Saturday, October 10, 2009

Enter POTUS.

The more I think about this whole thing with Obama, the more amazing I find it to be, in the most literal sense of the term. The man is barely old enough to play baseball on my 45-and-over team, and he has already been elected President of the United States, has a Nobel Prize on his White House mantle... I mean, what's left? Honestly, it wouldn't even surprise me anymore if the World Series comes down to the ninth inning of Game 7 in Yankee Stadium, the bullpen door flies opens, Enter Sandman blares from the stadium PA system...and out to close, instead of Mo Rivera, walks Barack Obama.

Speaking of which, if you've been watching the playoffs, did anyone else happen to notice that promo he's apparently doing for George Lopez' forthcoming TBS show? WTF?


roger o'keefe said...

He's become a phenomenon unto himself, Steve. That is your answer. He is Mr. Charm and he's seen as the right man at the right time in the philosophical and cultural senses, leaving everything else aside. He's the Pied Piper or some kind of guru to people. Maybe even the Second Coming or the Anti-Christ. I truthfully think it doesn't even have anything to do with politics anymore. It's all aura with him.

Athol Kay said...

I just think the Nobel Peace Prize was a generalized good behavior award for America for not electing another Republician President.

Cal said...

I'll weigh in late to the party on this topic. This may be the worst thing to ever have happened to Obama. It's kind of like I read that Ken Lewis of Bank of America was Banker of the Year several times in the past and "60 Minutes" did a story about how great he was just before he was forced (in my opinion) to buy Merrill Lynch. Obama may be doomed-- I guess I believe in reverse indicators. Something "unpeaceful" will blow up somewhere: it could be here in the States due to the economic crisis and the no-win wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the usual Israel-Palestinian conflict.

I'm with Tyro's comments from the previous post -- I wasn't aware that Kissinger won the same award until I read it in the NY Times. And then Martin Luther King, Jr. won it, and he didn't die peacefully that's for sure.

Speaking of the NY Times, I assume that Steve has read (or will read) the article about Barbara Ehrenreich's new book about the negative consequences of self-help. In the article they mention a group of authors who have written books on the same topic and they call themselves "The Negatives". I nominate Steve Salerno to this group, and I'm saying this in the most "positive way". :)

Elizabeth said...

Aren't we exaggerating the importance of this prize just a bit? Why do we get so googly-eyed about all prizes and awards (Oscars, Pulitzer, etc.)?

Any award is always arbitrary, given by a jury (usually relatively small) made of fallible people with their own subjective judgments and inner and political agendas. For every worthy (or not) winner, there is a whole bunch of equally if not more worthy "losers." And we bicker and criticize and carry on as if these awards really meant all that much. Back to middle-school again?

BTW, in 1938, the top candidates for Nobel Peace Prize were Gandhi and this natural-born-peacemaker Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the committee went with a third choice. The war criminal Kissinger also won the prize. So this is not a sure ticket to heavenly glory, though, yes, it increases one's popularity and income.

But let's get some perspective here: there is no difference between the day before Obama got awarded the prize and the day after (save the many heads exploding in-between). We are still in the deep doo-doo created by Bush&Co (though not exclusively), and even if Obama were a miracle worker (and he isn't), he could not reverse the damage in years, much less in 100 days. So yes, he'll get the medal and the money (which he'll donate to charity), but the world will keep doing what it's been doing with or without Obama's Nobel or any other prizes. There is a lot of work for Obama and the rest of us, and plenty of difficult decisions to make. I don't envy the guy, and somehow I don't think he is terribly pleased or impressed with the award. Well, he said as much himself.

Now on to Roger's claim that Obama is seen as "some kind of guru to people." I don't get it, frankly. As a liberal, I must be moving in the wrong circles, because I don't see any fellow liberals who'd see Obama as a guru, savior, etc. The only people I hear these claims from are those on the right. Which makes me wonder why they need to create this bogeyman -- Holy Obama! -- to distort the reality. As a straw man to knock down? A projection of their own wishes or fears? What purpose does it serve to demonize/mythologize him so, and then accuse others for doing it? Strange.

In fact, the most critical and cogent (the latter the key word here) commentaries against Obama's Nobel came from the left: Naomi Klein, Glenn Greenwald, even Michael Moore, and many others.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to the complexity, Alfred Nobel made the money that funds the Peace Prize from producing gunpowder and other war materiel.

No wonder POTUS is ambivalent about acceptance.

Anonymous said...

Obama must win a Pulitzer to complete his trophy case.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 3:04: The sad part is that lots of people win Pulitzers who--in my opinion--shouldn't. Too often the Pulitzer becomes a celebration of the bizarre.