Just watched Obama's humorous speech at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner. It took him a little while to get his own jokes... which were pointed. A smiling moment for me came when he made a joke about waking up in the morning and rolling over to ask a man a question. The man he jokingly awoke beside was Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. So it was an NBC joke and a gay joke rolled into one. It was part of the steady desensitization that he has imposed on all of his audiences. It proves my point that Obama is doing the work of culture change even while he is "just talking". He is bringing difficult material to the surface and making light of it. He is bringing us together in a shared joke. The only people who aren't getting it are the ones who are tuned into Fox news instead.
In his speech Obama also likened the doctors of the AMA to flies, talking about how it's easier to catch flies with honey, but it's also OK to use the palm of your hand and a swift downward movement. He spoke of using the guideline "what would a wise Latino do?" and gave us his best Chevy car sales line. It was cute, though a rather different sort of speech than I had seen from him before. I especially appreciated Obama's finale--he talked about the value of objective and current reporting, to help us "meet the challenges of our time". Unfortunately he felt compelled to exit with a god-blessing of America.
The comedian who followed Obama at the podium was a squat, round faced man named John Hodgman. He made the case that the conflict between the jocks and the nerds is the culture war of our time, and that reporters are nerds. He asserted that the Bush regime was entirely jockish. Jock philosophy is based on intense confidence and certainty, and favors gut instinct over bookishness. He lauded president Obama as being the first nerd president of the modern era, in spite of his "dabbling" in basketball. He showed the image of Obama standing limbs akimbo in front of the Superman statue. And then he proceeded to test Obama's nerdishness using Star Trek and Dune references. I guess I'm a nerd, because I totally got it. And I too am excited about the restoration of science and reason to the common square.
May you live long and prosper.