Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Delusion of Grandeur - 4 Degrees from Ultimate Power!

So today an odd thought struck me ... which is, of course, not particularly unusual, but this one was odder than most. If I needed, for some reason, to get in touch with the President of the United States ... would I have any potential means to do so? (Aside from, of course, the WhiteHouse.gov contact page.) It just so turns out that I do!

Now, for my purposes, it has to be a path to the President in which each and every person actually knows who the other person is. My father, for example, is active in local and state Democratic politics and has met both of the Clintons, and may even have met Obama himself ... but if he tried to get in touch with any of them, I'm fairly certain that none of them would remember him. So each leg has to be a two-way street, not just fawning over a famous person who has no idea who you are.

It took only a few minutes of thought before I realized that I do have such a path. In fact, not only do I have the path, but I can document it photographically ... which I will now do.

First, a 2001 picture of me with science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer, when we met at Eeriecon III. (I interviewed Robert J. Sawyer, in fact.) In 2005, I took part in the week-long "Writing with Style" workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts, taught by RJS, and I have been acknowledged in his Hugo-winning novel Hominids and in Rollback. He was the first person to review String Theory for Dummies on Amazon.com. So, he knows who I am, and therefore qualifies under my terms as a legitimate leg of this odd thought experiment. If I needed to get in touch with the President, Sawyer would take my call ... even if he refused to pass me further up the chain (which is, let's face it, probably the smart course of action on his part).
Next comes an August 2009 picture featuring a much-leaner Robert J. Sawyer alongside John Cho, one of the stars of the ABC television series FlashForward (loosely based upon the RJS novel of the same name). Based upon the exchange detailed on Rob's blog, it appears that John would probably remember Rob ... although it might be as the person who obliquely implied that he's a closet homosexual, so who knows if he'd be inclined to pass any message along. Still, it fits my criteria as a potential route to contact the President (although at this point, some of you dear readers may be confused as to how).
Also, Rob appeared in the pilot episode of FlashForward, in which Cho was a main character, which means that from this point forward we can proceed loosely under the rules of the "6 Degrees of Separation of Kevin Bacon" ... I'll just need to bring my camcorder next time I meet up with Rob at a convention! (Cho & Sawyer were not in a scene together, however, which means that my more strict rules for "6 Degrees of Separation," which necessitates that characters not just be in the same television show or film, but also be in the same scene, cannot be applied.)

John Cho is known for things other than FlashForward, of course. He first came to prominence as the guy who, in the original American Pie film, defined the term "MILF" for an unfamiliar public. (Kids, if you don't know already, ask your mom. Please videotape her reaction for me.) His most popular role, though, is as Harold Lee in the buddy-stoner films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, alongside the Indian actor Kal Penn. (The image below is from the Guantanamo Bay installment of the saga.)
Kal Penn followed up Harold & Kumar by taking on the role of Lawrence Kutner on Fox's medical drama series House, M.D. ... which he left in early 2009 to join the staff of the Obama White House as associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, as an Indian-American community liason. Here is a picture of him with Barack Obama. (I assume that video of the two of them together at some sort of rally or press release exists, but I haven't been able to find it.)
Unfortunately, as I researched this blog post (yes, I actually research this stuff), I found out that just earlier this month Kal Penn announced that he's leaving his post at the White House to return to Hollywood, apparently for a Christmas-themed Harold & Kumar movie. (Another five after that and they'll surpass the Hope/Crosby "Road to" movies as the classic buddy/adventure/romance/comedy/satirical movies.)

April 2010 has been a particularly interesting month for Penn, since he's also been mugged at gunpoint.

Despite Penn's pending return to Hollywood, given the amount of campaigning he did for the President, Obama is certain to know who he is, so he fits my criteria.

Therefore, the path is: Me -- Robert J. Sawyer -- John Cho -- Kal Penn -- Barack Obama. 

4 degrees of separation! I officially rock!

What's really disturbing is that I'm even slightly more excited that this same chain gets me to Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, AngelFirefly/Serenity, and Dollhouse) in just as many steps: 

Me -- Robert J. Sawyer -- John Cho -- Neil Patrick Harris (also in both Harold & Kumar films) -- Joss Whedon (Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog)

Ah, the (impotent) power that I now (think I) wield!
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