Barack Obama – purveyor of hope, standard bearer for a generation of young voters, "BlackBerry President," and now, apparent enemy of the Apple iPad and iPod. On Sunday, at a commencement speech at Virginia's Hampton University, President Obama warned that the same tech revolution that swept in a swath of cool gizmos could be threatening the very foundations of American democracy.
"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't rank all that high on the truth meter," Obama told the Hampton students. OK. We also dislike things that don't rate high on the truth meter! We also don't like talking heads! So far, so good.
But then Obama decided to tee off on certain products that we hold dear to our hearts.
"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," Obama said. "All of this is not only putting new pressures on you. It is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."
But hey, wait a second. We thought Obama liked Apple. Remember, this is the guy who went to England, and gave the Queen an iPod, loaded up with video from Her Majesty's 2007 trip to the US. And this is a guy who, back in 2008, during the height of the presidential election, happily shared the content of his iPod with the reporters of Rolling Stone magazine.
Included on Obama's iPod? Bruce Springsteen, Ludacris, and Bob Dylan. "Actually, one of my favorites during the political season is 'Maggie's Farm,'" Obama said of the famous Dylan track. "It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric."
We're not hubristic enough to believe Obama reads this blog. But if he did, we'd have this advice to offer him: Be nice to Apple.
Or else you might be forced to deliver an on-air apology to Apple. Just ask Ellen DeGeneres.