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Obama plays the technology dunce card again

Is President Obama really a technology-challenged dunce, or does he just play one on stage?

In his commencement speech at Hampton University on Sunday, Obama again fell back on his tried-and-true gag about not being able to operate popular gadgets before making his broader point.

"With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," he told a class of more than 1,000 graduates. "All of this is not only putting new pressures on you. It is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."

That line about not being able to "know how to work" an iPad or Xbox succeeded in drawing some laughs. But it worked against Obama when the reactions from technology enthusiasts online began pouring in.

Obama "drinks from the 'information overload' Kool-Aid," claimed one blog headline. Having not actually spent time trying to optimize his workflow with a device like the iPad, the president appears to have little basis from which to make such a contentious claim.

So if Obama doesn't know how to use Apple's portable music player -- a product hailed for its ease-of-use, even for a Harvard Law graduate -- was the preelection Rolling Stone magazine article about what's on his iPod a farce?

Come to think of it, his picks did seem a little too varied, uncontroversial and universally respectable to be the real deal. Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris? Give me a break.

Sunday's backlash wasn't unlike the time in November when Obama disappointed his fans online when he told a roomful of Chinese youths, "I have never used Twitter."

That admission hasn't appeared to have slowed down the growth of his "official" Twitter account, for which the Democratic National Committee recently shopped around for a new administrator. It's grown by more than a million followers since then -- from about 2.6 million to 3.9 million.

During that same speech in Shanghai, he went on to say, "My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone." Doesn't look that way from this picture, right, unless A) it was staged, or B) he was composing the following e-mail:

fda jfl;hdsajg  dl;isagjdal;ksf jfjda;rsklg;i asdl;sfjdas;tf das;ik;nlfj asd;afjas f

-- Mark Milian

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Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (3)

The comments to this entry are closed.

"Give me a break."
So, why don't you tell us what is acceptable? Make your list of what is the "real deal" so we can all live according to your standards. After all, apparently you and you alone know what the "real deal" is, no? If it's not on your list then it can't be valid, no? Tell us what edginess we need on our iPod to pass your "real deal" test. Guide us, for many of us with songs by those same artists on our iPod apparently have no clue. Bring on your hipness and lead as down the path.
Ok pumpkin?

Mark Milian-playing the dunce card again. What is your point? Obama should have more rap music because he's black? Why don't you send us all a list on what is acceptable so we don't offend the tastes of people like you. You get paid for this stuff?

a typical hyperbolic liberal chant from rick. nothing insightful there. Yes, I was surprised Mark Milian's "blasphemous" phrase made it in a LA Times website article (not just a comment.) Clearly someone's had enough of the koolaid. I bet if anyone asked him what his favorite Ludacris song is he would fumble on the question and say he likes them all or something generic. Does anyone remember when he fumbled on his question about the White Sox, his so-called "favorite" team?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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