I have watched and re-watched the clip of Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, uttering those off-color remarks about the Special Olympics during last week’s taped appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (here). Casting the incident in its most positive light, even his supporters commenting on the blogs concede, this was an attempt at self-deprecating humor gone awry. But I want to offer a different interpretation of the offensive exchange.
BO made that nasty comment – “This is like Special Olympics or something” – after Jay responded to his statement, he had bowled a 129. See, he said he bowled 129; Jay jabbed, “That’s very good,” quickly followed by a sideways glance over at Kevin, fingers placed on his lips, as if to squelch a laugh; and a head turn back to his guest to repeat the sequence, with exaggerated sincerity. “No, that’s very good,” and then the glance-to-Kevin-fingers-over-mouth-to-keep-from-laughing maneuver, propping up his act with half-hearted clapping. BO, who had been smiling broadly, now chuckled aloud and, reaching out his left hand to touch Jay’s right sleeve, countered with the offensive remarks: “This is like Special Olympics or something.”
I believe that, unable to tolerate what appeared to me to be Jay’s good-humored mocking at the revelation of his bowling performance, BO drew a false parallel between the comedian’s reaction and the response of spectators attending the Special Olympics. That is, he wrongly likened Jay’s obviously insincere exaggerated ‘praise’ of his low bowling score to the genuine overwhelming pride pouring from spectators cheering on the athletic accomplishments of Special Olympians.
Only a mental health professional could provide words to adequately convey the depravity that is all things Obama.