Politico's Amie Parnes has basically won the rest of August with her fearless expose on President Barack Obama's "pet peeves." I'm a little disappointed that the article isn't a simple listicle, ranking the president's "pet peeves" on a one-to-ten scale with one being "gives Obama a tiny sad" and ten referring to things that cause Obama to "become a white-hot hammer of unquenchable PCP rage." I'm a little more disappointed that many of these so-called "pet peeves" are "pet peeves" in the same maladroit way Alanis Morrisette once defined irony.
A "pet peeve" is defined as "a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it." Let's see which of these is up-to-snuff!
Missing daughter's concert
Parnes recounts an occasion in which Obama had to travel around, meeting with so many people that he "missed one of his daughters' concerts at school." It's unclear if this is one of those occasions where his aides, in planning his schedule, failed to take the school event into account, or if Obama, through his own lack of knowledge, found out about the concert later. Plenty of people grouse at having their lives frittered away by other people's scheduling. Though if Obama was annoyed because he forgot about the concert himself, he's just being annoying, blaming his aides.
VERDICT: NOT A PET PEEVE
Other people's jerseys
Parnes reports: "As White House senior adviser David Axelrod puts it, the president dislikes it when 'folks try to get him to wear baseball gear for teams other than the White Sox.'" That's just weird! You're the President of the United States, President Obama, so, yeah, you're going to have to wear a Washington Nationals jersey from time to time.
VERDICT: PET PEEVE.
Obama gets irritated when he misses his daily workout. So did his predecessor, though! The only difference is that Bush's aides sort of figured that his input was mostly superfluous, anyway.
VERDICT: NOT A PET PEEVE.
Take a picture, it will last longer
Parnes: "He also doesn't appreciate the seemingly endless click-click-click of the cameras when photographers take photos of him."
VERDICT: WHAT? Come on, President Obama, you have Pete Souza following you around all day, waiting for you to alight at a bust of Lincoln to snap a picture for posterity. Don't play me like that.
"The shine police"
Apparently, Obama hates to undergo the process of getting his face powdered for television: "You notice that even before this interview, they constantly want to powder my nose and forehead and it's never enough -- that I find quite irritating,"
VERDICT: PET PEEVE. Obama should recognize that he is the first black President to face this problem, which makes it historical.
Parnes reports: "If you spend too much time telling him where to go, how you get there, and everything in between, it drives him crazy," said an aide who has worked with Obama for more than two years.
VERDICT: NOT A PET PEEVE. This would annoy anybody.
Aides say that even after Obama is instructed to not take questions, "Obama will often take them anyway."
VERDICT: HUH? This sounds like Obama's aides have a pet peeve!
Proper meeting behavior
If people show up for meetings unprepared, hog all the time talking, prevent others from speaking, fail to have ideas and solutions, show up with bad ideas, or are just generally annoying, this will make Obama displeased.
VERDICT: NOT A PET PEEVE. Seriously, it's not. I can't tell you the number of times that my failure to comport to the proper decorum of a meeting or contribute anything of substance has resulted in my boss pulling me aside afterwards and gently reminding me, "You're fired. Security will escort you from the building."
Parnes notes that Obama is perfectly fine with cellphone ring tones that sound like quacking ducks. That's good to know! And while it goes unreported, it would seem that one thing that's not included on Obama's list of pet peeves is "Larry Summers falling asleep in meetings as the nation's economy collapses."
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