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The UK’s Telegraph newspaper website recently ran a rather random piece called “Barack Obama: The 50 facts you might not know”.  As you may be aware, a certain percentage of Europeans—the technical term is Pretty Much Everybody, I think—was overjoyed at the notion of an Obama presidency. So the list runs down several endearing facts about America’s next president.


For instance, he has read every Harry Potter book. His favorite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees. And he took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing on their first date.


For those of us still riding a contact high from the recent election, the list is another reminder of why we voted for the guy in the first place. I’m guessing George Bush has never read Harry Potter books. He probably thinks Do the Right Thing is another variation on the “WWJD?” bracelet, and it’s about as far as he gets in the analytic process, anyway.


Some other pop-culturally relevant facts from the Telegraph list: Obama collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics. His favorite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. His favorite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Obama enjoys playing Scrabble and poker. He uses an Apple Mac laptop. His favorite television shows are M*A*S*H* and The Wire. The list goes on. These are all true, by the way. At least, according to the Telegraph.


In the spirit of journalistic solidarity and collaboration, I’ve dispatched PopMatters’ team of brilliant young interns to dig up some more obscure information about our president-elect. The American mainstream press has been accused, throughout the election process, of treating Obama preferentially, of setting him up as some sort of political messiah figure. As you will see, the reporting on Obama has not been preferential at all. It has been a sober assessment of the facts.


25 More Facts About President-elect Barack Obama



  • He can not only turn water into wine; he turns it into 1787 Chateau Lafite.



  • A renowned spot shooter at Chicago pick-up basketball games, his specialty is a 3-pointer made by bouncing the ball off Mayor Richard M. Daley’s forehead.



  • Once pulled off Ann Coulter’s android faceplate at a charity function.



  • Whenever a Republican strategist cries, Obama gets $10 richer, somehow.



  • Can regulate his own metabolism through force of will; only exhaled three times total during the Democratic primaries.



  • The White House press corps will be issued welder’s goggles and UVP 150 sunscreen for when he smiles at press conferences.



  • Starting in February 2009, the sun will set in the East every Tuesday, as per his executive order.



  • He doesn’t make his own bed, but only because he hovers serenely three feet above the covers.



  • Played bass guitar on the original Barney Miller theme song.



  • Is the prophesied One who shall liberate us from the consensual mass hallucination that is ... The Matrix!



  • Dolce & Gabbana is bottling his forehead sweat as their new fall fragrance.



  • Snacks on broken glass, rusty nails, and Republican pollsters.



  • Can staple even the thickest of documents using only his freakishly long, powerful fingers.



  • Was known in Illinois as “The Legislatornator”.



  • Every baby he kissed on the campaign trail now sleeps through the night, is potty-trained and, incredibly, advocates progressive social policies in complete, fully articulate sentences.



  • As a party trick, often lifts entire X-Wing fighters out of swamps using the power of The Force.



  • According to a Harvard medical study of his tissue samples, he actually is as cool as a cucumber, down to a tenth of a degree Celsius, at all times.



  • Plans to sign off on all Congressional legislation with wax and signet ring.



  • All his D&D characters start out with 18 Charisma automatically.



  • Once beat the Dalia Lama at poker and made him cry.



  • Once beat up Chuck Norris.



  • Can walk on water; chooses not to.



  • Cannot carry credit cards or personal electronic devices due to his intense personal magnetism.



  • Is such a potent speaker that, during his acceptance speech, he made all the women in the first three rows pregnant.



  • Is actually a time traveler from a future alternate Earth in which everyone is attractive, charismatic and unflappable.


  • A variation of this column published in the NPR blog, “Monkey See”.


    Glenn McDonald writes about popular culture from his home in lovely Chapel Hill, NC. His humor essays have been described as "grammatically consistent" and "remarkably frequent". He is editor of the Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me daily news quiz at NPR.org, and a film critic at the Raleigh News & Observer. He lives virtually at www.glenn-mcdonald.com.


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