The geek-in-chief has a problem with technology. Who knew?
President Obama -- whose campaign was an online juggernaut and whose love of all things comic book, Star Trek and most recently Avatar is well-documented -- went on a tear against gadgets and gizmos over the weekend, telling a graduating class in Virginia to beware the vice of video games and portable music players.
He used the speech to warn that new media and new technology are "putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy." And that's not all ... The president told the assembled throng he doesn't know how to use any of those products.
"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter," Obama said during the commencement address at Hampton University on Sunday. "And with iPods and iPads and 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."
Maybe the president threw that line in to make John McCain, his former e-mail illiterate opponent, feel better. But Obama disavowing technology is kind of like Donald Trump saying he can't make change.
The president has a known addiction to his BlackBerry (a.k.a. BOTUS -- Blackberry of the United States), which he could not and would not part with when he entered the White House, despite security concerns. He admitted "clinging" to it last year -- kind of like voters who "cling" to guns and religion.
He also owns an iPod, meaning that he knows how to use one -- unless he depends on the Secret Service to hit the shuffle button while he's out jogging.
He told The Associated Press after Michael Jackson died that "I still have all his stuff on my iPod." During the campaign, he revealed his playlist to Rolling Stone, which at the time included a lot of Jay-Z and Bob Dylan. And he once found the iPod a device befitting royalty. He gave one to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift when he visited London last spring.
Rewind some more.
Obama's campaign had a huge presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, using 24/7 media to reach his army of supporters at a moment's notice. The Black Eyes Peas' Will.I.Am cut a music video in his honor that tore through YouTube.
And as for Obama's supposed distaste for video game consoles, Obama's campaign bought ad space shortly before the 2008 election in 18 video games. Anyone burning rubber through the Xbox Live version of "Need for Speed: Carbon" at the time would have come across a digital billboard telling them about early voting.
The day after Obama told Hampton University grads to watch out for technology, the White House used Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and WhiteHouse.gov to promote his nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.