As 2017 nears, US President Barack Obama’s final term is also coming to an end. Though exiting political office, Obama showed at the President’s last White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 30 held in Washington D.C. that he is far from backing down into oblivion with his entertaining remarks on politics and last words “Obama out” accompanying a microphone drop. His actions displayed his awareness of trending social media sensations once more as well as his sense of humor.
“Among all the presidents I learned about in my history class, President Obama stands out because he is so much more connected to a wide demographic of citizens,” said David Yoo (10), AP US History student. “He is often a topic of conversation for the youth because of his involvement in social media, such as appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show or Oprah, shows that I know many of my friends watch.”
Obama has made many other pop-culture-related jokes over the past years, earning him the title “pop culture president” by the Huffington Post. His humor ranges from slow jamming news regarding major student loan legislation with Jimmy Fallon on the “Tonight Show” to declaring two-year-old Prince George’s appearance in his bathrobe to greet him a “slap in the face.”
“Obama always seems to play to my good side, whether through jokes about Kylie Jenner at the correspondents’ dinner or playing H.O.R.S.E. with Stephen Curry, a basketball game that rewards the player that can make unconventional shots,” said Paul Namkoong (11), a member of the varsity boys basketball team. “He has an awareness of pop culture that has kept him in the news not only for his policies but also for his comedy. Such awareness has probably helped him maintain high approval ratings, along with his relaxed and effortless sense of humor.”
Taking such efforts to maintain the “stardom side” of his presidency has gotten Obama the support of many younger citizens as well as recognition for his charisma. At the same time, however, critics point out that being up-to-date with every single new hit pop song or twitter feeds would take a lot of time and energy, possibly even away from his presidential duties. While some could take offense at his remarks, Obama seems to take this as just an opportunity to joke further. For instance, after mentioning that some people call him “arrogant, aloof, condescending,” at last year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, he retorted shortly after by calling those people “so dumb.”
Regardless of the effects of his humor, it is hard to refute that Obama is not only the first African-American president, but also the first president with such a modern sense of humor, revolutionizing the way American citizens relate to their president as more than just a dry politician. By using social media as a medium to show his more “fun side,” the President has delivered laughs several times over his past two terms and in the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.