Saturday, May 23, 2009

Animatronic Obama Going to Disney World With High-Tech Style

Here's another non-news story that's about Obama but because it's about Obama, it's suddenly news:
Barack Obama was standing on a riser inside a warehouse here, delivering an inspirational speech about the blessings of freedom, when his left index finger began to twitch uncontrollably, unnerving his aides.
The nation’s 44th president was in obvious distress. At least it looked like him. But with silicone skin and a tangled nest of wires for veins, this Obama was a 21st-century reproduction.

More specifically, it was an audio-animatronic representation of the president, as imagined by the Walt Disney Company, and assembled with the direct involvement of the White House staff — and of Mr. Obama himself. The president supplied not just his measurements, but he also recorded that speech (which was initially drafted by a Disney writer) — and yet another recitation of the oath of office, this one in Disney high-definition sound.

In that Hollywood building here, the life-size, three-dimensional figure was being put through its final tune-up, its chin rising and hands gesturing in response to technicians, in preparation for shipment to the Hall of Presidents exhibit at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Well, it's the New York Times so if you expected a tone that's less than fawning, I'm sorry to say you'd be disappointed.

Of course Disney is adding Obama to the Hall of Presidents exhibit or ride or attraction or whatever it's called: he's the President! Disney does this every time we get a new one, and with the latest technology. And, yes, amazingly so, the President records the speech given by his animatronic double. Where was the Times when Bush's was installed? Or the other Bush? Or Reagan? (I imagine the Clinton installation was equally amazing to the writers at the Times but I can't be bothered to look it up.)

Well, it's good to see patriotism return to the pages of the Times so I'm glad for that.

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