Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Too Stupid for Words

Richard Cohen has caught Barak Obama in an untruth!
In his memoir, "Dreams From My Father," he recounts a watershed moment of his own -- a "revelation," a "violent" awakening, an incident that "permanently altered" his "vision." Twice he tells how as a 9-year-old he went to the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia (a country where his mother had taken him to live) and came across a Life magazine article about a black man who had tried to whiten his skin through some sort of chemical process. The result was a disaster.

"I felt my face and neck get hot," Obama wrote. "My stomach knotted; the type began to blur on the page."

The child had, for the first time, confronted racism and its hideous consequences.

Only there is no such issue of Life magazine. So says the Chicago Tribune, which has gone through the Obama memoir with commendable thoroughness.
When the Tribune told Obama that Life magazine historians could find no such story, Obama suggested it might have been Ebony -- "or it might have been . . . who knows what it was?" (The Tribune says Ebony's archivists also could not come up with such an article.) Indeed, the memory of the event/non-event is so firmly planted in Obama's mind that it seems to have become an emotional truth for him, far more powerful than an intellectual truth.
See, it wasn't in Life or Ebony. So Obama must have made it up -- it's the only other possibility! Or, as Greg Sargent summarizes:

Glenn Greenwald takes The Washington Post's Richard Cohen to task today for blasting Obama over the most trivial of memory lapses possible -- the fact that he got the name of a magazine wrong that he'd read when he was nine years old. No, Obama didn't remember the name of a magazine he read roughly in 1970, the year the Beatles broke up and Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died.

UPDATE: Every blogger should link to Washington Post articles, because their automatic trackback finder can't tell the big boys from the teeny little fish:

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