Is Barack Obama cool? Anyone who is actually cool can tell you that no, the president is not cool. He is old, and he is a dad, and he is president. And yet here we have a political ad claiming the president is cool, and commentators nodding their heads in agreement. The New Yorker's John Cassidy cites the Washington Post, a Politico commenter, and Grantland to conclude that the president has a "dazzling hipness."
As an actual cool person*, I am here to clear things up.
Barack Obama is not cool, and it is journalistic malpractice to describe him as such. (Mobutu has done a good job of explaining how, in many situations, when people call Obama "cool" they really just mean "black." I am here talking about actual coolness.) I do not go to cool people and ask them to poorly explain the minutiae of American elections; and I do not go to political journalists and ask them how to wear sunglasses and where to buy drugs. Political journalists are deeply uncool people, and not in the way where they're, like, so uncool that they're actually cool. They are constitutively uncool. They are not to be trusted on matters of coolness.
But don't worry, my uncool friends. I have crafted a cheat sheet for you to help you talk about the president's coolness. Any time you are wondering "did Obama just do something cool?" I suggest you check this helpful guide.
Really Deeply Genuinely Uncool Stuff That Obama Has Done
- Wore a helmet while biking: This is almost unquestionably the number-one least cool thing that any human being can do. The fact that the president cares about safety should be a tip-off that the president is not cool.
- Frequent rounds of golf: Golf has not been cool for 300 years.
- "Dropped the mic" really awkwardly on television: Did you see this? He dropped the mic carefully, so he wouldn't break it! He was super worried that he was going to break Jimmy Fallon's microphone! Cool people don't give a shit about Jimmy Fallon's microphone.
- Expanded the Patriot Act, killed hundreds of civilians in drone attacks, cracked down on whistleblowers, authorized the extrajudicial assassination of an American citizen, increased government secrecy: C'mon, man. Way uncool.
- These jeans: Talk about a crime against humanity. Am I right? But seriously, Mr. President, you look like a fucking dork.
Stuff That Obama Has Done That Washington Dorks Think Is Cool But Isn't
- Performed a skit on a late-night talk show: Jimmy Fallon is not cool. Skits are really not cool. You thought this was cool? What is wrong with you?
- Sang a line of "Let's Stay Together": Everyone knows this song. Old people listen to this song. It is not cool.
- Referencing Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Young Jeezy: These are the exact three rappers your dad references when he affects his joke "hip hop voice" and keeps saying "yo yo yo." Also, Jay-Z dresses like a total goofball and is like 65 years old.
- Killing a fly with a no-look swat: This was actually kind of cool.
- Playing basketball: Have you seen basketball players these days? They are the goofiest people on the planet. Basketball now is a bunch of tall hippies and nerds.
- Attending sporting events: This is something that is only cool to people who are terrible at sports and don't know the names of any athletes.
Actual Cool Stuff That Obama Has Done
* I know all the cool dirty words, and listen to the cool new music (#swampwave). I have given the middle finger to literally dozens of different people, some of them complete strangers.
** Buzzfeed's Ben Smith tweets that "It's not clear that he actually did coke" and that possibly Obama "just wanted to seem cool by claiming it," which would be the actual least cool thing, ever, even less cool than wearing a bicycle helmet.