On February 1, 2013, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his decision to step down. After serving under President Obama for one term, Chu will leave his position in the administration once his successor is selected.
With his impressive credentials (as professor at University of California at Berkeley, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize) and passion for renewable energy, Chu was viewed by many as a formidable foil on several controversial subjects—ranging from climate change to hydraulic fracturing to the viability of nuclear power in a post-Fukushima age. However, few of his critics could anticipate one aspect of Chu’s character: his unflappable sense of humor.
The Onion put that character trait to the test this week. A February 7, 2013 post entitled “Hungover Energy Secretary Wakes Up Next To Solar Panel,” opened with the following:
WASHINGTON—Sources have reported that following a long night of carousing at a series of D.C. watering holes, Energy Secretary Steven Chu awoke Thursday morning to find himself sleeping next to a giant solar panel he had met the previous evening. “Oh, Christ, what the hell did I do last night?” Chu is said to have muttered to himself while clutching his aching head and grimacing at the partially blanketed 18-square-foot photovoltaic solar module whose manufacturer he was reportedly unable to recall.
The story was accompanied by the following photo:
Apparently, Chu played along with the story. NPR Morning Edition reports, “On Facebook, he said he wouldn’t confirm or deny the charges, but clarified his stepping down is unrelated.”