We have been treated to a fascinating spate of right-wing commentary on President Obama's state of the union speech. Former half-term governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, used an interview with Greta Van Susternen (on Fox, of course—the only media she's permitted to appear on) to inform us that it was inappropriate for the president to cite Sputnik. After all, the Soviet Union won the space race, you know. (Unless, of course, you're intelligent and informed—and therefore not part of Palin's key demographic.)
I already knew about Obama's major faux pas since I had caught a few choice minutes of KSFO talk radio on the morning after the speech. Low-rent talk show host Brian Sussman—who replaced the high-priced Lee Rodgers in an economy move—babbled cheerfully with sidekick Officer Vic:
Brian Sussman: So you had Obama giving references to Sputnik. Okay, come on. This was a Russian spacecraft in 1957. Okay. Case in point, Obama went after the young voter to get elected. Right?Katie has a throaty contralto voice that suggests she has a bright future as a Coulter clone, as well as the forgivable ignorance of sweet youth. Her older-but-not-wiser radio companions pressed the Sputnik issue.
Officer Vic: That's correct.
Sussman: Okay, there's a young voter in the room right now with us. Young Katie's here.
Sussman: Katie's going to be helping us out next week with some news and stuff.
Vic: You should pop on the mike there, Katie.
Sussman: Okay, so Katie, here's my point to you. Here you are, young person, right in Obama's prime demographic, and when he talks about Sputnik—that we need to have our “Sputnik moment” in America—did you have any idea what he was talking about?
Katie: Absolutely not.
Sussman was born in the year before Sputnik's launch. By the time he got to school, science and math curriculum had been revamped in the post-Sputnik furor. Despite his first-hand experience of growing up in the Space Age and the nature of his profession as political commentator, Sussman confesses that he knows nothing about Sputnik or the shock it delivered to American society. He's too young, of course, to remember having stood outside to look up at the “red star” arcing through the night sky over our heads, but the impact of this epochal event echoed down the decades.
Katie: For some reason, a potato.
Sussman: We need to have our potato moment!
Vic: That would be “Spudnik”!
Katie: I had trouble relating to anything he was saying, though.
Sussman: Well, I'm just wondering how many people were turned off by the Sputnik thing.
Vic: What's a Sputnik?
Sussman: Again, you know, Vic and I, we're middle-aged crackers. All right. We're middle-aged crackers. I didn't know what he was talking about! Come on!
But never in Brian's head, despite the excellent acoustics it must provide.
Idiot America doesn't need history or book-learning or context or even accurate memories. It cramps their style. No problem, though, if they listen to KSFO. It's media tailored to the needs of moron-Americans.