, and presented the monarch with an iPod stuffed with Broadway songs, as well as a rare songbook signed by American composer Richard Rodgers..."

Paul Zrimsek said...

Then again, perhaps the Obama kids encountered Rush Limbaugh when they got to the final level of Halo 2.

rhhardin said...

Owing to supply and demand, advice from Obama is free.

Larry J said...

Is now a good time to tell Obama that he can just kiss my ass? Seriously, I'm tired of listening to this pompus, hypocritical twit.

Jason (the commenter) said...

You have to see it from his point of view: Democracy elected him as president; it must be dangerous.

Paul Zrimsek said...

When Steve Miller turns up on your iPod claiming that he speaks of the pompatus of love, don't believe him.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I can't believe Obama admitted he doesn't know how to use an iPod, iPad, Xbox, or Playstation. He's supposed to be the President of The United States, but he can't even use simple consumer devices. He's never even been curious enough to try and use an iPod, the thing he gives as gifts to foreign leaders! And the way he talks about the internet is insane. How can anyone take him seriously after he's admitted to being so ignorant?

Pastafarian said...

Professor, I think that your criticism misses the most odious part of Obama's statement:

His main point isn't the fact that he finds such diversions as iPods and Xboxes to be a waste of time; his point is that this damned internet and new media are bombarding us with too much information, some of questionable quality, and that's distracting us from reaching conclusions that he approves of.

If only we could return to those days when information was much more carefully meted out by the mainstream media.

I don't really care how much golf he plays, or whether he's a hypocrite for criticizing others' recreational choices. I'm a little more concerned that he'd make such an openly fascistic statement, lamenting the fact that we have too much information at our disposal.

Or am I reading too much into this?

Jeff said...

How in the world do you not know how to use an iPod?

Obama: Even Macs aren't dumbed down enough for him.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

This from the guy who wouldn't give up his Blackberry.

AJ Lynch said...

He gives the same speech week after week...."watch what you read, do, think or who you associate with because the truth is so elusive and there is a big bad world of bogus information out there".

Someone please ask this arrogant idiot what magazines he reads and make him discuss the last article he found enligtening or challenging to his narrow, rigid worldview!

wv = butsness [butt out of my business Mr. President!]

Fen said...

The Diversity Hire, in the spirit of Chavez, whines about media he cant control.

Joe said...

Think about it for a moment. Obama doesn't know how to run an iPod, iPad, Xbox or PlayStation. You have to be an utter moron to not know how to run any of those.

Besides, what the hell is he talking about? None of these have anything to do with information. They are entertainment devices. What's his next complaint, accusing household pets of conspiring against his brilliance?

The man is an even bigger dick than Carter.

mesquito said...

I miss the good ol' days when each night Tom Lockjaw told me sort of what happened and told me what to think about it. And Newsweek came each Tuesday to drive it home.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I keep expecting him to ban smoking, except for presidents.

wv:unboome- achievement of the Times Square Taliban

BJM said...

Funny that Obama would diss Apple products as they are ideal for top-down governance.

"Apple favors the pristine orderliness of autocracy to the messy freedom of an open system.

Yeah, can't have any of that messy freedom stuff can we?

Kevin Kelly's thoughts on the iPad in Wired is unintentionally chilling.

Even The Guardian's uber nannies are uneasy:

"If the iPad takes off as the iPhone did, then it will have as disruptive an impact on the computing and media industries as the Apple phone has already had on mobile telephony.

And if that happens then we will all have to take a long, hard look at the company that has made it possible.

For the implication of an iPad-crazed world – with its millions of delighted, infatuated users – is that a single US company renowned for control-freakery will have become the gatekeeper to the online world. The iPad – like the iPhone – is a closed, tightly controlled device: nothing gets on to it that has not been expressly approved by Apple. We will have arrived at an Orwellian end by Huxleian means. And be foolish enough to think that we've attained nirvana.

Palladian said...

What an asshole.

This asshole, by the way, should worry anyone who cares about liberty, not just "conservatives".

Does he ever give a speech where he doesn't attack some perceived "enemy of the People"?

verification word: hyphives. What opponents of this crypto-fascist give each other every time he fucks up.

BJM said...

Sorry forgot the Guardian link.

Palladian said...

BJM, the Guardian just hates Apple because it's American and also because it's a corporation. Not that concerns arent' warranted, but you have to realize that their motivation is always anti-American and anti-capitalist at heart.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Obama diverts himself ..."

The poor people in Nashville, Tennessee were dying in the most widespread flooding tragedy since New Orleans was inundated by Katrina - but where was the President, Barack Obama?

Instead of helping to fill sandbags, he went golfing.

Roman said...

This is not believable. He has a Blackberry on his belt. He will use "artistic license" whenever he chooses. He is a "do as I say, not as I do" person. In the dictionary entry hypocrite; there is a picture of Barry.

Palladian said...

The term "historically-black" college is amusing. I'd like to see news outlets use other forms of the phrase:

Obama spoke today at Harvard, the historically-white college in Cambridge, Massachusetts...

Michael said...

Our president lies when the truth would do better. He clearly knows how to work an iPod and excellent father that he is he plays video games with his daughters. The president thinks you are an idiot and won't notice.

Mike Rophone said...

When Clinton became worried that he was irrelevant during that wonderful era of divided government that couldn't pass much major legislation, he was reduced to calling on schools to institute school uniforms to decrease violence. May this President's ability to affect us soon become this mundane.

Penny said...

"...information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,"

This statement gave me pause, and then it had me nodding in agreement.

I often think that reading more, and even reading more opposing views is an end in itself. It's enjoyable, and has in truth, become a pastime that eats up an extraordinary amount of my time, with little in the way of productive activity that follows. Sure, commenting on-line may FEEL productive, but is it really?

It seems rather passive, actually. The tea party crowd is at least getting out of their chairs long enough to DO something.

If we are going to consider ourselves more enlightened, why aren't more of us telling stories about what we are doing to influence local politics? Are we getting more involved in local politics in any greater numbers?

Knowing more is not an end in itself. Knowing more and then DOING something with that knowledge is empowering and emancipating.

edutcher said...

Agree with Ignorance and Joe. 18 months ago, The Zero was Mr. Plugged In; now we're supposed to believe he can't do Xboxes and Playstations? Setting one up is Dad stuff, right up there with putting together a bike on Karl Marx Eve. Never used an iPod, but it must be no different than a radio, transistor or otherwise.

As for golf, hasn't he golfed more in 1 year than Dubya did in 8 (where, O where, is Ubermoronn on this)?

EDH said...

I get the feeling it's not just the limitations of the entertainment-friendly media that he's lamenting, but the content and messsage carried on all new media, as if there's only one route to "empowerment" and "emancipation."

Particularly true of the Apple gear, although the game systems feature all that subversive pro-military content.

traditionalguy said...

...

Sounds like Obama knows about a second leg of the financial crash coming soon and wants us to blame ourselves.

You may have something there. News items featuring people as diverse as Nouriel Roubini and Dr. Evil keep popping up, warning about the second half of the year.

Who was it said something about never letting a good crisis go to waste?

Matthew said...

Yeah, BJM. Apple is all about anal-retentiveness and centralized, iron-fisted control. Certainly Apple doesn't represent the freedom-loving masses, or the Spirirt of America!

It's a really good thing we have Microsoft and IBM to balance them out, and stand up for the consumer, huh?

(BTW, I hate Mac products and the people who rave about them. They seem diseased. And no, I don't want to have a PC-vs-Mac discussion).

obladioblada said...

Presumably he was more favorably inclined towards the ipod when he had one loaded with his speeches as a gift for the Queen.

traditionalguy said...

Broadcast and Teaching pod-casts and audio books make any I-pod into an educational tool. The music on I-pods is irrelevant. The Leader just wants us to admit that we are worthless children so that the end of the American post war poroperity will seem like our just punishment. Ergo:Obama is an evil liar. He wont fight for us , and he wants wants us to love him for surrendering us so quickly to all our enemies. FYI, Obama's Muslim brothers are only talking about an imminent season of Jew Murdering, but their acknowledged common target is Christianity.

BJM said...

@Palladian

Having lived in the UK I'm all too aware of the Guardian's hatred for all things American, however they make a point. Too much control over consumer electronic products is being concentrated in too few hands.

The FCC is running consumers down MPAAA/Cable Co chutes for the shearing; and Apple's already in bed with Sony so the govt is a natural partner.

I agree with others who think this is a head fake (a diversion!?); Obama is not naive or uninformed. One must always watch what Obama's other hand is doing...and his regulatory hand very busy.

BJM said...

@Matthew

Exactly. There are other choices.

I like to build my own boxes and run Linux; it ain't that hard, even a middle-aged woman can do it.

Anyone into case modding?

Chip Ahoy said...

Wait a second, wait just wuUUUuuuun second. You're trying to tell me Obama said something? Hahahaha. Stop it, you know better'n'at.

MadisonMan said...

He sounds like a father. :)

I know I've said something similar to my welded-to-their-gizmos kids.

It's a distant cousin to "Go outside and play".

Joe said...

He actually sounds like a father who kicks his kids off the Playstation with some self-righteous excuse and then starts playing it himself.

Rialby said...

I was going to say it but Palladian got to it first.

Rialby said...

Had W gone on the air and told people what to do with their free time, it would have been added to the long list of "scary and stupid" things he said.

But this assclown has a D next to his name, so he gets a pass.

David said...

"...information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,"

This is bullshit. Not because it's wrong, but because it's meaningless.

Remember, Obama's chief speechwriter is a 28 year old who likes to grope cardboard cutouts of the Secretary of State.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

"Remember, Obama's chief speechwriter is a 28 year old who likes to grope cardboard cutouts of the Secretary of State."

Not only that, but the douchebag (Jon Favreau) is a "gamer" who"...lived in a group house with six friends in Chicago, where he rarely shaved, never cooked and sometimes stayed up to play video games until early morning...

When the [campaign] pressure wore on Favreau, he unwound like a 27-year-old, sending prank e-mails to friends at the Obama offices or playing the video game Rock Band in the Lincoln Park group house...


Wow! Left douchebags are hypocrites?! Who knew?

Anyway, keep playing golf, grandpa.

Rialby said...

This man is truly a textbook narcissist. Over and over he proclaims himself the ultimate arbiter of what is and what is not reasonable:

"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter"

Just as we saw him do at the healthcare summit, the nuke summit, etc.

PatCA said...

I can almost hear the graduates' thoughts...my last dopey lecture from some lefty prof.

William said...

Lighten up. The President is paid to make these sanctimonious remarks. They're not hypocritical lies if they're aimed at kids. They're character building homilies.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

...information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation...

And we know how much Obama hates distractions.

I'm not usually one to throw around such terms, but this reads as kind of fascist to me, in that it is something I could imagine Goebbels saying.

Who is to decide what information is bad (a distraction, entertainment, diversion) and what information is good (a tool of empowerment)? That's different for every individual. That individuals will have very different views of what information is worthwhile and what is not is fundamental to any notion of tolerance and any appreciation of a democratic culture.

Also, net-heads ought to feel threatened by such comments. The Web is full of distraction, entertainment, diversion, by definition. It is an ocean of information. It sounds like Obama thinks we'd be a lot better off if those channels were significantly narrowed.

I'm not suggesting Obama = Goebbels by the way. But he clearly does not value in his gut the First Amendment. The journos who worship him should reconsider whether he's a worthy idol.

Jason (the commenter) said...

John Stodder: I'm not usually one to throw around such terms, but this reads as kind of fascist to me, in that it is something I could imagine Goebbels saying.

I was think of Obama as a watered-down Mao, what with his youth groups, exhortations to get in "people's faces", and only peruse approved media. It's like he has his own Red Guard, except he's incompetent and bland so no one really knows what to do.

george said...

I remember when Obama bragged about how eclectic his musical tastes were by listing what he had on his I-pod. Now he claims he doesn't even know how to use one. He does this sort of thing all of the time. He rarely makes it through a speech without contradicting himself... and most of the time he contradicts something he said earlier in the same speech... not just something he said in an earlier speech.

Methadras said...

information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment,

Only if it's DNC pap as a means of dissemination through their entertainment filters to distract and divert us all. This guy is a dolt. He really is. Bush my not have been the brightest bulb in the batch, but this fool opens his mouth to prove it every time.

Revenant said...

What kind of half-wit can't figure out how to work a PlayStation? You put the disc in, you turn it on. It isn't exactly rocket science.

Rialby said...

"The President is paid to make these sanctimonious remarks. They're not hypocritical lies if they're aimed at kids."

2 things.

1) No he's not paid for this. He's paid to stop Iran from getting nukes and to make sure that the turkey gets pardoned every year.
2) 22 year olds are not kids. They're adults. They shouldn't be lied to. They've got a very tough road ahead of them thanks to the profligate spending of the Democrats and compassionate conservatives.

Pogo said...

He is not satisfied telling you what health care to get, now he wants to control your information and the precentage of time you devote to diversions.

What could possibly go wrong?

tim maguire said...

He doesn't know how these things work, never used them, but he knows their effects.

Classic Obama! An expert in things he knows nothing about.

bigstone said...

An obvious attempt to pander to the Tea Party.

Palladian said...

"An obvious attempt to pander to the Tea Party."

Yes, because as we bien pensant liberals all know, the Tea party people are too stupid to use new media. The entire movement came about after network television ran countless sympathetic stories of the early protests last year. Why, without firing their rifles into the air and waving Confederate flags, these Tea party morons would never have been able to find each other!

New media played and plays no part in the propagation of the Tea party ideas. Obama knows this because he's the smartest being ever to exist.

Palladian said...

Oh, and by the way, make sure to visit my website, wonelacko.com, you tea-bagging morons! I've got lots of ideas that might help you, even though I hate you so much.

Calypso Facto said...

O sounds very comfortable in his role as headmistress of the nanny state.

Synova said...

Obama is into finding enemies... doctors who hack off limbs for profit... corporations that make a profit... Las Vegas...

I'm shocked and appalled (but not at all surprised... or not actually shocked or appalled either but comfortable in the fact that my expectations were met) that we're being scolded yet again for not being serious minded enough. Our entertainments are a distraction. We are emancipated and, quite frankly, my kid's generation is *global* but that's not good enough?

Palladian said...

"Our entertainments are a distraction. We are emancipated and, quite frankly, my kid's generation is *global* but that's not good enough?"

Nothing is good enough for the O. Remember Empress O during the campaign?

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

Keep trying, America. One day you may live up to the expectations of these extraordinary individuals.

Synova said...

"I'm not usually one to throw around such terms, but this reads as kind of fascist to me, in that it is something I could imagine Goebbels saying."

Work makes us free?

I'm all for viewing industry as a primary component of character, but there is always something somewhat fascist sounding to the State telling us how to live. That's the job of religion, isn't it?

bagoh20 said...

"I'm all for viewing industry as a primary component of character, but there is always something somewhat fascist sounding to the State telling us how to live. "

It's like your freeloading brother-in-law telling you that you need to get a second job.

Synova said...

The other quotes in the article seem to be a lament that the problem with the deluge of information is that some of it isn't true... which if he was talking to college graduates had to evoke a response of "don't try to teach grandma to suck eggs" from the "kids." This is the world they live in, the ocean they swim in. No one needs to tell them that the water is wet.

And it seems contrary to his other "message" that we need to prepare ourselves educationally for the future so that we can compete with the world.

Bob Ellison said...

This is unGodly stupid. The man needs help. My mother told me he's turning into Jimmy Carter, and she's right.

Synova said...

And while I do understand that I have unnatural children, when my 12 year old wanders about the house speaking of the current (today or this week) meme, I have to think that she's got a more sophisticated understanding of the transitory nature of our national, or even global, conversation.

The problem this has to our "democracy" is that it shifts too quickly for anyone to get out in front and assert control.

Boo, hoo.

Andrea said...

He sounds like a father. :)

I know I've said something similar to my welded-to-their-gizmos kids.

It's a distant cousin to "Go outside and play".


Aw, he's just being a dad! I feel all warm and nummy now that I know Big Daddy O is watching over me and making sure I don't get all distracted by gadgets that don't "empower" me. In fact, there's no better way to feel empowered and emancipated than by having someone tell me what to do in every aspect of life!

John Stodder said...

Only if it's DNC pap as a means of dissemination through their entertainment filters to distract and divert us all.

This is interesting. Maybe what's behind this rant is that not enough young, malleable people are opening e-mails from the DNC or Organizing for America. They look at the disappointing metrics and figure, it can't be the message or the messenger. It's got to be that everyone's all distracted by their XBoxes and iPhones.

Revenant said...

I know I've said something similar to my welded-to-their-gizmos kids.

The problem there is that the majority of Playstation, Xbox, iPod, and iPad users are adults.

So Obama just comes off sounding like a pompous ass instead of a "tsk tsk, those darn kids and their toys" dad.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

I know I've said something similar to my welded-to-their-gizmos kids.

The problem there is that the majority of Playstation, Xbox, iPod, and iPad users are adults.

So Obama just comes off sounding like a pompous ass instead of a "tsk tsk, those darn kids and their toys" dad.


Oddly enough when I read your statement about Obama sounding like a pompous ass, his idiot voice chimed in like an old man in my head that said, "God damn you kids and your rock n' roll."

Nora said...

o well, at leasthe knows how to work a teleprompter

Palladian said...

No, Nora, the teleprompter knows how to work him.

Freeman Hunt said...

I was about to comment that I agreed with him. I hadn't looked at the article yet and thought he was just saying that we were all too plugged in to devices all the time and just using information for entertainment. (See Penny's comment.)

But then I clicked into the article, and there was this:

"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter,

Oh. So, it really is just another, "trust the great media that loves me; watch your TV." Bah.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Quit diverting yourselves with free speech!"

Freeman Hunt said...

"Other people's free speech doesn't always rank all that high on the truth meter. Ignore it!"

Freeman Hunt said...

"Me? I peg the truth meter at eleven! It's too hard for you all to discern whether or not an argument is valid. We don't teach that in college anymore. So instead, don't expose yourself to any other arguments. It's the truthy way!"

AllenS said...

A man dumber than Joe Biden. He never has anything good to say. There's no hope in his message. He thinks that the country sucks and he just can't wait to tell everyone.

Scott M said...

One can divert oneself as much as one pleases. If you start to chafe, however, it's best to take a week off.

damikesc said...

Should we forget that Obama bought ads in Burnout Paradise in 2008? Games were cool to him then .

jwvansteenwyk said...

"Now watch this drive!"

jwvansteenwyk said...

2008. The Guardian. "Obama Reveals his iPod Playlist."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/25/barackobama.uselections2008

E.M. Davis said...

What a douche.

I originally had more to say, but now I think those 3 words are enough.

Shanna said...

I call bullshit on the ipod.

Also, way to sound like an old guy talking about stuff the kids like and how it's all bad.

former law student said...

Two lessons:

1. Sitting on your ass leads to obesity.

2. Time was you'd have to seek out your local American Opinion bookstore to find kooky fringe right-wing ideas -- now they're as close as your laptop!

Impeach Earl Warren!!!
Get US out of the UN!!!

Drew said...

So during the election we were told how hip Obama was because of all the hipsters he had on his iPod. And now Obama claims he doesn't know how to operate an iPod.

Does anyone believe anything this man says anymore? Really?

Anyone?