Proud of Being Ignorant

More

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.

Jump to comments
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. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Do Men Assume They're So Great?

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of this month's Atlantic cover story, sit down with Hanna Rosin to discuss the power of confidence and how self doubt holds women back. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

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

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

From This Author

Just In