Romney Jabs: Engadget Enters the Fray?

So clever! The witty writers at AOL’s popular Engadget website for technology fans has a poll for the 2011 Engadget Awards. For best robot of 2011, the choices are Honda ASIMO, Obotix Sphero, My Keepon, iRobot Roomba 700, and, uh, Mitt Romney.

Ha, that’s hilarious, get it? Yes, a joke! And so original of the media-icon AOL. Well, maybe it was a little more original when Popular Science made a scene about Mitt Romney as robot a few days ago (PopSci was recently sold by Time Warner to the giant Swedish media conglomerate, the Bonnier Group with 175 companies). Maybe a little more original the day before that when the Atlantic Monthly pretended to be discussing science when it ran an insulting article explaining why Romney was giving so many people the creeps, just like a robot gives people the creeps when it starts to seem too lifelike and enters “the uncanny valley.” This irresponsible drivel in the Atlantic (whose editor was a New York Times bureau chief in his previous role and is the son of a political official in both the Clinton and Carter administrations) was based on the assertion that Romney is repulsing people with his robot-like creepiness. I’ll grant the sentiment may apply to some of his political opponents, but voters don’t seem to be sensing that creepiness at the voting booth. Kudos to the media for reminding us. And need I predict that we’ll soon be reminded that he’s not just an ordinary robot, but a cult-member robot possessed and programmed by a dangerous Bork-like entity in Salt Lake City? Romney, the Mormon zombie robot–based on unbiased scientific analysis, of course. Can we find a professor to step into the limelight with a fancy graph to explain why? Sure, news like that can be programmed when needed and can look so real that it’s, uh, creepy.

What would life be like if major media outlets actually lived up to their claims of unbiased coverage and fairness, especially in election years? OK, that’s kind of like asking what if lived in a world without greed and corruption, without poverty, without mindless TV sitcoms, and even without zombie robot journalists who live to regurgitate the talking points of their masters.

And don’t even get me started on that other candidate who has remained invisible to the media during much of the presidential race. Now that’s where things get really hilarious.

Yes, the Romney as robot joke is just a minor jab that I almost glossed over. But it’s a symptom of a much bigger problem, or a much bigger joke on the rest of us.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

27 thoughts on “Romney Jabs: Engadget Enters the Fray?

  1. Allow me to be the first to make a very petty comment pointing out that bork like should have been borg like. And just to creep folks out more, whenever I come across those who don't accept the Mormon Cult's theology I smile within myself and think 'You will be assimilated'.

    Thanks for your blog Jeff, I enjoy it.

  2. I think it's funny. Romney is robot-like. He's still ing to win the nomination and maybe the presidency. I thought the uncanny valley article was hilarious even if it was poorly written. I don't understand why you're defensive about this.

  3. Romney has gone around the NATION(USA), and has been blabbering there are too many federal employees, and they are way over paid.

    In fact, if he had even looked at the factual data, it would dawn on him that:
    1) the number of civilian federal employees has decreased over 30 % since 1968.
    2) During that same time period, the national debt has boomed over 40 %.
    3), the federal salaries, and pensions are a minor % of the federal annual budgets.
    4) Some giant companies like GE get doled out to them many billions per year, and pay not a dime in Federal taxes.
    5) Cheney gamed the DOD to get a constant steam of billions for Halliburton as that boosted his Halliburton stock option hauls.
    6) the Mormon Church opposed the siting of the MX (nuclear Peacekeeper ) program to be located in
    7) There are over 1 million google his on Romney tin man.
    8) Romney includes in his speeches that, some do not live in the real world and are out of touch.
    9) His response to the BIG DIG follies in Mass, was to ask the federal government for more money

    Hopefully, in the future he will not claim some " we"
    as to public servants, when he took a pass on going to the jungles of Viet Nam., as a young man.
    Sadly, George Romney was correct on Viet Nam, when he declared the U S Military " brain washed" him.
    IF he had used the term misled, that would have been more spot on.

    Colo, USA

  4. Romney's a decent candidate, but he's not much of a vibrant personality. I mean, have you heard him sing America the Beautiful recently? Or watch any of his primary-winning speeches?

    He does a pretty poor job of rallying the troops. I don't really see it as an anti-mormon jab, and much of the intentional anti-mormon sentiment is coming from a decreasing demographic that half the nation doesn't even listen to.

    The question is usually presented as "how many evangelicals will not vote for romney because of religion?" instead of "who wants to vote for this robotic, mormon-controlled creep?"

  5. You can get incensed that people think Romney is robot-like. But, if you do, be sure to save some energy to get incensed that it gets dark when the sun goes down.

    Romney is a deeply insincere and inauthentic person. On the rare occasions when he says something unscripted it comes out as "I like to fire people" and "I'm not worried about the very poor".

    Maybe his religion has something to do with how wooden he is and how people — including many Mormons, BTW — instinctively distrust him and maybe it doesn't. But treating it as though it's not a significant reality rooted in his public persona is ridiculous.

  6. It amused me to no end how people gripe about corruption but during an election insist on gloss instead of substance. It is like only dating Victoria Secret models, and then wondering why they can't cook anything besides burned water.

    As for the claim that federal employees have declined… misleading at best. That is just nuts, and if you take that seriously, I have some oceanfront property in the Arizona desert for you.

    Romney has spend more time actually helping the poor than the rest of the candidates together, including Obama. Once again, it is a matter of outward appearances. Honestly, is that the most important thing?

    He has what no one else here has… experience. And we need that.

  7. What would life be like if major media outlets actually lived up to their claims of unbiased coverage and fairness, especially in election years?

    As Dan suggested, this is the kind of silliness we get when people lump all publications together as "the media" and tell us that, as "the media," those publications should be unbiased.

    The Atlantic is a magazine, just like The National Review. Jeff, will you criticize The National Review for its conservative bias? Of course not, nor should you. But the same goes for The Atlantic.

    Jeff is criticizing the lazy stereotyping of Romney with some equally lazy stereotyping of "the media." An unfortunate post by someone who usually does better.

    — Eveningsun

  8. Jeff. I normally enjoy your posts, but you really miss the mark here. You are conflating two distinct things, political humor and journalism.

    The reality of being a public figure is that you will be a target of humor. Chevy Chase aping Gerald Ford falling down, Michael Dukakis in a tank jokes, comedic takes on George W. Bush trying to utter a coherent English sentence, SNL skits about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky are part of a long history of a variation on speaking to power.

    The decline of jounalism to opinion reportage and a reluctance of reporters to basically do their jobs and ask follow up questions is worthy of our condemnation. But getting upset at non news sites or opinion pieces seems a bit misdirected.

  9. The Media can report however it wants too, because it has free speech and all that. But not you Jeff, you have no place criticizing the media. You're Mormon, so your free speech is forfeit under the separation-of-church-and-state clause of the constitution (Article XIII). Don't resist the media, Jeff. Accept it, embrace it.

  10. Yes, none of these sources are network news and so perhaps looking at them was a sloppy way for me to poke fun at the "media." But these sources are all media outlets, broadly defined. The Atlantic monthly's lead words on its website (Google "Atlantic Monthly" and read its meta information) are: "The Atlantic covers news and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, …" News. That's the first word out of their mouth regarding their coverage. So they aren't part of the media? Not a source of news coverage?

    Engadget, formerly of Time Warner, then AOL, both major media organizations, provides coverage of electronics trends and products. Not political news, but certainly news, and is a source that depends on the image of credibility and objectivity in what it covers, though it also is meant to be entertaining. So why not be even-handed in the political gags department and offer a Democratic robot choice as well? Plenty to choose from.

    Popular Science is a respected media source, broadly defined, for science news and information. Their home page title says "New technology | Science news | The future now." Science news. Sure it's not a news source? Let them know. Certainly political bias is not what people buy and expect when they turn to them.

    Hey, this is the 90s! News sources and major media aren't just Walter Cronkite and the newspaper anymore.

  11. You're Mormon, so your free speech is forfeit….

    These kinds of claims, about the purported loss of our freedoms of speech and religion, strike me as the strangest of all the strange complaints made by conservatives these days. They're just bogus. They're a form of Big Lie. I mean, in what meaningful sense has Jeff's free speech or religious freedom been infringed?

    Conservatives these days seem to equate criticism of their views with censorship of their views, despite the fact that those views are freely and routinely expressed in the public sphere. Like I said, Big Lie.

    In the same vein, awhile back Dallin Oaks tried to make the case that the legalization of gay marriage would lead to a loss of religious liberty, and in doing so he failed miserably, managing only to reveal his own (and his Church's) narrowmindedness. It's one thing to argue against gay marriage, but to argue that it poses a threat to religious liberty is just dumb (albeit perhaps effective in rallyiing the troops).

    — Eveningsun

  12. really? really? really? While I respect your position on gay marriage and theoretically maybe it wouldn't have to infringe on religious rights, the examples of it doing that in Europe are there and also the new mandate about hospitals and contraception are example of the state overriding religious liberties is a prime example of danger. And Elder Oaks did not fail miserably. I think you failed at seeing some valid arguments that were made. Have a great day.

  13. Jeff, you're acting as if a magazine's claim that it will provide news coverage is somehow compromised when it does other things as well. But even the most respected newspapers, even back in the good old days, also provided entertainment (e.g., the comics page). They were also biased; always have been, always will be. You just notice the bias more these days because so many aspects of the larger culture have moved so far away from your LDS subculture. In the LDS Church and FOX Newsdom, maybe it's still the world of Walter Cronkite. In the rest of the country it's the world of Jon Stewart and Ellen Degeneris.

    I also find it amusing that people who are otherwise staunchly pro-business forget that major media outlets are all businesses. Systems like ours, that are democratic and capitalist, are in the weird position of relying on accurate news reporting from profit-driven news businesses. Unfortunately, the needs of democracy (for an informed citizenry) do not always align well with the needs of the market (to profit by giving the consumers the silly infotainment they want).

    As they say, two cheers for capitalism.

    — Eveningsun

  14. all hail eveningsun culture, while poor Fox news and LDS people are stuck in the middle age…. ahh, the refreshing enlightenment brought to us… burning, the burning, us poor minion sheep can't stand it

  15. Yes, Anonymous, really. You write that "the new mandate about hospitals and contraception are example of the state overriding religious liberties." But that's not so. Or rather, that's so only if we think of "the free exercise of religion" as extending into every aspect of a church's dealings with the public. Do you think my "freedom of religion" gives me the right to refuse to serve you in my restaurant because you're Mormon? To hang up a sign that says "No Mormons need apply?" Were I to hang up such a sign, would you call it an "exercise of religion"? I wouldn't. I'm sorry, but not every action of a religious person is an "exercise of religion" triggering the First Amendment. Does the Rastafarian's freedom of religion give him the right to smoke marijuana just because his toking is motivated by religious belief? Or can the federal government rightly outlaw pot-smoking when it has compelling secular reasons for doing so?

    You might recall that after Loving v. Virginia established the marriage rights of mixed-race couples, many churches continued to refuse to perform such marriages. They can still refuse, and some of them, as bigoted as ever, still do refuse, yet the feds have not broken down their doors to force them to. Their rights have not been infringed in the least by Loving v. Virginia, and the rights of the LDS Church have not been infringed in the least by the establishment of gay marriage in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

    You have nothing to be afraid of in terms of your religious liberty. Stop being led around by the nose by the fear-mongers.

    — Eveningsun

  16. Hilarious example, Eveningsun, considering that exactly what you mentioned about a restaurant just happened this week. (or recently)

    But considering the kind of sense you are making, I don't think facts are highly motivating for you.

  17. As an LDS Ron Paul supporter I have to say that when people 'jab' Dr. Paul for his eyebrows or his old suits or his stammering way of speaking–

    I blow it off. It's silly; it's trite, and . . . it's true. I am not a collectivist, so I don't take group 'charges' personally. When people attack the church or church members, it is to me a reminder to keep things real and keep my eye focused on the Creator and the Savior and the One who heads this church–

    Dr. Paul IS only very human, and he DOES have funny eyebrows; he is NOT handsome; he doesn't speak smoothly AT ALL, and his suits are all old and don't fit well–


    It's SO refreshing to see the reality–

    As for Romney, I have never met him, but from what I've read in all the 'fair' places, places that are neither pro-Romney nor anti-Romney . . . he is a bit 'out of touch' with the rest of *us*–

    he does come across in a stilting way. He is either very image conscious, or his life has prepared him for superficial showing–

    the smile is always the same; there is very little inflection that shows deep thinking–

    and this has been a gift to him in his business dealings. When a person is doing serious business it is important to learn to control voice inflections, facial movements, etc. You become the typical 'cardboard man'–

    people are what they have done; their past reflects in their voices and faces.

    Stake presidents have to learn to control their vocal tones, etc., to soothe people, to be, in effect, 'political'. A very promising younger man who was humble was recently made a stake president in our area and he tends to pass over the poorer people in his stake to associate with those who have more. He has never had much himself, but the change in him has been sad to see. There is so much MORE to being a saint than having that recommend, and there should be so much more to being a shepherd–

    I saw a youtube of Mitt Romney speaking to a terminally ill man (Muscular Dystrophy) who could only find relief from severe and constant pain by the use of medical marijuana but could not go to California to get it–
    "Brother" or "President" Romney was so terribly cold to him–
    I knew a stake president who at the stake father and son outing (also a wealthy man) cleaned out filthy toilets which nobody else would clean, so the camp could have a place to use the bathroom–

    I would like to see much less of image-consciousness in the church, and I mourn the day that PR became commonly used by the church–

    but it is what it is.

    Mitt Romney is the product of his past (wealthy and connected), his business dealings (watchful and self-interested), his church dealings (maintaining the status quo and conforming to the mainstream while keeping the 'good LDS' image)–

    it will show; it will tell.

    Since it seems that the blog owner is supportive of Romney I will not say anything positive about Paul here–(not good manners)–

    but as an LDS I am grateful when the truth is told about *us* or any of *us* even if it is one of *us* with whom I couldn't find anything to talk about if I were left in a room alone with him (Romney)–LOL!

    Jesus Christ, it was prophesied, would have "no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."

    I think this speaks much to the glitz and glitter that most LDS will come to accept as 'good' in a day when good will be bad and bad good–

    I know there can be substance under image–

    and a person's actions will show whether or not there is substance.

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Romney is a 'good LDS'. I daresay he doesn't smoke, drink, use illegal drugs or be unfaithful to his wife. He most certainly pays a full tithe and keeps a current recommend.

    If that is all that is required to have character then . . .

    perhaps that is why this nation is in such deep distress–

  18. it was that to participate in a public sphere, the religion had to violate its conscience…. and its red herring to compare not serving someone in a restaurant to the state demanding that Catholic church giving contraceptives… a more apt comparison would be the government demanding a Jewish kosher restaurant to use pork because the government believes that everyone needs pork in their diet… it's a different..religious groups are not saying that other non-religious hospitals can't give contraceptives,but the gov't is telling that group they don't have to. But it was nice to have a civilized conversation. thanks

  19. Not so, Anonymous. The state is not demanding that the Catholic Church give out contraceptives, only that its insurance plans cover contraceptives for people who want or need them. No one has to avail themselves of that option if they don't want to.

    The worst that can be said is that an insurance plan that covers contraception will be slightly more expensive than one that doesn't, so Catholics are spending a bit more money on a plan that allows something they don't approve. But that's no different than the fact that someone pays higher taxes than they otherwise would because their government conducts very expensive wars of aggression that violate their religious beliefs. But my hypothetical Christian pacifist is still free to exercise his religion, just as Catholics are. Our constitutionally guaranteed "free exercise of religion" is simply not the same thing as "never having to support anything that violates our religious beliefs." If these were the same things, a pacifist would be able to refuse, on First Amendment grounds, to pay that part of his taxes that supports the military.

    Would you support a pacifist in such a case?

    Note that if there were a military draft, this pacifist would be able to claim conscientious objector status. The government will not compel him to actually fight anyone, just as it is not compelling any Catholics to actually use birth control. But it will compel him to play by the same tax rules as everyone else, just as it is compelling Catholic groups to play by the same health insurance rules as everyone else. See the distinction?

    It is like only dating Victoria Secret models, and then wondering why they can't cook anything besides burned water.

    True. Good thing I know how to cook.

    — Eveningsun

  20. good points, but religious groups already in many ways pay taxes on stuff that violate their conscience or belief systems(and so do non-religious groups pay taxes for things that they disagree with)..that's the name of the game…. but to be forced to take some action in a way deemed by the government or not be able to take that action at all.. that is what this is about… instead of allowing freedom where different groups can offer different plans, and the consumer can choose whether to go to go with a Catholic plan or not… hte government is saying that you have to provide this or your not allowed in the market place.

  21. OK, Anonymous. But what you're saying is that this is not a religious freedom issue, it's some other kind of issue, which has been the point of my last few posts. But in spite of the fact that this isn't a religious freedom issue, Romney and the other GOP candidates will continue to demagogue it as if it were.

    — Eveningsun

  22. Mitt Romney's "robot" joke is nothing compared to Rick Santorum's "Google problem," yet Santorum really cleaned Romney's clock in last night's voting. I was sorry to see Romney do so poorly (I support Obama, but if a Republican is going to be our next president, I'd much rather it be Romney than Santorum.)

    FWIW, I'm glad to see Newt Gingrich fading away. My guess is that Romney, whom everyone knows to be a moderate at heart, is being rejected by voters for trying to be who he's not, while Santorum is being rewarded for just being who he is. (Gingrich, of course, is being rejected for being who he is, which gives me faith in the system.)


  23. and *nobody* even mentions Ron Paul.

    Actually, the New York Times has given pretty extensive coverage to Paul.

    Check it out for yourself. Go to and search on Ron Paul, and you'll find lots of solid stories on him.

    Of course, the Times is a good newspaper. It ain't partisan trash like FOX News.

    — Eveningsun

  24. A joke told at CPAC…:

    A conservative, a moderate, and a liberal walk into a bar.

    The bartender looks up and says, "Hi, Mitt!"

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