"Did you hear what he said?"

The news this week is sounding more and more like a junior-high rumor mill.  I'd heard that former president Obama made a crack about "mommy issues" and wondered what that might be referring to.  Once again, a Google search of recent articles about what sounded like a hot topic left me scratching my head.  Mr. Obama uttered the phrase, the consensus seems to be that the audience laughed knowingly (or tittered nervously?), and a few people are asking whether it's obvious whether he was taking a jab at President Trump's relationship with his mother.

I had not previously been aware of the minor cottage industry in analyzing Mr. Trump's supposed failure to bond with a primary caregiver in infancy.  In any case, some reports of Mr. Obama's curious remark are skeptical that he was even referring to Mr. Trump at all, though quite a few analyzed the strategy of throwing out comments without mentioning the sitting president by name. If the press were a little more curious and evenhanded, at least a few of the articles might have adopted an attitude of wonder that the former president was making such inscrutable remarks to apparently appreciative audiences.  There would be talk of dog whistles. If President Trump had tweeted about "mommy issues," I suspect there'd be more 25th Amendment chatter this week.

For my own part, I wouldn't assume the remark referred to Mr. Trump at all.  I'd assume it was a crack about what keeps people from voting for wonderful candidates like Hillary Clinton (or even Angela Merkel?).  It was perhaps a less incendiary version of the "ex-wife issues" excuse for Clinton's perceived loathsomeness.

But it's a sign of the state of the press that people are grasping at these pieces of fluff instead of discussing anything concrete that someone currently in power is actually doing.  "I heard Mary didn't sit next to Susie at lunch today."


E Hines said...

It's actually fairly obvious, as any Rogerian therapist would recognize. Obama was reflecting, subconsciously, his relationship with his own mother. And perhaps his overreaction to his (again, subconscious) nascent and suppressed Oedipal rumblings.

Eric Hines

Christopher B said...

The MSM focused on the mommy issues jab in part because the rest of the statement was incoherent word salad.

partial transcript in this article


Texan99 said...

Even incoherent rambling usually employs code words that ring a bell for me. This one went right over my head. Kind of like the flap over "Ladies' Lingerie," that old elevator joke. I'm so out of it now that I can't even figure out what invisible trip wire was involved there.