Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obliging the Future

Geeks everywhere are playing John Hodgman's (aka, "I'm a PC" guy on the Mac commercials) poignant roast of President Obama at the 65th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner. Original video here. His part begins 54 minutes in. His closing remarks were both haunting and reflective:
You are clearly NOT the person we hoped you would be... and perhaps it was wrong and impractical and unrealistic for us to lay such hopes upon you. The realty is, we are geeks. We are defined by our passions and our enthusiasms, but also by our open mindedness. Now is not a time for purity tests. But I am nervous. I am nervous because this is a beginning. Princess Irulan said, "A beginning is a delicate time." And it is unsettling to realize that the difficult time we are in is not a triumph of the nerds, this is not the end of something happening. This is the beginning of a long journey. And many of the categories that we have used to define ourselves and divide ourselves are evaporating. And while that is exciting, it is also unsettling and scary.

In many ways, the talk radio show hosts are correct, the President is a complete mystery to me but no more so than the future itself. And as I am a geek, I am obliged to embrace the future. So I am happy to turn to the President and extend what I consider to be the most American of greetings.

Sir, though we may not always agree, "I have been, and shall always be, your friend. Live long and prosper!"
We must prepare students, they are inheriting a vastly different world from the one we knew.