Actually, I find your primitive yet clever Earth technology fascinating. Please, do go on.
March 2, 2010 5:27 PM   Subscribe

A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things, slide show courtesy of New York magazine. Can be divided into two categories: with safety glasses, and without.
posted by Halloween Jack (74 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, this is quite a post you have here. Do you post to Metafilter often?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:34 PM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Meh?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:34 PM on March 2, 2010


It's good practice for feigning interest in electoral promises.
posted by pompomtom at 5:35 PM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


I know for an iron-clad fact that this is a double. But it must have been deleted or there was a glitch in the matrix, because the googles, they do nothing.
posted by DU at 5:36 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seems to be projecting on Obama a bit much. He looks interested enough in the majority of these pictures, and for all we know, he might be genuinely interested. It isn't every day that you get to hear about solar power from the folks actually working on making it a reality.
posted by explosion at 5:37 PM on March 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


This is awesome.
Here, Obama really kicks it up a notch, combining childlike wonder with deep thought to create his most powerful look, deep childlike wonderthought.
posted by XMLicious at 5:39 PM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Haha, he's got a Gollum thing going on in the microscope picture.
posted by Nattie at 5:41 PM on March 2, 2010


"Conjoined Twins: Heads of State"
posted by sallybrown at 5:42 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, Obama and Biden look like they're about to go fight crime in this picture.
posted by Nattie at 5:42 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


As long as we're looking at the Obamas interacting with the electorate:

No, stupid! The Cat in the Hat! What part of Hat don't you understand?
posted by Joe Beese at 5:44 PM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


He looks interested enough in the majority of these pictures, and for all we know, he might be genuinely interested. It isn't every day that you get to hear about solar power from the folks actually working on making it a reality.

Interested? In science?! Boy, that ain't somebody I kin drink a beer with down ta da bar.
posted by DU at 5:47 PM on March 2, 2010


Feign interest? Fools! A good mastermind must know the details of the technology to build his robot army! How else will he take away all your guns?!? Plus the solar power will help save the whales, which he will arm with their own missle silos for true global domination.
posted by yeloson at 5:54 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


HA HA HA HA!! SMART AND INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS PEOPLE ARE STOOPID!!

eh, I chuckled here and there.
posted by NoMich at 5:55 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Although the captions portray Obama as progressively losing interest, the pictures are in reverse chronological order, so the ones in which he's supposedly least interested are from the campaign. Which makes me wish that a collage like this had been assembled for Hillary after Iowa, when he was falling behind and really needed to make the most of every opportunity. I'd love to see a slideshow of Hillary Clinton staring with gobsmacked amazement at every bolt, blinking light and metal sheet she's shown.
posted by Gnarly Buttons at 5:57 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


He looks interested enough in the majority of these pictures, and for all we know, he might be genuinely interested. It isn't every day that you get to hear about solar power from the folks actually working on making it a reality.

Yeah, that bench covered in swarf looks mighty interesting...
posted by Sova at 5:58 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it a power station?
posted by longsleeves at 5:58 PM on March 2, 2010


"Hey, is this where you make swarf? I always wondered where they made that!"
posted by Sova at 5:58 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


He looks interested enough in the majority of these pictures, and for all we know, he might be genuinely interested.

THAT'S%20THE5%20JOKE.JPG
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:00 PM on March 2, 2010


You know who was interested in "mundane things" like this? Mr. Rogers.

He was awesome.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 6:01 PM on March 2, 2010 [17 favorites]


Gnarly Buttons: "I'd love to see a slideshow of Hillary Clinton staring with gobsmacked amazement at every bolt, blinking light and metal sheet she's shown."

By the time she ran for President, she'd already had 8 years of experience feigning interest in the commoners. That's why I was surprised that she wasn't more convincing during episodes like this.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:07 PM on March 2, 2010


“So this is where you do that stuff with the metal, I guess. Nice.”

Damn, they really are projecting. Take your incurious asses back to 2001-2008 where it belongs. Take me on a tour of any of these places and I'd be fascinated.
posted by DU at 6:09 PM on March 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


So this wasn't really all that intrinsically funny, but there is a picture here that made me laugh for a good while. Without revealing which one it was, I'll just say that in the picture I found funny, the person pictured with Obama was an unpleasant, power hungry, inconsiderate man to deal with even indirectly; it brought me great pleasure to see him depicted as boring the president.

Thank you.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:10 PM on March 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


God. I bet you learn about a crazy amount of shit when you're the president. if you're doing it right
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:16 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Unable to open internet site, blah, blah, blah fucking blah.
posted by sfts2 at 6:16 PM on March 2, 2010


That was fun. Now somebody do the same thing for Dubya.
posted by briank at 6:19 PM on March 2, 2010


For the record, I liked it more for the photos than for the original title or captions; the FPP title is basically what I would have captioned every photo in the series.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:23 PM on March 2, 2010


Given the framing of this post I found those fascinating. Then I noticed that there was commentary attached to the photos. Commentary that made me suspect that the New Yorker had discovered an as-yet unknown deep-earth vein of concentrated unfunnium and were industriously converting it into marketable trinkets whose gravitational field of suck is clearly powerful enough to render a mildly amusing B-roll slideshow into what promises to be an oft-cited and well received study of trying too hard.

Amazing really.
posted by Skorgu at 6:30 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Commentary that made me suspect that the New Yorker had discovered an as-yet unknown deep-earth vein of concentrated unfunnium....

Welcome to....what year did the New Yorker start running those cartoons?
posted by DU at 6:32 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


sciencegeek: "Without revealing which one it was, I'll just say that in the picture I found funny, the person pictured with Obama was an unpleasant, power hungry, inconsiderate man to deal with even indirectly; it brought me great pleasure to see him depicted as boring the president."

That's OK. Everyone knows Biden is a jerk.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:32 PM on March 2, 2010


> That was fun. Now somebody do the same thing for Dubya.

I could have sworn I saw a picture of Bush losing his shit with delight while driving a forklift at some factory, but I've scoured google image search to no avail...
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:37 PM on March 2, 2010


When did New York Magasine become Cracked again?
posted by litleozy at 6:41 PM on March 2, 2010


I kind of imagine it as Obama telling Biden about the laundry list of machinations that Obama has inflicted on their doubles, their group of friends, and the universe in general with the aid of the time machine that the pair accidentally created a few weeks before.

Obama: I don't know. I'll tell 'em something. I'll tell 'em we're spraying for bugs or something. It should just be a day or two, anyways.
Biden: I mean, unless you want to bring 'em in.
Obama: No, it's just, I mean, they have their work in there, too.
Biden: You know if Hillary finds out about that or even sees it, she's going to have to take it apart.
Obama: No, I...
Biden: You know I'm just putting a love tweak on it.
Obama: Yeah, I know. No, you're right.
Biden: Barack, it's my garage, okay? It's not like they're paying rent.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:43 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


(Umm, guys? (Skorgu, DU...) New York magazine is NOT The New Yorker magazine.)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:47 PM on March 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


New York Magazine is a separate thing from The New Yorker. Just sayin'.

Also, I've been on factory tours of what should have been horribly boring things to my flighty artsy brain, but with the right person telling you all about them (oftentimes this was my dad, which surely helped) they do indeed become fascinating.

Still, I laughed out loud at the Jar of Dirt.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:47 PM on March 2, 2010


These "perfectly ordinary bolts" are actually kind of awesome, seeing as how you need thirty pound, three foot long wrench to turn them. I always have to giggle when I see one of those (look on the right side).

I would also be pretty happy driving a forklift. I guess that means I'd make a terrible president.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:53 PM on March 2, 2010


braink: That was fun. Now somebody do the same thing for Dubya.

From the comments.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:56 PM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sub in Obama for Bush and run this piece 6 years ago. You thin Dan Amira would have a job come Monday?
posted by clarknova at 7:01 PM on March 2, 2010


Obama struggles to suppress memories of waiting for an hour and a half at Tekserve that one time.

Oh come on, that's funny. Have you ever been to Tekserve?
posted by JaredSeth at 7:02 PM on March 2, 2010


> I guess that means I'd make a terrible president.

I've got this form of narcolepsy where I immediately start to fall asleep whenever someone tries to explain/tell me something I'm not interested in learning, even if I'm not the slightest bit tired. It's like my brain attempts to shut down in self-defense. So I couldn't feign interest in most of this stuff if my life depended on it. I've written this condition down on my "Things That Disqualify Me From Running For Public Office" list, which is approaching book length.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:07 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the one where he is looking at lunch.
posted by danb at 7:19 PM on March 2, 2010


The captions were unfunny but how cool to be able to go around looking at all that stuff. I would love to be able to go around looking at stuff while it's explained to me (in very simple terms, of course).
posted by frobozz at 7:22 PM on March 2, 2010


If I were president, I'd probably spend most of time wandering around asking people to explain things to me.
posted by the bricabrac man at 7:29 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Looks more like an album cover to me.
posted by Flex1970 at 7:43 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


In addition to illuminating NEWS & FEATURES like this collection of photos, the non-mundane mysteries of our world that the editors and readers of New York Magazine do genuinely find interesting: RESTAURANTS-BARS-ENTERTAINMENT-FASHION-SHOPPING
posted by TimTypeZed at 7:51 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, one of those mundane scenes was a fucking rocket engine or some shit.. what the fuck... all of this looks cool.

Bush couldn't even succeed at feigning interest.
posted by odinsdream at 7:56 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once caught a fish THIS BIG.
posted by kimota at 8:11 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


School field trip pictures!
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:13 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The interest in ordinary-people stuff is not always feigned.

I got nothin'. I just like that picture. And I like knowing that you couldn't take a picture like that of Bush because he'd have already flipped the car, started a fire, and somehow released Rodan. Or Laura would have run someone over again. Whatever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:14 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ugh, this is right up there with somehow transforming the words "progressive" and "elite" into bad things. Seriously though, why is it wrong to learn about things now? When did that happen?

Shit, sorry, wanting to know things is bad now, I'll just return my head to the sand.

I don't want to start a whole thing, here, I really don't, it just makes me sad that intellectual curiosity is now being used as a punchline.
posted by dnesan at 8:18 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


At the risk of getting sorta David Brooksian (not a risk to be taken lightly!), it needs to be said this tongue-in-cheek-but-still-kinda-labored tribute to the concept of not being interested in building stuff might say more about the editors of New York magazine than it does about Mr. Obama.
posted by washburn at 8:34 PM on March 2, 2010


I'm so giddy that no one caught this yet (or thought it worth noting here in the comments), but the location in this one is the greatest company name ever.

It's a big multinational, even. Thanks, Google!
posted by yiftach at 8:44 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of these are from the campaign trail — I'm sure he was really interested in all these midwest businesses.
posted by smackfu at 9:27 PM on March 2, 2010


This is the first time the campaign trail has actually looked to me like it might be fun, as if it's an extended field trip to everything cool. I'd even like to know what the deal is with that jar of dirt.

The captions are pretty lousy. The one about the "small jar of urine" might be funnier if the guy holding the jar weren't wearing a shirt with "Bio Diesel" printed across the chest.
posted by sculpin at 9:57 PM on March 2, 2010


A picture says a thousand words.

Unfortunately, in this case, they're all the wrong words.
posted by armage at 10:06 PM on March 2, 2010


This is me feigning interest in that slideshow.
posted by bwg at 10:34 PM on March 2, 2010


Ok, I found the slideshow hilarious. I get that Obama is an intelligent fellow, and probably at least a little bit curious about most things shown here - but sometimes it must be hard for him to keep his eyes open. Much like me when my bosses break out Powerpoint to go over the quarterly report (I'm an engineer).
posted by Harald74 at 11:38 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found it amusing. I also had to endure (two, actually) 2-3 hour tours of all of the different areas of my current workplace. I find the stuff that my company does Really Interesting but some of the nitty gritty stuff is Really Boring. Plus the presentations were in Japanese.

As neat as all of these things can be, I would bet dollars to donuts in some of those he was actually bored or tuning out, even if he was finding the overall concept interesting. It can be particularly bad when you don't have a particularly engaging person leading you around.
posted by that girl at 11:47 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, why is it wrong to learn about things now? When did that happen?

As best I can recall, it was around third grade when being interested in learning and doing well at school became totally uncool. I don't understand it any better now than I did then.
posted by usonian at 3:51 AM on March 3, 2010


The one about the "small jar of urine" might be funnier if the guy holding the jar weren't wearing a shirt with "Bio Diesel" printed across the chest.

That guy's got half the Large Hadron Collider sticking out of his ears and you focused on his shirt?
posted by kittyprecious at 4:38 AM on March 3, 2010


This reminds me of middle school field trips to such exciting places as the sewage treatment plant and a bog. I couldn't feign interest then and I was being graded on that shit. (In the case of the sewage plant, I mean that literally.)

Were this me, it would be a slideshow of me wandering off to look for a snack.

I've got to wonder though; do the people with the cow feed honestly believe that he's interested, or are they also going through the motions? "This dude is trying to be the leader of a large nation, but man, does he ever want to know about our COW FEED."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:59 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


New York magazine is NOT The New Yorker magazine.

You've upset the world unfunnium futures market! Down nine percent against pig bellies! (read: d'oh).
posted by Skorgu at 6:36 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meh. A little too much "HAW HAW BLUE COLLAR WORK IS STUPID AND BORING" for me. I would be president just so I could do stuff like this.

"Of course I can drive the forklift. Are you going to tell the president no? Fuck OSHA, they'll have a new director if you get cited."
posted by electroboy at 8:19 AM on March 3, 2010


Guide: Many interesting and important things have been put into boxes over the years: textiles, other boxes, even children's candy.

Obama: Do any of these boxes have candy in them?

Guide: No.

Obama: Will they ever?

Guide: No, we only make boxes to ship nails. Any other questions?

Obama: When will we be able to see a finished box, sir?

Guide: Well, we don't assemble them here -- that's done in Flint, Michigan.

posted by kirkaracha at 9:16 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I had a camera handy, I would take a picture of myself reading this thread.
posted by inigo2 at 9:29 AM on March 3, 2010


In number 9 he actually looks interested. Or maybe is really good at acting. Or posing.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:35 AM on March 3, 2010


If I had a camera handy, I would take a picture of myself reading this thread.

Thanks to the magic of PhotoBooth: I feign interest in your thread.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:44 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, that jar of dirt is pretty interesting, as is the gentleman demonstrating it.
posted by dust of the stars at 1:11 PM on March 3, 2010


Okay, so in the lead blurb to the slideshow, the writer compares the President of the US being shown things to someone forcing interest in a friends apartment.

I'm sorry. I thought when people saw my place for the first time, and ASKED for a tour, they were, at the very least, mildly interested. I thought, when I went somewhere new, and asked for a tour, that I was interested. I thought a fascinating view from an apartment was fascinating, or when I was interested in someone's library, it was interesting. At least to me. Turns out everyone is lying! Even me!

Boy what a fool I've been!
posted by sandraregina at 2:21 PM on March 3, 2010


If that person spent all day every day touring apartments, do you really think they would be genuinely interested in yours?
posted by smackfu at 3:06 PM on March 3, 2010


Also keep in mind that one of the reasons why people are interested in your apartment is to compare it to theirs, in case they feel like moving out. Of course, Obama could be thinking, "Hmmm... if this prez gig doesn't work out, I could take my work home, point it at my neighbor who's always pumping up the bass, and once I've got his attention, "Hey, motherfucker, they're called headphones!" Well, that's what I'd do.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:39 PM on March 3, 2010


I could see being bored for a school field trip. But Obama probably spends about 15 minutes tops at any of these places and everything has already been vetted by an aide or two.

I find it a little worrisome that a journalist at a somewhat major magazine has such little curiosity that their entire article feels like they are on the wrong end of a blond joke.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 12:16 AM on March 4, 2010


Boredom is an appropriate response...half this shit is probably pie-in-the-sky hogwash that will disappear within five years. The trouble is, Obama (or whatever political suit) doesn't know which half.
posted by telstar at 2:19 AM on March 4, 2010


NY Mag needs to do a compare and contrast with these photos of Kim Jong-il
posted by Adam_S at 2:26 PM on March 12, 2010


I'm glad I wasn't the only one to think that when I saw those pictures, Adam_S.
posted by that girl at 6:10 PM on March 13, 2010


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