Quick Thoughts on the Obama Interview
1. The dude’s got seriously wacky ears. I mean, I knew before that they were large and stuck out from his head — you can’t miss that — but during the interview I found myself unaccountably fascinated with them. They just, you know, don’t look normal. And I’m fine with that, since I didn’t vote for him on account of his shapely pinnae. Still wacky, though.
2. One thing I find interesting about Obama is that he seems perfectly happy to say “that’s something I’m not going to talk about” when he’s asked a question about something he doesn’t want to talk about. He did that at his first president-elect press conference (on the subject of his security briefings) and he did it again last night on the subject of cabinet appointments. He doesn’t hem or haw or dance around the fact he’s not talking about something, he just says he’s not talking about it. I wonder how long it’s going to take before the press gets really tired of that; they’re used to presidents not saying anything, just in a really long-winded way that gives them something to quote. Obama’s terseness is not to their advantage.
3. I got a big, goofy grin on my face when Obama mentioned that he used to live near Harold’s Chicken Shack. Since he’s in Hyde Park, I know exactly which Harold’s Chicken Shack he’s talking about because I used to live near it too, although not at the same time Obama did (he started teaching at the U of C the year after I left). It’s a little weird to have a president who lives in one of your old neighborhoods and eats at the same fast-food chicken place you did. Also, for the rest of you: Harold’s is the bomb. If you’re not in Chicago, you really don’t know what you’re missing.
4. As I type this I’m having an IM conversation with a friend of mine who is noting that the Obamas are very much like we are, “we” being the polyglot generation of well-educated, relatively affluent 30- and 40-somethings who are the first post-boomer, post-yuppie set of grownups out there. With the caveat that I’m not silly enough to say that I feel like I know Obama or that we share a special bond (a Chicago bond! w00t!), I think my friend is right, and watching the interview last night I certainly got that vibe as well. It’s why — among other reasons, to be sure — I desperately hope he doesn’t screw things up. When you look at your president and for the first time see someone like you, it makes a difference.
Also, I suspect it means I’m getting old. But never mind that now.