Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Business International memories

I freelanced in the late 1980s and early '90s at Business International, then being absorbed into the Economist Intelligence Unit. A few years earlier, one Barack Obama had worked there as well. I never met him. But, based on what he wrote about the place years later, it's evident he wanted to give the impression that in leaving Business International he forewent a fast-track, potentially lucrative career in order to become a community organizer--and that this was a dubious suggestion. BI, in fact, was basically a newsletter publisher (which did some consulting), had seen better days a few decades earlier and didn't offer much money or perks or seem to have much of a future.

Now, in saying that Obama put a questionable gloss on a minor phase of his early career, I do not wish to endorse any sort of conspiracy theory, let alone the madness known as "birtherism." And if a pollster were to ask me whether Obama is "hiding important information about his background and early life," I'd be inclined to reply that, based on my particular near-confluence of career paths with Obama's, I think the president is obscuring some not very important information. But of course, polls don't allow for such subtle answers, so I might have ended up saying "yes"--in which case I'd now be lumped in with the "64%" of Republicans who take a position "that would include what's often referred to as 'birtherism'." That is absurd, as Jesse Walker points out here and Justin Green earlier noted here.

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