Maureen Dowd satirizes Obama’s 'peak Spock’

I haven’t read the memoir by Ben Rhodes about the post-election reactions of President Obama to Donald Trump’s victory, a book that took 17 months to write and publish. But among the gems excerpted widely in the media is the account of what Obama supposedly said to Rhodes hours after the election was called: “There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth.”

As many have noted, this is completely fatuous, an attempt to appear wise and far-seeing, without saying anything at all. But star columnist Maureen Dowd begins her New York Times column today citing this gem of pseudo-profundity with the words: “It was a moment of peak Spock.”

This gives Obama far too much credit, for Spock’s character was highly intelligent, yet emotionless. Obama’s words reveal defensiveness and fakery, a retreat to his safe space of uttering pabulum that is greeted by his fans as profundity because of his deep voice, rounded tones, and air of superiority. The words were less “peak Spock,” than “peak Professor Irwin Corey.”  

For those who do not remember him in his prime, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Corey billed himself as “The world’s foremost authority,” and made a stand-up comedy career lecturing audiences in doubletalk, satirizing those who claim to be experts. In this age of failed elites railing against a plain speaking billionaire, his time has come. Corey, who died only last year, must not have liked President Trump, for Corey was a supporter of the Castro regime and communist/socialists causes. When his career was hot, it was rebellious to poke fun at the dominant culture and figures, who were anti-communist. But in the current era, with progressives controlling the entire cultural, academic, and media apparatus, poking fun at authority figures is almost inherently conservative.

Just who was being satirized when Corey, at age 97 in 2011, was begging for change from Manhattan motorists? To send to Cuba:

He is a familiar sight, the old man who solicits change from drivers stopped at a red light on East 35th Street in Midtown Manhattan every day near Third Avenue.

After all, he has been at it for 17 years now, seven days a week. With the help of a walker, he hobbles between lanes of traffic, approaching drivers, proffering newspapers — often a free paper collected from boxes on the sidewalk nearby — and asking for change.

“Help a guy out?” he repeated on a recent Wednesday afternoon to drivers who would often hand over a dollar or some change and then zoom off. (snip)

Mr. Corey lives in a cozy 1840 carriage house on East 36th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues that he estimates he could sell for $3.5 million. He returns there each afternoon and empties half a dozen pockets bulging with small change and dollar bills. On a recent day, he spread the money on his dining room table and counted it slowly: $106.19. He wrote down the amount on a carefully kept list of his daily takes and then added the money to desk drawers loaded with hundreds of rolls of coins and long rows of bundled dollar bills.


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