The First Nerd President of the Modern Era

As those of you who follow my blog regularly – and I know there are at least five of you… well, at least two… gee, it could be as many as eight-five… but I digress.

Those of you who follow my blog know that one of my favorite means of consuming information and news is the podcast – a medium I enjoy as I travel around the city via subway, bus, and foot – saving me from doing no fewer than two things at a time.

I partake of all kinds of podcasts: AdAge 3 minute casts, Cynthia Turner In Your Ear Cynopses, NYT Front Page, etc. It’s like the Cliff Notes of news, except that I don’t have to know how to read.

Well, one of the podcasts on my top-ten lineup is “Green 960 – Rachel Maddow,” and this afternoon, I had the good fortune of having a business meeting on the east side of Central Park, which compelled me to walk home through the Park. And, hence, I had the opportunity to hear Maddow’s rebroadcast of John Hodgman’s talk at the Radio and TV Correspondent’s Dinner last week.

Barack Obama, with a photo of himself in front of a Superman statue, and a deep knowledge of Star Trek salutes and facts, seems to be the first nerd president. A nerd president being to a jock president what a blogger is to a radio talk show host, gravitating toward “complexity and bookish rumination” rather than “gut instinct, intense confidence and surety.” But yet, he plays sports. And not just bowling, but basketball – making Mr. Hodgman’s assessment of the president somewhat more complicated. After spending four days in deeply red country as a supremely ill-qualified defender of liberal politics, this was a refreshing return to the familiar territory of satirical blue humor – not to mention a quite comfortable temperature in the 80s rather than the high 90s.

But let’s get back to safer territory – for example, Hodgman’s direct allusion to social media. Within his overview of the nerd culture, he notes that it has come to pass that “the state of Iran is somehow deeply entwined with the sleep schedule of the programmers of Twitter and Youtube.” Phew.

And with that, I hereby share with you Hodgman’s quite smart, quite witty, dare I say thought provoking talk at the TV and Radio Correspondent’s Dinner. Live long, live hands-free, and prosper:


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