Thursday, May 3, 2012

Who Is Obama? Meet the First Girlfriend

By Ben Shapiro

It only took nearly six years for the media to begin vetting President Obama’s past.

Today, Vanity Fair released an excerpt from a new biography of Barack Obama by David Maraniss. The excerpt discusses Barack Obama's first love affair, with a white Australian woman named Genevieve Cook. It's a telling examination of who Obama was as a young man -- and it shows a self-absorbed "internationalist" with delusions of grandeur.
The book itself sounds like an ode to Obama. Maraniss writes, “At age 20, Obama was a man of the world … He could not be of one place, rooted and provincial.” No, says Maraniss, this was a broadminded young man who “knew the ways of different cultures better than he knew himself.”
When he first moved to New York, he was in the midst of an affair with Alexandra McNear, a girl from Occidental. They exchanged a series of purple letters with one another – turgid missives from overfevered young minds. Here, for example, is tendentious Obama explaining poetry to his young girlfriend:
I haven’t read “The Waste Land” for a year, and I never did bother to check all the footnotes. But I will hazard these statements—Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats. However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time. Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order, he accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this. Read his essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets, when he’s less concerned with depicting moribund Europe, to catch a sense of what I speak. Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—Eliot is of this type. Of course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep fatalism, not ignorance. (Counter him with Yeats or Pound, who, arising from the same milieu, opted to support Hitler and Mussolini.) And this fatalism is born out of the relation between fertility and death, which I touched on in my last letter—life feeds on itself. A fatalism I share with the western tradition at times. You seem surprised at Eliot’s irreconcilable ambivalence; don’t you share this ambivalence yourself, Alex?
No doubt literary critics who love Obama will hail this as a penetrating analysis of the Poundian era. It’s more like sludge.
Nonetheless, Obama was clearly a smart guy. He was also a self-absorbed guy, writing passages like this:
Moments trip gently along over here. Snow caps the bushes in unexpected ways, birds shoot and spin like balls of sound. My feet hum over the dry walks. A storm smoothes [sic] the sky, impounding the city lights, returning to us a dull yellow glow. I run every other day at the small indoor track [at Columbia] which slants slightly upward like a plate; I stretch long and slow, twist and shake, the fatigue, the inertia finding home in different parts of the body. I check the time and growl—aargh!—and tumble onto the wheel. And bodies crowd and give off heat, some people are in front and you can hear the patter or plod of the steps behind. You look down to watch your feet, neat unified steps, and you throw back your arms and run after people, and run from them and with them, and sometimes someone will shadow your pace, step for step, and you can hear the person puffing, a different puff than yours, and on a good day they’ll come up alongside and thank you for a good run, for keeping a good pace, and you nod and keep going on your way, but you’re pretty pleased, and your stride gets lighter, the slumber slipping off behind you, into the wake of the past.
Well, then. As Maraniss admits, “Obama was the central character in his letters, in a self-conscious way, with variations on the theme of his search for purpose and self-identity.” In other words, he would have been a snore to have a beer with. 


  1. If you really believe BO wrote this drivel, then you are to gullible to even have a conversation about his presidency...

  2. unfortunately this always happens, I guess like Mark Twain said the lies are half way round the world before the truth is thinking about getting up. Now its a bit too late.

  3. Anonymous at 7:09 AM might be right.

    I'm not to (sic) gullible, but the real Obama would have more grammatical/spelling errors and would be less successful with the attempts at pseudo-intellectual gibberish...

    I suspect he was then (as he is now) much more familiar with pop culture than dead white poets.

    1. Sorry about to "to" - read it and went into rant mode... ;-)

  4. I am surprised that people believe this image manipulation exercise to make us believe that this president is a lyricist at heart, a profound thinker and a creative genius who later became a pragmatic political strategist and won the presidency by the strength of his character and steely determination. Anyone who knows madison avenue can clearly see that this is an attempt to appeal to both the centrists and mindless hippy wings of the left. So, they make you think that he has all the attributes of a good leftist (dreamy, creative, idealistic) but latter acquired the great qualities of "great" leaders like churchill, Stalin etc (political strategy, narcissism, steely reserve).

    This is total Hogwash. He is not that bright and I am sure he does not have such an interesting history. He has been groomed to become the president by the powers that be. The guy cannot put two sentences together without his teleprompter and we are supposed to believe that he is a complicated, brilliant, once idealistic, conflicted super achiever who took a circuitous path to his true passion that is political leadership? Sounds like some desperate attempt by a ad agency to make us think that BO is batman or the Hulk!!!!

  5. Next we'll hear that BO wrote a brilliant 19-volume commentary on Shakespeare when he was 16, but it mysteriously dissappeared when he went to college.

    Seriously, this is a guy who's much more likley to comment on the NFL playoffs or Kanye's latest controversy than Proust or Goethe.

  6. Someone should ask the girlfriend if it is true what they say about those people (Like Lili von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles).

    Or I guess in his case, only half true.