Deeper into Jeopardy! II: Obama-Rama – $400

Jeopardy! category: OBAMA-RAMA (21-01-2014)

$400 clue: President Obama’s father, Barack Sr., was born in this country & was eventually a senior economist in its government.

Correct response (highlight to see): KENYA

The gist: Obama’s namesake father, as we discussed yesterday, was born in Kenya and moved back to that country after going through a divorce from the President’s mother. Although not as famous as his son, Barack Sr. was no slouch himself, earning a Master’s degree in economics from Harvard just before returning to Kenya and marrying his second wife. He eventually earned a position in the Kenyan Ministry of Finance but was fired following the assassination of Tom Mboya, Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Barack Sr.’s boss,  and the subsequent souring of the relationship between Barack Sr. and Jomo Kenyatta, first president and founding father of Kenya (and father of current Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, the two of them being among the easiest-to-remember world leaders given their surname). Barack Obama, Sr. died in a car crash in 1982.

The clue: Another clue, like yesterday’s, whose correct response has probably been propagated more by the birthers than by civic awareness. There are no real clues to help you figure it out if you don’t already know the answer, but thanks to the crazies most Jeopardy! viewers probably do. Even if you’re only superficially familiar with the conspiracy theories, you’ve probably heard Kenya used in connection to Obama’s father as ostensible evidence for the President’s alleged birthplace. I do like that the writers threw in the bit about his being a senior economist, a nice little addendum used to teach while asking.

In Jeopardy!: Again like yesterday’s clue, Kenya’s apparently never been asked about in connection to Obama until last week. Maybe with Obama in his second term the writers are more willing to delve into “controversial” territory with some birther-baiting, or to make oblique reference to such theories? Your guess is as good as mine. Kenya, of course, as a populous and relatively prosperous African nation, has appeared in a good number of clues (171), so you might read up on it if you have a few minutes – the most common topics are the capital Nairobi and safari-type wildlife.

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