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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Maureen Dowd, "Limits of Magical Thinking"; Does Jobs Remind You of Someone in the White House?

In her New York Times op-ed of today's date, "Limits of Magical Thinking" (, Maureen Dowd describes Steve Jobs as someone enamoured of himself and his powers. She begins her essay by noting:

"Steve Jobs, the mad perfectionist, even perfected his stare.

He wanted it to be hypnotic. He wanted the other person to blink first. He wanted it to be, like Dracula’s saturnine gaze, a force that could bend your will to his and subsume your reality in his."

Does this remind you of someone else, who has also long been convinced of his powers of persuasion? Who is so polished in his oratory?

Dowd also observes that Jobs "was abandoned by parents who conceived him out of wedlock at 23." Does this also remind you of America's president, who was also abandoned by both his father, first, and then his mother, who sent him to be raised by his grandmother?

Perhaps there the similarities end: Obama's life does not sound like the "darkest hell of volatility," and I have never heard stories of Obama being "capable of frightening coldness, even with his oldest collaborators and family," or that he suffers from dramatic mood swings.

Query: Did narcissism enable both Jobs and Obama to achieve at remarkably early ages what we ordinary mortals can almost never attain, but at a very steep price? Were their successes accompanied by, or the product of, myopic perceptions of self, which also belie hidden insecurity?

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