the glossies

Tales Of Youthful Barack Obama Nerd Love

I hate America so muchVanity Fair is out with the megahot megastory of the day: Barack Obama had girlfriends when he was a young man in New York City. Figures. And writer David Maraniss even contacted some of these ladies and got them to hand over the ol’ love letters and journals. (This was in the Ancient Times, before people showed their love by clicking buttons on computers.) It’s predictable Obama musings — wah wah I am conflicted between different things wah wah, and also I know a lot about poets and stuff, wah.

Obama spent a summer shackin’ up with this one gal, Alex McNear, “a young woman from Occidental who had enchanted Obama when she was co-editing the literary magazine Feast.” Oh God. “Alex was interested in postmodern literary criticism, and her arguments brimmed with the deconstructionist ideas of Jacques Derrida, the French philosopher. In one letter she told Obama that she was writing a paper in her modern-poetry class at Occidental about T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land.’” Oh God. And what did you think about “The Waste Land,” Obama? “I haven’t read ‘The Waste Land’ for a year,” he starts. He is so Columbia, yikes:

I haven’t read “The Waste Land” for a year, and I never did bother to check all the footnotes. But I will hazard these statements—Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats. However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time. Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order, he accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this. Read his essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets, when he’s less concerned with depicting moribund Europe, to catch a sense of what I speak. Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—Eliot is of this type. Of course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep fatalism, not ignorance. (Counter him with Yeats or Pound, who, arising from the same milieu, opted to support Hitler and Mussolini.) And this fatalism is born out of the relation between fertility and death, which I touched on in my last letter—life feeds on itself. A fatalism I share with the western tradition at times. You seem surprised at Eliot’s irreconcilable ambivalence; don’t you share this ambivalence yourself, Alex?

That’s got to be the quintessential Obama pick-up line: “Don’t you share this ambivalence yourself?” Ranks right up there with, “Don’t you see this as a social construct?” or “UHHHHHH look,” at least.

[Vanity Fair]

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About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

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152 comments

    1. WunkRocker

      Ann Coulter to equate shacking up with ladies to gay bath house sexytime in 3…2…1…

      1. Jus_Wonderin

        I am at that age where I smear Vaseline on the lens. "I am ready for my close up………and all."

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    Was he miscegenating? Because if he was, the righties will be short-stroking this shit all over the place.

    1. actor212

      Well, this could be tricky, because the article here says he was "shacking up," but then Bristol is in a trial marriage so there could be blowback.

      Errrr, no pun intended…

      1. NellCote71

        OT. But do you know what Levi and his ladyfriend have picked for their girl baby's name? Breeze Beretta. I am not making this up.

        1. Barb

          Yes, and Levi and Sunny are already starting to set up their nest. They have four empty Cool Whip tubs and now they can scratch "salad bowl set" off their wedding registry at Big Lots.

        2. Schmannnity

          Ooooh, a new naming convention: middle name after a gun manufacturer. I hope the second daughter is Stormy Glock.

        3. elviouslyqueer

          And somewhere, most likely a Wasilla titty bar, a pole is being reserved with this name etched on it.

    2. notgross

      Well, the Right always likes to remind us he is "half white" so they can't use that against him.

    3. timbo71351

      No shit. That was my biggest fear in 2008 — that some white woman would come out the woodwork with tales how a young Barry screwed her and never called her back, or cheated on her with another girl and lied about it. You know, the sort of dumb bullshit that all college dudes do. Except in this case, Fox News would turn it into "He lied to his white girlfriend when he was 21. Can we really trust this man?"

      1. Redhead

        No, Fox News would turn it into "Obama lies to white people to advanced the NAACP's secret terrorist pact/agenda with Al Quaeda. All the time."

  2. actor212

    Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats

    Not surprisingly, that's the starting forward line for the Oxford basketball five

  3. Goonemeritus

    Big deal I’m sure George W Bush’s early love letters were full of references to impressionist poets.

  4. chicken_thief

    "…a sense of what I speak."

    WTF, Barry? Ya go to college in 18th century England or wha?!!

    Also, too, needz moar "send pics of yer tits".

  5. actor212

    You seem surprised at Eliot’s irreconcilable ambivalence; don’t you share this ambivalence yourself, Alex?

    "Come up to my room. Let me show you my etchings."

  6. OC_Surf_Serf

    Rumour has it that Romney mansioned-up with a woman in France but he just quoted The Book of Mormon and Horse Husbandry Quarterly to her.

    (and I read the whole dang article, too, my fellow snarksters!)

    1. Barb

      Good morning, OC! The day holds great promise for us all. I'm not going to bust on you.

      1. OC_Surf_Serf

        Thank you Madam. This is why you and Jeff don't fight.

        See, I was drinking and commenting before 7am.

        Barb, I have learned my lesson: I will wait until 9am to comment…

  7. Eve8Apples

    My suggestion – Cut the intellectual mumbo jumbo and just sing the Al Green songs.

    1. ThundercatHo

      My thought exactly. I enjoy listening to the nerd stuff as well although my tastes run more to the sciences but the Al Green singing immediately activates the libido.

  8. SnarkoMarx

    Wow. If Otter could talk like that the girls at Emily Dickinson College would have stood even less of a chance.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Did you ever read The National Lampoon Highschool Yearbook? It's hilarious on its own – and much of it later appeared in that movie.

      1. Dudleydidwrong

        Right. It may be the funniest thing ever published. I'm glad that someone else has extremely refined taste in great literature. You're not related to Madison Avenue "Zippy" Jones, are you?

        1. Tundra Grifter

          After we got ripped one evening I showed a couple of my friends my copy and told them it was my high school yearbook. Obviously, I had to turn it over so the no-panties cheerleader wasn't on the cover.

          They more or less believed it until Jerry saw the page of freshmen photos the size of postage stamps (or, these days, Wonkette icons). Then they knew they'd been had.

      2. SnarkoMarx

        Yes, having been a teenager in the seventies I think I probably purchased and read (multiple times) every single thing National Lampoon ever published.

    1. Baconzgood

      I was always partial to "Wrap your thighs around my eyes so I can give my tounge some exercise". But I'm a romantic.

    2. chicken_thief

      Prolly more effective than the Hermanator's "you want some help with your English Lit, doncha?"

    3. elviouslyqueer

      Bitches love panty fire

      And behold, my new Village People tribute band name. Back the fuck off, all of you.

    4. Tundra Grifter

      Until you have to go see your doctor and take penicillin for a couple of weeks.

  9. SorosBot

    Wait, poetry is a way to a girl's heart? But according to the conservatives it's treating her like crap, expecting her to act as your servant and giving her diamonds in return.

    1. MissTaken

      Poetry is the way into a smart girl's heart. But if you are looking to get into a hot, dumb girl's panties try Midori sours.

      1. SorosBot

        And I think the way to get into a dumb guy's boxers are Bud Lite and football statistics.

        1. Chichikovovich

          There's also the time-tested phrase "I want to get into your boxers now." Though it might be wise to add "That means fucking, by the way." To avoid misunderstanding.

          1. Chichikovovich

            I'm flattered, thanks. My own best guess is that it comes from too many pucks to the forehead back in my goaltending days.—

    2. chicken_thief

      They didn't include his final line in the excerpt:

      "Oh, ya. Bitch, make me a sammich."

  10. ttommyunger

    Sounds just like something Dubya would have penned back in his college days, except he would have branded it into someone's skin with a red-hot coat hangar, you know, for shits and giggles…

    1. Designer_Rants

      I was under the impression he spent his entire Yale experience masturbating in a dungeon coffin while singing Skull & Bones chants through a beer bong tube? I should stop reading HuffPo.

  11. Doktor StrangeZoom

    a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order

    Oh, like Occupy Wall Street or Mittbot3000?

  12. TX_Bluebonnets

    Obama WIN!

    He's got it down perfect–how to be intellectual, aloof, and 'not immediately interested in sex' enough to charm his way around any smart girl's panties or bra clasps.

    This sort of intellectual pettifoggery makes college English majors swoon. Which is part of why I majored in history.

    But if he really is this darn smart, why all the caving in to racist inbred flat earth toadies? And banks, wtf?

    1. elviouslyqueer

      This sort of intellectual pettifoggery makes college English majors swoon.

      HELL yes. And FAP FAP FAP FAP FAP too, as well, also.

    2. UnholyMoses

      As an English major (x2, even!) I found his letter quite interesting.

      Of course, I just asked girls if they'd like to grab a bite and a beer sometime.

      And it worked. Oh dear how it worked so very, very well — hell, so well that I even married one of them!

      **flashes back to his absurdly fun college years**

  13. Baconzgood

    (wrong post)

    Dear chick that has the nice legs who sits next to me in English 101,

    I like u. I'm thinking we'd make a nice time together. If you want to go out and get a beer with me check this box.

    -George W. Bush College Love letter-

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      Was that the first time he took English 101, or the second time? That bonehead English is tough shit!

  14. Doktor StrangeZoom

    I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD*

    APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
    Teabaggers out of the dead land…

    *Bin Laden, especially. I killed him, you know.

  15. Jus_Wonderin

    (This was in the Ancient Times, before people showed their love by clicking buttons on computers.)

    Anthony W?

  16. SorosBot

    Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney released one of his college love letters:

    Dear female person;

    I'm really, really rich.

    1. MissTaken

      I first read that as "I really, really itch"

      Obviously I need another cup of coffee.

      1. jqheywood

        And I now need a new keyboard…the old one is now <ick> covered in partially chewed apple bits that spewed from my mouth when I read your comment.

    2. Baconzgood

      Hey. For some women that works. Not the type of women that Baconz's into but there are some women (*coughs Callista Gingrich*) that it works for.

    3. PhilippePetain

      "Female unit, it is expected of Romney that he have many offspring. For this, he can trade financial stability, boop beep boop boop."

  17. Mumbletypeg

    I want to know what poetry he & Michelle deploy at each other for pillow talk, cause something tells me she's loosened him up a little since these days of deconstructing Tennyson.
    Hell: We have a President who's committed verse and much more to memory and likely can recite it at will, even ad-lib the parts that are beyond recall ("I haven't read The Wasteland in about a year…"[!]) It makes me giddy just contemplating this.

    1. larrykat

      Answer: None. They are too busy doing the terrorist fist-bump to get into all that poetry jazz.

      1. LeathrTuscadero

        Answer:
        I guess it's true good girls like street guys
        Skated straight past college baby street wise
        Don't let this [preezy] thang fool ya I got street ties
        I said a street life baby my own life street

  18. el_donaldo

    "But I will hazard these statements …"

    B+. Obviously paying attention, and good points, but try for a little more clarity and coherence, and relax a little bit on the diction, dude.

  19. SayItWithWookies

    Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—Eliot is of this type.

    Pfah — there's a reason Eliot became a boring Anglican children's poet later in life, Barry — bourgeois liberalism at least doesn't face the choice of either insanity or stultification.

      1. SayItWithWookies

        Not against the TS Eliot in his younger days who wrote The Waste Land and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock among other very good poems — just against the boring, simpleminded Anglican upperclass wannabe who penned the perfectly awful Murder in the Cathedral and Old Mr. Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Hell, if they put Pound in jail for praising Mussolini, the least they could do was tattoo "I'm actually from St. Louis, Missouri" on Eliot's forehead.

        1. Tommy1733

          Thanks for releasing me from the guilt I felt, believing I should like those fucking cats.

          1. SayItWithWookies

            No problem — and once you get started (hating things you feel you're required to like, that is) it's hard to stop — it's quite exhilirating, really.

  20. Doktor StrangeZoom

    What do you get when you cross a mafioso with a deconstructionist?

    An offer you can't understand.

    —-

    First saw that in the "Sylvia" comic in the late 80's; I wrote it on a white-board in the hallway of the U of Arizona English department, and it prompted a pedantic paragraph-long reply condemning rubes who mock what they don't take the time to pay attention to.

    Now we have blogs for that sort of thing.

  21. Tundra Grifter

    "Do right and fear no man.
    "Don't write and fear no woman."

    ~ Sir Thomas Dewar

  22. Limeylizzie

    I was an English major but I always loved the bad boys, not the poetry-quoting types and I suspect Barry was too skinny for my taste.

    1. LeathrTuscadero

      See above on the bad boys. He's probably frontin that too these days. You know Barry, whatever they want…

  23. Arken

    How many of them were white women? Because people need to be outraged about something non-outrageous.

  24. PubOption

    When I read that Alex McNear was from Occidental, I assumed that Barry had been in bed with the oil companies for years.

  25. Nostrildamus

    Up side – doing Barry.
    Down side – post-modern literary criticism.
    I call it a wash.

  26. thecoppertop

    I'm not sure whether to be proud or annoyed that I've spent most of my twenties dating similarly aloof and pretentious dudes. Thank Christ Michelle came along, presumably to say "Do you ever stop WHINING?!"

  27. Dudleydidwrong

    The interesting thing is that there isn't a Republican politician who can understand that letter from Barry so they won't know how to make it an issue.

  28. Tommy1733

    I want this on a bumper sticker: "You seem surprised at Eliot’s irreconcilable ambivalence; don’t you share this ambivalence yourself, Alex?"

  29. comrad_darkness

    You know what's really impressive, is he couldn't have just copied that from wikipedia. He fucking wrote it himself.

  30. Redhead

    Obama wrote letters, with complete sentences and correct grammar?

    ELITIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. thatsmrfresh

    oh jeebus, Barry's a smart dude. No wonder all them Repubs hate him. He knows how…. R.E.A.D.

  32. DemonicRage

    "…which I touched on in my last letter." TOUCH ME IN THE MOOORRRNNNING>>>>THEN JUST WALK AWAY! What a collegiate heartbreaker!

  33. Jukesgrrl

    I prefer, "Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run," but a deconstruction of Eliot would get points for someone that cute.

  34. Buckminster

    Well, Barry, I think you lost the GOP supporters at "maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality." Tha heads all aspoded and they went running madly, yelling, "Black man, white wimmens, ooh, ooh, ooh." And then they went "wee wee wee," all the way home. Idiots.

  35. Buckminster

    Damn. Most of us, if our college love letters were preserved, would be harassed in the press for statements like, "If you don't consider doing anal by the next college function, I am dating your roomate Amy instead."

  36. Negropolis

    Oh, Barry. You are trying, way, way, way too hard. I'm so glad you got through this phase. lol

Comments are closed.