When I saw the thumbnail on Facebook for a Between Two Ferns episode featuring President Obama, I thought it was a joke. No way would Obama sit down with Zach Galifianakis, of all people, to do an obscure talk show parody. But then I watch it, and my assumptions were splendidly inaccurate.
I’m a registered republican, but I tend to referred to myself as a libertarian. I’m a fan of Obama the person, not necessarily the politician, so I was particularly tickled by this. I believe that in the current age of social media and celebrity worship that we need a leader who appeals especially to young people. Obama has proven time and time again that he’s “cool,” not just some old, rich white guy that only other old, rich white guys care about.
But, as with anything that brings joy to young people, old, rich white guys have to tell us why it isn’t good. Almost every conservative politician with a Twitter account berated Obama for wasting presidential time doing such a childish thing. Some said it wasn’t worthy of the office of president, that going on a pop culture show and filming it in the White House undermines the prestige that come with being president. Bill O’Reilly used President Lincoln as comparison, saying he definitely would not have lowered himself to something like this.
Now, obviously no one could know what Abraham Lincoln would have done if he had the internet. To me, O’Reilly’s rant and all other politician’s attempted degradation of Obama’s publicity stunt only perpetuated what he wanted in the first place. Obama was trying to spread the news of the Affordable Care Act to young people who might of otherwise not known about it, and thanks to O’Reilly, the older people who wouldn’t have seen the video otherwise are going to their computers to check it out, furthering Obama’s message. It’s radical right wing republicans who can’t comprehend the reach of the internet and who are unwilling to change based on it that are keeping the general public’s opinions down on their party. Obama knows how to speak to people at every level. He adapts as the times deem necessary.
Obama’s Between Two Ferns interview delivered on three levels: humor, education, and personality. The production itself was enough to keep me jolly, but hopefully it will keep on delivering for weeks to come as I laugh at O’Reilly and his ilk’s indignation over it.