Is Microsoft Word a Republican Operative?
Type in Obama into Microsoft Word, and you'll find the squiggly red line, suggesting that out of the spell-checker's compendious lexicon, the Democratic Presidential candidate is misspelled, or not found.
What does Word suggest?
The 2008 edition of Microsoft Word has, indeed, "not gotten to know" Obama, as Republicans have been saying for the last two years, and in a digital Freudian slip, has provided the name of the notorious terrorist who we have also "not gotten to know," or rather, not found since 2001.
Sure, it could be a simple mistake. Take a look at your keyboard – S and B are very close together. They are three letters and a row apart, but what other words could possible share that strange combination of letters that makes up Obama's name? Certainly, no real "American" words, like frankfurter, or McCain. I mean, can we really expect Word to know all these strange, foreign-like names?
Sure, this slip could just point to how Americans – who have never had a candidate for President with a name more "exotic" than Herbert – are latently xenophobic, that deep, deep down, Osama and Obama really are just one letter a part in our minds. That "Hussien" as middle name is not a coincidence, as conservative pundit Michael Savage frequently points out. And despite all evidence that he has grown up in the states as a Christian, and has lived the quintessential American Dream, he is somehow not one of us.
These are all reasonable explanations.
But I prefer to think this is an ingenious ploy by the Republican Party to shape our unconscious. Think: how many of us use Microsoft Word? What an excellent - and yet untapped - growth opportunity, repeated across endless screens – Obama, Osama, Obama, Osama, Obama, Osama, Obama, Osama –married linguistically, and thus, conceptually.
But to be fair, Word does give it to Palin: type her name in, and you get a red squiggly line, with a suggested word – pain.