Obama’s Leno Appearance

I missed Jay Leno last night (which isn’t all that odd, as I never watch that show unless I happen upon it during his Headlines bit), so I didn’t see the “original” Obama appearance in its entirety until today. Today, however, I see clips of it on every channel. Yep, every channel. There’s a huge deal being made of Obama saying that his bowling score (of 129) seems like the Special Olympics (or some such, roll clip):

Now I’m not a huge fan of Obama’s leadership, but he seems like a nice enough guy. And I really don’t think that he meant to insult the Special Olympics or in any other way denigrate those who are physically challenged (or whatever the PC term-of-the-week is). I think he was just making a joke about his own bowling (in)ability. Was it tasteless? Maybe. But was it a gaffe of gigantic proportions that the media and bloggers are making it out to be? Hardly.

This is yet another instance of the overly sensitive public being shocked and dismayed by something that is not “pc.” People are looking for reasons to be offended, reasons to be victims or to make victims of others (for the sole purpose of then defending them in shrill, self-righteous terms). And that’s just ridiculous. Not too long ago (and on a post I didn’t save from my former multiply account), I defended Obama’s reading the cover of a People magazine that Matt Lauer was waving at him during an interview. He read the cover, and the next minute, everyone’s in an uproar that he called Jessica Simpson fat. He did not. And he did not on Leno mean to denigrate the Special Olympics or anyone with a physical disability. He was being charming and self-deprecating.

Now, granted, here’s a man who knows a thing or two about the power of words and the use of language (he does after all know that the term “enemy combatants” is Bush-laden and leans toward Bush’s policies of handling the war on terror as a war rather than isolated events as crimes and the perpetrators as criminals–well, except when they’ve committed no crime and are still “too dangerous” to be released, but that’s a whole other blog post. Wednesday’s in fact). My point being that perhaps this sort of thing will open his and some of his supporters’ eyes to the fact that being so sensitive and so quick to judge and so happy to create victims where there are none has gone too far. Maybe people say things in unscripted moments that are not meant to harm, and surely intention is still of some import?


9 thoughts on “Obama’s Leno Appearance

  1. i know, but why report about those things when you can take the easy route and report about obama making a “controversial” comment or the celebrity du jour?

  2. He has hurt many families in America. He needs to say he is sorry in the public, not to an organization.In addition, someone who claims to have experienced prejudice and stereotypes throughout life, and has written about them in great detail, should be more sensitive and refined from life’s lessons.Furthermore, Obama claimed he was going to have the world think ‘highly’ of America again. Will this joke help?For someone who spoke of equality as a creed. Does this joke match that philosophy?For someone that said he would stand for all people. Does this stand up for those that participate in the special Olympics?The fact is Obama claimed a higher standard. To much is given, much is required.Obama has just showed us that ‘yes we can’ destroy what a campaign stands for with a single joke.During the campaign for the White House in 2008, the media criticized Palin for being ‘common,’ ‘not-polished,’ ‘not-compassionate’ and ‘not presidential.’ However, compare Sarah Palins attitude in this video created three weeks ago for the Special Olympics in Boise, Idaho.You decide the more ‘presidential’ among them:< HREF="http://tinyurl.com/ccz6nj" REL="nofollow">http://tinyurl.com/ccz6nj<>

  3. Hi Pro and thanks for your comments; I would feel the same way if Obama had actually attacked disabled people, but he didn’t. He made a stupid joke, and I have no doubt that he’ll apologize profusely for it (if he hasn’t done so already).As for Palin, you’re preaching to the choir here. 🙂

  4. And actually, Pro, now that I think about, I doubt the media would be trumping up the “impromptu” and “unscripted” elements of last night’s gaffe if it had been Palin. I, however, remain convinced that we are far too sensitive about every little thing that people say. It’s really becoming a liability when people can’t just talk anymore but have to gauge and weigh and worry about every utterance should someone somewhere take offense.

  5. “I, however, remain convinced that we are far too sensitive about every little thing that people say. It’s really becoming a liability when people can’t just talk anymore but have to gauge and weigh and worry about every utterance should someone somewhere take offense.”I would echo this Fuzzy. Do I think Obama should apologise? Yes, I do. There is though this general trend, that you nail completely, to hypersensitivity – looking for reasons to be offended – and this then permeates out quite corrosively into op eds and the political blogosphere. I don’t know how many hours must be spent on back and forths on inconsequential matters, where each sides tries to paint the others as the biggest hypocrites. Polarised opinion leads people to seek out affirming opinions and rebuttals, and ignore those that create cognitive dissonance, which in turns only reinforces the polarisation and this need to seek fault in everything opponents do.

  6. Hey Fabi, I saw on the news last night that Obama called the director of the Special Olympics from Air Force One right after his appearance on Jay Leno. He apologized. I think that should be that on this topic. As you say, there is something far more sinister and divisive at play here, and that’s the way that this sort of hypersensitivity has moved beyond actually trying to help people and into the territory of becoming a weapon. There are real problems with Obama’s leadership and policies, but they are being shelved in favor of stuff like this (that is really of little consequence, as you say).

  7. I do think, too, that the outrage in the blogosphere is indicative of a big problem for Obama; he said in his acceptance speech that he was now everyone’s president and would work to bring us all into the fold. So far, no one wants in, though, and I think that the relentless, biased media coverage during the election went a long way to creating this atmosphere in which the slightest thing he says can and will be attacked by those who didn’t support him and (perhaps as or more importantly) didn’t feel that they got fair coverage of both candidates. I don’t see that changing; much of the country is angry and upset and feel that we got this president by virtue of the media.

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