October 29, 2007

Obama's life v. Obama's autobiography, continued

As I've been pointing out all year, when people actually get around to reading Senator Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams from my Father, all sorts of questions open up. Now, the New York Times runs a rather dull article pointing out that the brief section in it about his life in New York in the early 1980s is somewhat misleading: he wasn't a glamorous international business consultant, he was a copyeditor of a newsletter, etc.

There's's a pretty good blog called Analyze This written by a former colleague at the newsletter company named Dan Armstrong. He posted in "Barack Obama Embellishes His Resume:"

Don’t get me wrong - I’m a big fan of Barack Obama, the Illinois freshman senator and hot young Democratic Party star. But after reading his autobiography, I have to say that Barack engages in some serious exaggeration when he describes a job that he held in the mid-1980s.I know because I sat down the hall from him, in the same department, and worked closely with his boss. I can’t say I was particularly close to Barack - he was reserved and distant towards all of his co-workers - but I was probably as close to him as anyone. I certainly know what he did there, and it bears only a loose resemblance to what he wrote in his book....

All of Barack’s embellishment serves a larger narrative purpose: to retell the story of the Christ’s temptation. The young, idealistic, would-be community organizer gets a nice suit, joins a consulting house, starts hanging out with investment bankers, and barely escapes moving into the big mansion with the white folks. Luckily, an angel calls, awakens his conscience, and helps him choose instead to fight for the people.

Like I said, I’m a fan. His famous keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention moved me to tears. The Democrats - not to mention America - need a mixed-race spokesperson who can connect to both urban blacks and rural whites, who has the credibility to challenge the status quo on issues ranging from misogynistic rap to unfair school funding.

And yet I’m disappointed. Barack’s story may be true, but many of the facts are not. His larger narrative purpose requires him to embellish his role. I don’t buy it. Just as I can’t be inspired by Steve Jobs now that I know how dishonest he is, I can’t listen uncritically to Barack Obama now that I know he’s willing to bend the facts to his purpose.

As I've mentioned before, the autobiography Obama wrote at age 33 gives the impression of somebody who is interesting but not quite right in the head: verbally talented, depressive, humorless, and overly sensitive, like Joan Didion or an unfunny Evelyn Waugh. That's not the impression most people have of him now (everybody says "He seems so comfortable in his own skin," which raises the question of how did he get his head turned around -- it's too bad he can't tell us how he did it, at least so long as he's running for President).

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

10 comments:

cabrolet said...

The Democrats - not to mention America - need a mixed-race spokesperson who can connect to both urban blacks and rural whites ...

It's come to this has it? Maybe only in writing. I've never heard anyone declare verbally that we need a mixed-race anything in America to fill a job description.

I wonder if this guy would be willing to stand up and verbalize this nonsense in public. What the hell is this liberal saying? Sounds like he is saying that 1) race exists 2) race matters [very much] and 3) the only way to bridge the gap between the races is to mix them.

This is the archetype liberal with his head up his a**. He admits being driven "to tears" by Obama at the podium, and then he pulls back the curtain on a wild racial eugenics scheme to heal the country: mixed-race persons as power-brokers in race relations.

Liberals like this spend years vehemently condemning and denying racial realities -- and then burst out with inner thoughts that reveal their own near infinite hypocrisy. And infinite ignorance. Mixed-race people are notorious for strongly choosing sides and not acting as balanced racial mediators.

Pathetic.

Robert said...

"Just as I can’t be inspired by Steve Jobs now that I know how dishonest he is, I can’t listen uncritically to Barack Obama now that I know he’s willing to bend the facts to his purpose".


Barack Obama is first and foremost a politician. One would have to be very idealistic to think that all he says is totally on the level and not just said to create a public impression.

Dan said...

Thanks for mentioning my blog, Steve. Now I have an excuse to update it more than once every eight months. Actually, what's more interesting than the original post are the vitriolic comments that have appeared today. Oh well. I guess there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Roach said...

Maybe he just grew up. That prickliness, unsureness of where you fit in in the world, and constant s**t-eating that goes with entry level jobs are bound to get any highly talented person down, as most of us liberal arts majors discovered right out of college and in the working world. A few setbacks, some life experience, a good marriage, these are bound to cheer anyone up. And let's say he did get CBT, as you've suggested elsewhere, isn't that really his business? Shouldn't he be allowed to keep that private considering we have such a rabinous press corps? He's clearly too liberal for me to vote for him, but he doesn't seem a bad guy. As for the resume embellishment, well, he without sin cast the first stone. ; )

Anonymous said...

Dan Armstrong: Just as I can’t be inspired by Steve Jobs now that I know how dishonest he is, I can’t listen uncritically to Barack Obama now that I know he’s willing to bend the facts to his purpose.

What specifically is he talking about concerning Steve Jobs?

Andy said...

His famous keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention moved me to tears.

A cliche-ridden speech by a slick politician moved this "man" to tears? I bet this guy cries when his favorite singer gets voted off of American Idol, too.

The Democrats - not to mention America - need a mixed-race spokesperson who can connect to both urban blacks and rural whites,

Obama is viewed as black, not as mixed-race by most whites.

who has the credibility to challenge the status quo on issues ranging from misogynistic rap to unfair school funding.

I don't know about y'all, but I'm not voting for a presidential candidate based on what he can do about "misogynistic rap".

Anonymous said...


The Democrats - not to mention America - need a mixed-race spokesperson who can connect to both urban blacks and rural whites, who has the credibility to challenge the status quo on issues ranging from misogynistic rap to unfair school funding.


Why is that, exactly?

Blacks make up 12.4% or thereabouts of the US population.

Pretty soon, it seems, Hispanics will make up more, or perhaps already do. Why don't they get a shot?

Or, here's a radical idea. How about someone who has a track record of actually doing great things, you know, like James Watson?

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, many blacks feel that Obama isn't "black" enough. Then again, the idiots over at DailyKos are furious at him over this:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/10/29/115437/41

So me might just be OK in my book.

StephenT said...

anonymous said...
"What specifically is he talking about concerning Steve Jobs?"

I think he's referring to the grossly overstated battery life of first generation iPods.

Svigor said...

3) the only way to bridge the gap between the races is to mix them.

I don't want my gaps bridged. I like my gaps. Let that nimrod bridge his own gaps. Then he and all the other mocha beigist raceless unpeople can join hands and sing kumbayah...on the other side of the gap.