I almost never watch broadcast or cable news because I can’t go more than a few minutes without hearing something absurd. I watched perhaps 7 minutes of This Week on Sunday (4/14) as I was eating breakfast, just enough time to see part of a round table with Donna Brazile, among others. (I don’t link to sites that I cannot support so you’re either going to have to take my word or look up the transcript yourself. Citing the source should be sufficient without linking.)
I was struck by Brazile’s attempt to explain away Obama’s offensive remarks by claiming that “Professor Obama” sometimes has a hard time simplifying things. (That’s my rough interpretation, but look it up yourself.) This was interesting to me. I’ve been in an academic setting for the last six years or so and can say that some of the best people to put very complex ideas into easy to understand words are highly competent professors. It’s needed when you try to ask for money from private organizations. Even post-docs and senior graduate students are pretty good. Heck, they even offer mini-courses on how to give a good “elevator” description of your research. I know I have several versions depending on a person’s background (or non background) in science and I’m still a grad student (less than two months left!).
Brazile’s comments suggest to me that either Professor Obama doesn’t understand his material or believes what he said. I have high bars for Professors. Some may be socially awkward (not limited to professors by any means), but they at least know what they are talking about and can easily explain it.