May 4, 2012

WaPo: Watching "Mad Men" means Obama's practically a Medal of Honor winner

From the Washington Post:
Obama’s military connection 
By David Maraniss, Friday, May 4, 3:15 PM 
... On a personal level, Obama seems at ease in the presence of soldiers and sailors ... He is an avid viewer of the television show “Mad Men” and told me that some of the characters remind him of his grandparents, with whom he lived as a teenager.

Headlines of upcoming parts of David Maraniss's series:
How Watching "The Sopranos" Makes Obama More or Less Italian 
How Watching "The Walking Dead" Strengthens Obama's Connection to Crucial Zombie Swing Vote

45 comments:

eah said...

Sycophancy.

I've always wanted to use that word.

OT

5.4 Million Join Disability Rolls Under Obama

Per a graphic at the link, more than twice as many people have been enrolled in disability as have found 'non-farm' jobs since the official end of the recession in June, 2009.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Maraniss drank the Kool-Aid or if he's just doing what so many do, keeping the gig going. I suspect the latter. He likes being invited to lecture, likes being on C-Span and on all the talk/news/feature shows to tout his books, and hey, if portraying someone in a positive light will gain him access, the street cred of politicos, then he does what he feels he must do, write of his subject as a god.

It's what people do to make a living.

Harry Baldwin said...

Wow--the logic in that article is so tortured it's hilarious.

You know what would have been a better connection of Obama to the military? How about if when his grandmother was threatened by an aggressive black panhandler at the bus stop, Obama had acted like a man and walked with his grandmother to protect her and punch the guy out if necessary. That would have shown some physical courage and been like a soldier. Instead he made it all about the panhandler being black and, which made him feel like he was punched in the stomach. He is such a pussy.

Anonymous said...

Gag me with a spoon.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe Ms. Warren is only 1/32nd female by heritage. The rest of her has been liberated from the oppressive capitalist-patriarchal culture."

Sid said...

*SPOILERS. DON'T READ IF YOU WANT NOTHING SPOILED*

I don't get how Mad Men makes it easy for him to get along with the military. The military hardly ever comes up in the show; maybe Sterling recounts an experience from WWII or is hating on the Japs. There was a storyline in which Joan's husband goes off to Vietnam, and loves military life so much that it wrecks their marriage (how flattering). Okay, Don Draper is a Korean War vet, who got to go home by pretending he was dead. But that's not really about military life, or the military itself, so much as Don Draper's inability to connect with others because he has to hide who he really is.

In short, the show has a very bourgeois take on the military: it's just something that happens, it's personally damaging, and it's best to let others deal with it as arises. I don't see how any of that helps Obama relate with servicemen, other than that the show's early seasons were set in an America before the Counterculture shook things up, and I suppose servicemen often find that era appealing.

Chicago said...

So it seems he likes men in uniform. Perhaps his favorite tune is "Macho Man" by The Village People.

Whiskey said...

Baldwin -- good catch. But being a whiny emo is what Obama is good at. Coincidentally that stuff cleans up with the "Julia" crowd, more or less.

Obama did not serve, and we won't have a President who has served in the military, ever again I think. The sycophancy in that article is just amazing. A level never achieved before.

ricpic said...

Is it worth it to Maraniss to get a gold medal in suckup?

Apparently.

TGGP said...

I'd be curious to know what was between the ellipsis, but I don't feel like wasting a monthly pageview on that.

Anonymous said...

Watching "Mad Men" makes us all morally virtuouser

Kylie said...

"On a personal level, Obama seems at ease in the presence of soldiers and sailors .."

"Hello, sailor!"

Anonymous said...

@ eah

Cloward-Piven

Drunk Idiot said...

Anonymous (5/4/12 4:41 PM) said...

"I don't know if Maraniss drank the Kool-Aid or if he's just doing what so many do, keeping the gig going. I suspect the latter. He likes being invited to lecture, likes being on C-Span and on all the talk/news/feature shows to tout his books, and hey, if portraying someone in a positive light will gain him access, the street cred of politicos, then he does what he feels he must do, write of his subject as a god.

It's what people do to make a living.
"

It's usually a tricky thing to assign motivation for others' behavior from afar. Of course, sometimes you'll be right about their motivations. But other times...not so much (if, however, you notice a cheetah's gaze locked in on your neck, by all means assume that he's thinking of eating you for lunch).

I can't even count how many times somebody's said something to me along the lines of "the only reason you're doing 'n' is because of 'y,' when, in fact, they couldn't have been more wrong about my motivations. That's why it was easy to sympathize with Michelle Obama when she admonished opponents of hers for characterizing her as an "angry black woman." She was correct to call them out for purporting to know what motivates her, to know what truly goes on in her head.

Would it have been sporting of her to have extended the same logic/benefit of the doubt to political opponents of hers and her husband's (instead of saying that they don't like this president because he doesn't "look like the other presidents," or because he doesn't "look like they do")?

Well, sure -- but that's beside the point.

That said, it's hard not to notice that Maraniss has been all over the place the last two or three days ... just like he used to be 10-15 years ago. Maraniss used to be a really big deal in Manhattan/Beltway circles, but up until the last couple of days, he'd been more or less out of sight and out of mind for the better part of a decade.

Anonymous said...

"That said, it's hard not to notice that Maraniss has been all over the place the last two or three days ... just like he used to be 10-15 years ago. Maraniss used to be a really big deal in Manhattan/Beltway circles, but up until the last couple of days, he'd been more or less out of sight and out of mind for the better part of a decade."

Hmmm. I seem to recall him all over the networks the last Presidential election cycle. It's time for his ilk to stick their heads out this time every 4 years.

Drunk Idiot said...

Harry Baldwin said...

"You know what would have been a better connection of Obama to the military? How about if when his grandmother was threatened by an aggressive black panhandler at the bus stop, Obama had acted like a man and walked with his grandmother to protect her and punch the guy out if necessary. That would have shown some physical courage and been like a soldier. Instead he made it all about the panhandler being black and, which made him feel like he was punched in the stomach. He is such a pussy."

In another (and probably better) era, you'd be right. But today, virtue is conferred upon an individual based upon his/her ability to claim status as a "victim." You're either a "victim," an "oppressor" (e.g., straight white males, business, Republicans, white Christians, police, the military, etc.) or, if you're not lucky enough to be able to credibly claim "victim" status, you can compensate by being a "hero" who fights the oppressors on behalf of oppressed victims (i.e., a white liberal).

That's the dynamic that led to the spectacle in the 2008 Democratic primary that where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battled it out over who had the greater claim to "victim" status. Remember, Hillary broke down and cried while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, claiming to be overwhelmed by how hard it was to be a woman running for president. And she upped the ante by saying that even someone as oppressed as a black man couldn't begin to understand the crosses that a successful professional woman in America is made to carry on a daily basis.

And that's why, for candidate Obama, being able to point to events in his life where he was "victimized" by racist whites -- even if there was nobody else to cast as a racist white offender but his elderly white grammamma -- was the ticket to defining himself as authentically "black," and the ticket to having a viable future in politics.

By necessity, Obama's narrative had to include a cliched "defining moment" where reality slapped him in the face, and he came to fully realize just how badly the deck was stacked against him as a young black man in America.

So maybe you're wondering if yours truly isn't a hypocrite for waring against assigning motivations for others' behavior from afar and then turning around and claiming that candidate Obama needed to include in his life's narrative a "defining moment" that purportedly opened his eyes to the irredeemably racist nature of white America.

Well, only he knows if he really believes his schtick. But there's no question that in order to have built a political career as a black man in the Democratic party, he needed to lay claim to victim status.

That he chose for his watershed moment an exchange with his grandmother that, in a sane society, would have resulted in young Barry offering to accompany his grandma to protect her from the aggressive panhandlers around whom she felt uncomfortable -- regardless of their ethnicity or pigmentation -- only goes to show how little actual racism this guy must have encountered in his life, how completely self-absorbed and cynical he must be, and what a completely f**ked-up family he must come from (what kind of person would do that to their grandma!?!).

And come to think of it, as you mention, what a pussy he must be.

Anonymous said...

"That's why it was easy to sympathize with Michelle Obama when she admonished opponents of hers for characterizing her as an "angry black woman." She was correct to call them out for purporting to know what motivates her, to know what truly goes on in her head."

You and I must run in different circles since neither my liberal friends nor I "sympathize[d]
with Michelle Obama when she admonished opponents of hers for characterizing her as an 'angry black woman.'"

If it walks like a duck...

Drunk Idiot said...

Anonymous (5/4/12 10:43 PM) said...

"Hmmm. I seem to recall him all over the networks the last Presidential election cycle. It's time for his ilk to stick their heads out this time every 4 years."

You're probably right. Yours truly hasn't watched TV since 2005 (with the exception of sporting events). There wasn't any buzz for Maraniss on the internet in '08 though. If he was on TV, he sure wasn't being talked about online.

His writing & articles (if there were any of note) weren't circulating around the net either.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/MqKXp0ta25o

Anonymous said...

Never thought of Mrs. Obama as the angry black woman of legend. She seems to be only peripherally involved in anything not related to vacations or shopping; occasionally letting slip obnoxious pity-me statements, but her degree of meddling is not so comparable to say, Hillary Rodham (who in fairness had a less predictable hubby). It was interesting to note that she got Barack's mother-in-law moved into the East Wing (according to Essence mag this was actually for Marian Robinson's "office")

Drunk Idiot said...

Anonymous (5/4/12 10:49 PM) said...

"You and I must run in different circles since neither my liberal friends nor I 'sympathize[d]
with Michelle Obama when she admonished opponents of hers for characterizing her as an 'angry black woman.''
"

Well, she had a valid point when she criticized her and her husband's opponents for trying to discern her true motivations from afar, and for not being able to know for sure what she really thinks.

But she came across as pretty angry and indignant when she made it.

And, as I said in the paragraph after the one you quoted, it would have been nice if she'd extended the same consideration to her/her husband's opponents.

Apparently she can discern their motivations from afar. Then again, they're all a bunch of racist Nazis, so what's there to discern!?!

"If it walks like a duck..."

If you follow the provided link, you'll notice that it leads to a "Guardian" article that takes Mrs. Obama's side when she criticizes her opponents for stereotyping her as a typical "angry black woman."

And if you read the same article through -- you know, the one that takes Mrs. Obama's opponents to task for stereotyping her as an "angry black woman" -- you'll notice that it's written by a woman who runs a blog called "Angry Black Bitch."

Anonymous said...

That he chose for his watershed moment an exchange with his grandmother that, in a sane society, would have resulted in young Barry offering to accompany his grandma to protect her from the aggressive panhandlers around whom she felt uncomfortable -- regardless of their ethnicity or pigmentation -- only goes to show how little actual racism this guy must have encountered in his life, how completely self-absorbed and cynical he must be, and what a completely f**ked-up family he must come from (what kind of person would do that to their grandma!?!).

Well, assuming that even so much as a single word of it was ever true in the first place.

Which - with Obama & Bill Ayers & David Axelrod & Jon Favreau & the rest of Obama's writing team - is not a very good assumption to be making.

I guess the real "pussiness" might have been in agreeing to read some copy like that - handed to him by Axelrod - if the copy was in fact entirely fictitious.

dearieme said...

Is Mrs Obama angry, or merely petulant?

James Kabala said...

"I'd be curious to know what was between the ellipsis, but I don't feel like wasting a monthly pageview on that."

TGGP - In context the Mad Men sentence is apparently supposed to be evidence that Obama (allegedly) gets along better with the World War II generation than with the Baby Boom/ Vietnam generation. The sentence isn't really supposed to be about his relationship with the current military, although that is the thrust of the overall article.

Anonymous said...

I've been saying for the past four years that Obama is an aimless Walter Mitty. There is no evidence he did much during his formative years except sit around, mostly alone, dreaming. I don't think he has ever fully emerged from that self-induced youthful dopaminergic haze in which he imagines himself to be zooming across the universe as the captain of the star ship Enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Ok for jammies to complain but not okay for whites to complain. This is what obama is really about. Interracist political porn about black male superiority over white males. Mandino lite. Next black prez will have a white wife. Obama married black cuz having white wife might be too racy but next stage will be black prez with blonde white wife. White guys are so finished.

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading newspapers...

Anonymous said...

Isn't Maraniss the guy who said that Obama was probably the most intelligent man ever to obtain the presidency? So I'm not surprised that he could make logical contortions that confuse the sane.

Anonymous said...

OT in one way, but not in others. Interesting video: this guy is a black voice in the wilderness, but at least his editorial made it into a liberal paper.

His comments would have been almost perfect if he had urged black leaders to talk not just of black violence but of black failures in education as well, but in fairness, the topic was the Martin-Zimmerman case:

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2012/05/04/what-if-george-zimmerman-was-black/

Truth said...

Any dark-skinned black woman, with a serious personality has been regarded as "an angry black woman" at some point.

Kylie said...

"...she [Michelle Obama] had a valid point when she criticized her and her husband's opponents for trying to discern her true motivations from afar, and for not being able to know for sure what she really thinks."

Not really. She availed herself of a public platform to make the remarks in question. Everyone is free to speculate on her motivations when she says something publicly because she is a public figure by choice. (Supposedly Obama would not have run for POTUS if she hadn't agreed to it). It's not as though her and her husband's opponents were eavesdropping. And if she wants to forestall any such speculation, all she has to do is say, "This is exactly what I mean when I say..."

pat said...

Full Disclosure - I've never watched Mad Men. I tend to watch reality gun shows and car shows. If I heard Obama watched any of those I would be surprised and gratified.

For example on Top Shot recently the final contestants were all Marines, or Air Force. After a hard day at the rifle range they went back to the house to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday. They held hands, prayed and said "God Bless America". On Sons of Guns they routinely honor WWII vets and get all teary eyed.

The car shows like Wheeler Dealers or Chasing Classic Cars are undisguised tributes to capitalism. Small business owners take risks, invest their own money and hope for a profit at the end of the episode.

American TV has never been more patriotic.

Albertosaurus

Mr. Anon said...

Nothing could be a better guide to our modern gay-friendly, single-mother-accomodating social-worker military establishment than a TV portrayal of NY admen of the 60s, who might conceivably be the grandfathers of todays officer corps (again, assuming they were not fictional).

I have found that watching old episodes of Amos and Andy and old Step-n-Fetchit movies gives me a unique ability to relate to African Americans.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/SOfJ5ZqXsc4

Anonymous said...

How watching "The Big Bang" illustrates Obama's knowledge of physics....indeed, he could have been an important contributor to theoretical physics had he not entered politics to save the world.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you tell us you were once on Art Linkletter's "Kids Say the Darndest Things," Steve?

Well, writers like Maraniss say the darndest things to sell books.

Anonymous said...

"Any dark-skinned black woman, with a serious personality has been regarded as "an angry black woman" at some point."

Got news for you, Truth. Any woman with a serious personality has, at some point, been regarded as "an angry woman." No biggie, though.

Kevin B said...

NPR gets "in depth" on Sprinters, a favorite iSteve theme, and in the process gets perilously close to a thoughtcrime:

"These are athletes of black ancestry," Morrison says. "They have long limbs; they have little subcutaneous fat, which gives you a lot of reduction in all the drag, you know, in the weight that you have to carry around."

Then there's the phenomenon of narrow hips. According to Morrison, Jamaicans are built to lift their knees high when they run.


Well, NPR tells us that's almost as silly a theory as the often credited Jamaican banana diet explanation.

But there's no need to worry the SWPL audience as Robert Siegel sets the world right by closing with "perhaps Jamaicans are the world's best sprinters because that's what they really want to be."

Yes, all of us folks now know, without qualification, that we can be anything we want to be. You just have to want it bad enough.

Anonymous said...

Mad Men is now exonerated from adding the extraneous black character. Weiner has a presidential pardon. I hope he puts it to good use.

Anonymous said...

Any dark-skinned black woman, with a serious personality has been regarded as "an angry black woman" at some point.

Wow - not sure where to start in deconstructing/psychoanalyzing that one.

Is he saying that all negresses are angry?

Or is he saying that all negresses are angry if and only if they are NOT smokin' hot light-skinned chicks like Vanessa Williams or Halle Berry?

And, uh - at the risk of inquiring about the tautologous - what is it about light-skinned chicks that makes them impervious to anger?



PS: Truth, in all seriousness, do you have any particular skin-tone affinity in the chicks that you date? White chicks? Light-skinned black chicks? Dark-skinned black chicks? Asian chicks? Hispanic chicks?

Or are you an equal opportunity lover?

[And I know it's getting really personal, but if you're up to it: What is the skin tone of your child's mother?]

Anonymous said...

Mad Men is now exonerated from adding the extraneous black character.

Didn't they "too-clever-by-half-ly" trick themselves into having to interview a black secretary at the very end of the season premiere?

Whatever became of that subtheme?

[There's a lot more that I'd like to say about that scene - with all the black job-seekers gathered in the lobby - but it would never make it past Komment Kontrol.]

Anonymous said...

Is he saying that all negresses are angry?

Or is he saying that all negresses are angry if and only if they are NOT smokin' hot light-skinned chicks like Vanessa Williams or Halle Berry?


Oh, and just who are the dark-skinned chicks with UN-serious personalities?

[Wait, let me guess - Condoleezza Rice?]

Truth said...

"Any dark-skinned black woman, with a serious personality has been regarded as "an angry black woman" at some point...


Is he saying that all negresses are angry?"

Words 10-12; "has been regarded."

"PS: Truth, in all seriousness, do you have any particular skin-tone affinity in the chicks that you date? White chicks? Light-skinned black chicks? Dark-skinned black chicks? Asian chicks? Hispanic chicks?"

I'm not as sexy as you are, I have to take what I can get.


"[And I know it's getting really personal, but if you're up to it: What is the skin tone of your child's mother?]"

It is getting a little personal; generally I answer those but I think I'll let you lose sleep for a few more years. It's more fun for both of us that way.

Anonymous said...

Truth is onto something. Like all of us, he knows what he can get. Barry probably knows that also. He doesn't act like a Swinging Dick, because he doesn't have one. Porn is an outlet for the libido of many millions who feel they don't measure up. We can never know who uses it and how often, but in general we know its use is rampant.

Do we measure libido by the number of real conquests or virtual ones?

Mark Wahlberg says he never masturbates and people scoff - but it might be true, because he didn't "settle" and his wife probably still thinks he's hot and satisfying.
I bet he gained quite a few beta women fans from the proclamation.

Komment Kontrol does seem a little squeamish about genital size. I wonder how it will handle Vagina Volume discussions.

Anonymous said...

Mark Wahlberg... didn't "settle"...

WHOA.

Hey, BTW, I just remembered that Mark Wahlberg is on T [or HGH or something].