Friday, May 25, 2012

UM, YOU TOLD ME BARACK OBAMA WAS A STRANGE AND EXOTIC GUY AMERICANS COULDN'T RELATE TO

This morning, Mike Allen at Politico's Playbook helped kick off the de-embargoing of David Maraniss's still-unpublished Barack Obama biography, by quoting from a review in The Washingtonian:

"Maraniss's Obama is sympathetic, and in contrast to his exotic background, he emerges as a normal, well-adjusted guy. At Occidental, 'Barry''s Mick Jagger impression was legendary, and as a teen at Honolulu's Punahou School, he was known for snagging joints from his buddies' hands and shouting 'Intercepted!' before taking an extra hit...."

BuzzFeed followed up with extended marijuana-related excerpts from the book, under the title "A User's Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama."

Obama's a guy from my generation (he's two years younger), and what strikes me about the Politico quote is, yes, the fact that Obama just sounds so normal. Hey, I used to do Jagger impressions, too. And that "Intercepted!" thing sounds like every kid anywhere. And it's a football allusion! American football, not soccer or some other socialist sport!

Obama and his friends had favorite hangout spots. They gave a name to one particular friend's reliable ride. They invented rituals that became an in-group language. This is so normal -- and it matters because it cuts against the bizarre portrait the right paints of Obama as a red diaper baby/communist agent-in-training/madrassa-bred stranger to American cultural norms. Trust me -- if you lurk on the right, the picture of young Barack Obama is of a kid in a treasonous hothouse being secretly bred to grow up and destroy America. And really, he was just a typical American kid of his generation.

2 comments:

Victor said...

But... But... But he's BLACK!

And he does drugs!

Yeah, the President's 4 years younger than me. And that sounds like the goofy stuff we did.

Sweet Jayzus!
Never mind the Jagger impression - imagine if video shows up with Obama and his pals in a VW, cranking-up the radio and singing and bopping along to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody!"

That'll be shown all over to prove to everyone that he's truly "Not Worthy!"

Tom said...

The Prez is four years younger than me too...and suddenly having a POTUS younger than I am was a bit traumatic at the time, but I've gotten used to it.

But seriously, the guy has always struck me as a normal guy (if a bit of an overachiever), smart, amiable, good sense of humour...all of which are positive attributes in real life, but are a problem if you are trying to run against him in a political campaign.