Proud of Being Ignorant

This "telephone" has too many shortcomings 

to be seriously considered as a means of communication. 
The device is inherently of no value to us.
--Western Union memo sent to Alexander Graham Bell

Heh. Thought of that when I saw this comment Obama made at Hampton is drawing fire:

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.

The Wire has a few good reacs. For my part, I think it's a bad idea to brag about your lack of knowledge of any of these things. There's nothing inherently more threatening about an X-Box than the movie theater. But this just feels like the kind of faux-fogiesm that Obama engages in from time to time, particularly when he's talking to black people. It just doesn't seem serious (wasn't Reggie Love updating Obama's iPod on the campaign trail?) and knee-jerk. The iPad inclusion is just bizarre, and comes across as really ignorant. Why not throw the blackberry in there, too.

Too much should not be made of this, but this "video games are ruining our kids" always strikes me as little more than snobbery. Or put differently, "I don't understand it, so I'll denigrate it." There are no good old days.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis. The only problem? He has to prove it works.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Technology

From This Author

Just In