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?