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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Obama shouldn’t surrender gadgets

    When Barack Obama takes over the White House early next year, he might be able to bring everything but one of his most beloved possessions: the electronic super-gadget known as the BlackBerry.

    I’m not often in a mode where I need to e-mail, surf the Net, talk on the phone, plan my schedule and watch TV simultaneously, and the very presence of such a wildebeest of modern technology frightens me, but it seems that in this day and age, someone who holds the most important position in the nation might want to have something like a BlackBerry at his disposal.

    On just a campus level, the BlackBerry, known to some as a “”CrackBerry”” for its addictive qualities, can be a massive distraction for teachers and fellow students. They are more geared to working professionals than Joe the student, unless his Ma and Pa have some extra money to shell out. Any time I see one of these yuppified abominations, I want to quickly slap it out of the person’s hand just to see the reaction on his or her face. This might be a time to give a shout-out to classics professor David Soren, who referred to these things as “”fresh fruit”” and encouraged students to put them away before taking a quiz or test. But I digress.

    It’s worth noting that President-elect Obama is an interesting mix of cool and unhip. He considers “”The Godfather”” movies – minus the third installment – his favorite of all-time, but it has also come out fairly recently that he is quite the geek, collecting “”Spider-Man”” and “”Conan the Barbarian”” comics, is a “”Superman”” fan (even posting a picture of himself posed in front of a Superman statue in Metropolis, Ill., on his Senate Web site), is a bit of a Trekkie and made a “”Green Lantern”” reference when talking about both President Bush and Sen. John McCain during the election.

    At first glance, it seems a little silly that Washington would have to rip such a wonderful toy away from a devoted techie, but there is one major reason: a pesky obstacle called the Presidential Records Act.

    According to The Associated Press, both presidents Bush and Clinton were given the “”no e-mail”” kiss of death whilst in office, because the correspondence of the commander-in-chief “”can be subpoenaed by Congress and courts and may be subject to public records laws, so if a president doesn’t want his e-mail public, he shouldn’t e-mail,”” said experts in the article.

    Still, this denies the opportunity for Obama to send “”LOLz”” and “”ROTFLMAO”” to his Cabinet during an important press conference or LoLcats to his daughters when he’s in school. Give this confessed nerd a break!

    According to a report by The New York Times, Obama’s memos and briefing books were usually sent to his BlackBerry for perusal. “”If a document was too long, he would read and respond from his laptop computer, often putting his editing changes in red type,”” aides cited in the Times article said. Although Obama is a subscriber to modern technology, “”his messages to advisers and friends, they say, are generally crisp, properly spelled and free of symbols or emoticons.””

    It’s true that Gov. Sarah Palin’s Yahoo e-mail account was hacked into by a student during this year’s campaign, but something tells me that might not have been the hardest thing in the world to do. The kid probably guessed that the login was SarahBarracuda08, put in “”mavericks”” as the password, and got right in. Oh, to have read some of the brilliance from her in- and outbox. I still need to get that clandestine Palin recipe for moose chili dogs.

    How refreshing it is to have an upcoming president who at the very least is a reader, a thinker – someone who doesn’t read “”The Very Hungry Caterpillar”” before going to bed and is capable of forming rational sentences without a degree of smugness. How refreshing it is to have a leader who is in tune with the outside world, listens to people and, on top of that, wants to have Cabinet members who aren’t in line with his views, just as someone whose name rhymes with Abraham Lincoln did. How refreshing it is to have someone who sees ignorance as Kryptonite. President-elect Obama, may you and your BlackBerry live long and prosper.

    – Matt Wavrin is a media arts senior. He can be reached at

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