President Barack Obama continued a tradition of filling out an NCAA?tournament bracket. It is a tradition he started way back two years ago. Go back a century or so, and imagine Teddy Roosevelt doing something like this.
Editor’s note:?This column was originally published April 4, 2009, but some details have been updated.
President Barack Obama continued a tradition of filling out an NCAA?tournament bracket. It is a tradition he started way back two years ago.
Go back a century or so, and imagine Teddy Roosevelt doing something like this.
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs,”?he might say. “That settles it. I’m picking Peachbasket State in a 14-3 upset!”
Obama got some bracket flak. It’s easy to understand why, during these critical economic times. You know, if he paid less attention to the tournament, unemployment would cease immediately.
Sometimes, we simply don’t expect to see the President taking part in “everyday” leisure activities: riding horses at Camp David; reading the horoscopes; testifying before a grand jury.
Presidents are thought to exist in another plane of reality.?It’s similar to how, for many years, TV characters avoided a common activity enjoyed by real people:?watching TV.
I remember thinking, “Why don’t people on TV shows ever watch television?”
I once asked my dad about it.
“Dad, why doesn’t anyone on TV ever watch TV?”?I?asked.
“I don’t know, son,”?he said. “Who do you think I?am — David Sarnoff?”
Prior to the ’70s, it was rare to even see a television set on the set of a television show, let alone see anyone watching it. It was just another piece of furniture.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver. I brought you some flowers.”
“Why, thank you, Eddie! I’ll put these on the cabinet with the screen and knobs on the front.”
Gilligan once mentioned the island’s lack of television service.
“Professor, why don’t we have a TV?”?he asked.
“I don’t know, Gilligan,”?the professor replied. “Who do you think I?am — Philo Farnsworth?”
There were exceptions to the Mysterious Non-existent Television. On “Green?Acres,”?Arnold was a boobtube fanatic. But he was a pig, so it goes without saying.
Sometimes, it made sense to go telly-less if it didn’t fit the plot of some shows, like “Little House on the Prairie.”
“Pa, Nellie Oleson was bragging today because they’re the only family in Walnut Grove with a television.”
“That’s nonsense, Laura,”?Pa said. “You’ve watched ‘Back to the Future Part III’ one too many times.”
“No, Pa – honest,”?Laura retorted. “Last night, they watched President Hayes fill out his tournament bracket.”
“What?! In these critical economic times?”?Charles replied. “Who does he think he is — Barack Obama?”
Contact Dennis Volkert at firstname.lastname@example.org.