I am anticipating the return of Saturday Night Live this weekend with the election in full swing. In an article about the comedians who will do impersonations of the candidates, Fred Armisen talks about "doing" Barack Obama:
Obama might at first seem almost too straight of a character for Armisen. While Hammond is a somewhat traditional standup (he performs frequently and has recently begun appearing on Broadway, notably in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"), Armisen is closer to absurdist, Andy Kaufman territory...So the similarity is that Barak Obama has his own Reality Distortion Field?
But he says Obama reminds him of another character of his: Steve Jobs.
"There was something about Senator Obama that I felt they had some similarities — in their presentation, in their love for what they do," says Armisen. "Steve Jobs really makes moments happen."
Reality distortion field is a term coined by Bud Tribble at Apple Inc. in 1981, to describe company co-founder Steve Jobs' charisma and its effects on the developers working on the Mac project. Later the term has also been used to refer to perceptions of his keynote (or Stevenote) by observers and devoted users of Apple computers and products.
Bud Tribble claimed that the term came from Star Trek.
In essence, RDF is the idea that Steve Jobs is able to convince people to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bluster, exaggeration, and marketing. RDF is said to distort an audience's sense of proportion or scale. Small advances are applauded as breakthroughs. Interesting developments become turning points, or huge leaps forward. Those who use the term RDF contend that it is not an example of outright deception but more a case warping the powers of judgment. The term "audience" may refer to an individual whose attitudes Steve is intending to affect.
Often the term is used as a derogatory remark to criticize Apple's products and its more enthusiastic fans.
The term has extended in industry to other managers and leaders, who try to convince their employees to become passionately committed to projects, sometimes without regard to the overall product or to competitive forces in the marketplace. It also has been used with regard to hype for products that are not necessarily connected with any one person .