January 9, 2012

"Kantor nails her story... and casts it all in the stock lexicon of D.C. confrontations: Gibbs 'shook with rage' and soon 'stormed out.'"

Writes David Remnick:
The rest of the group “sat stunned.” The conflict, the profanity, the yelling: it’s the sort of vivid, if ultimately meaningless, detail that provides books like “Renegade,” “Game Change,” and, now, “The Obamas” with their lurid and irresistible zing. Such books regard more earnest matters like history, context, and ideas the way a child looks at a plate of Brussels sprouts. They aim to serve up big bowls of ice cream. And, no matter what Michelle Obama counsels, we political gluttons will lick the spoon clean.
Indeed, Remnick can't resist copying out a dialogue between Robert Gibbs and Valerie Jarrett that contains 4 "fucks," including "fuck her too!" — "her," being the First Lady. Mmmm. Ice cream! But I've had too much. I'm not interested in dessert.

74 comments:

rhhardin said...

We need a list of emotions you can shake with.

I nominate hunger.

Awesome said...

Remember that scathing review of "Game Change" that Reminck wrote, criticizing all the "vivid, if ultimately meaningless, detail"?

Richard Dolan said...

And, after giving such play to the Gibbs v. Jarrett confrontation at the start of his article, Remnick dismisses it as of no significance. The interesting observation came later in Remnick's piece, where he quotes one of the Obamas' few close friends as saying that the first black President is determined not to say what it's really been like to be the first black President. The reason, so Remnick suggests, is related to wariness about dealing with perceptions and attitudes regarding affirmative action. Remarkable if not suprising even (perhaps especially) at the pinnacle of success in America.

The Crack Emcee said...

I remember, back in the day, when people tried to pose like my swearing was some awful breach of decorum. I knew it was bullshit because,..well, because I'm an adult and know how people talk when they're not bullshitting each other - why should I change to join them in the deception? It's only when ice cream is saved, for special occasions, it becomes a big deal, right? And I know - not "believe" but KNOW - you're all taking tastes when nobody's looking. You're doing all kinds of shit when nobody's looking. But what's the meaning of integrity?

How you behave when nobody's looking,...

Pastafarian said...

From the linked article: "Most Americans admired Michelle Obama and were moved by her forthright intelligence and her determination to raise two normal daughters in the phantasmagorical aquarium blah blah blahh...."

There's five more pages of that shit at the link. I made it through two, and I think I should receive a medal.

MayBee said...

On the Today show, Kantor admitted it's overall a positive look at the first lady.

The White House is just a bunch of hard working public servants, willing to fight each other luridly(!) for the good of all of us.

EMD said...

Jarrett always comes off to me as the only one with any balls. But even I know there's differences between men and women.

Pogo said...

I skimmed the article until I reached:

"The cultural politics of race in America are always refracted through class."

I could go no further.

There's bullshit, then there's boring bullshit.

The article had turned into a Wesleyan junior's sociology paper, handed in late.

EMD said...

On the Today show, Kantor admitted it's overall a positive look at the first lady.

Wait, did this book come from, gulp, a corporation?

MayBee said...

If Obama has never been a white president, how can he have much insight about what it's like to be the first black president?

Richard Dolan said...

There was a similar moment for Michelle -- when she was asked to be the cover/featured story for Vogue. Her black advisers were all for it -- good role model, good to showcase a successful black woman; while her white advisers were against -- not the right time to be decked out in fancy designer togs, insensitive, blah, blah, blah. Michelle did the fashion spread, and wore high fashion (J Wu) as well as more simple fare (J Crew). It even rhymed.

For both him and her, it's striking how symbolism and imagery were so central -- much more so than many of the other first couples profiled in Remnick's piece. Remnick suggests (I tend to agree) that it has more to do with the uniqueness of the first black First Couple in a country where race is never an easy topic, at least as much as it reflects the Obamas' self-regard.

edutcher said...

"Most Americans admired Michelle Obama and were moved by her forthright intelligence".

Gee, and here it seemed like most Americans thought she was the most ungrateful, unpleasant, spendthrift, racist woman they'd ever encountered in public life.

MayBee said...

good role model, good to showcase a successful black woman; while her white advisers were against -- not the right time to be decked out in fancy designer togs,

But who doubts the existence of successful black women? Who thinks there is a need to promote the first lady as a black role model? Is there a lack of female role models, or black female role models?

ISTM the white advisers were seeing her as a first lady, and the black advisers were seeing her as a black first lady. Who are the people we are supposed to be imagining wanted more from her because of her race? Or were the advisers simply trying to create something, to get more mileage for her, for political advancement?

Robert Cook said...

"Gee, and here it seemed like most Americans thought she was the most ungrateful, unpleasant, spendthrift, racist woman they'd ever encountered in public life."

And how do you presume to know or to speak for what "most Americans" think of Mrs. Obama?

I'm no fan of her husband, but I have absolutely no idea who she is or what she's like...because it's of no moment to me.

I suspect "most Americans" have a similar lack of knowledge of who she is or what she's like, and as little care.

Curious George said...

"Pogo said...
The article had turned into a Wesleyan junior's sociology paper,..."

That's good.

"...handed in late."

Why I love Pogo. Brilliant!

ic said...

Ooops, someone will not be invited to the White House party again.

MadisonMan said...

Ah, Book Publicity.

Has anything else spawned more column inches of breathless prose that meant nothing?

holdfast said...

Obama is President at a moment in history when the forces arrayed against him are preposterously difficult and malign... The public is angry and the crises—economic, diplomatic, environmental, social, and political—are myriad.

By almost any measure the environment is much better than it has been in decades - the air is cleaner, the lakes are less acidic, oil spills, when then happen, are taken seriously and the response it much faster than in decades past. It is only the unhealthy obsession with the poor little carbon dioxide molecule that begets this invented crisis.

Scott M said...

Are there are available betting pools on when Valerie Jerrett is going to come out as a post-op woman? Is this covered in the book?

LarsPorsena said...

"...I'm no fan of her husband, but I have absolutely no idea who she is or what she's like...because it's of no moment to me."

That's because you move is such rarified circles..but us plebes have to pay for her parties.

holdfast said...

From the New Yorker "Most Americans admired Michelle Obama and were moved by her forthright intelligence and her determination to raise two normal daughters in the phantasmagorical aquarium of the White House, but the staff feared her.

Care to prove the admiration assertion? Didn't think so.

Kids who are send to "Sidwell Friends" and on whom is lavished $30k/annum in activity spending (pre-WH) are not "normal" at all. Plus the elder one is freakishly tall.

garage mahal said...

And how do you presume to know or to speak for what "most Americans" think of Mrs. Obama?

Right wing blogs = Real Murka.

MayBee said...

Maybe a better way to say what I'm trying to say is: this book is trying to sell the idea that the Obama White House continued lavish spending on itself, and fostered a glamorous reputation, because they felt the special pressure of being the first black president and first lady.

Which I believe to be either an excuse, or pressure of their own invention.
Couples in the WH will use it to enhance their lifestyle and their images, or they won't. The choice is entirely their own. The American people are happy to look elsewhere for our celebrities and lifestyle gurus.

John said...

I think we should leave people's families alone. I didn't like it when left half wits like garage were going after the Bush twins. And I don't like people going after Michelle Obama.

Look, Obama is the worst President in living memory. There are so many ways to criticize him. Why is Michelle worthy of paying any attention to?

holdfast said...

"They talk about how African-Americans of their class and generation feel the weight of race most acutely in relation to affirmative action, sensing that whites often think they have not truly earned their place at Harvard or Princeton or on the medical faculty.

How about we fix that? Release Obama's transcripts. Hell, even Bush and Kerry did (much to Kerry's chagrin).

Still, I do feel a bit sorry for Obama - I hadn't know that his mother in law was in the WH.

John said...

"They talk about how African-Americans of their class and generation feel the weight of race most acutely in relation to affirmative action, sensing that whites often think they have not truly earned their place at Harvard or Princeton or on the medical faculty."

But in the case of the Obamas that is true.

holdfast said...

John - really, because the MFM keeps shoving her down our throats. It's a natural reaction to all the sick-making articles about her perfect beauty, dress sense and poise, when really the opposite is true. She's a weapon in his political arsenal (like a Bat'leth), and as such she has to be blunted or deflected.

MayBee said...

Why is Michelle worthy of paying any attention to?

She isn't. The families should be a non-entity.
But Jodi Kantor is about to release a book for which she got a 7-figure deal, and top WH advisers and Obama friends cooperated.

So apparently the Obamas think she is worthy of paying attention to. Why that is, is up to us to figure out.

John said...

Holdfast,

The media's promotion of her just shows how racist liberals are. Michelle is an average looking middle aged mom. There is nothing glamorous about her. Every time the media pretends there is, they are just showing they hold black people to lower standards than whites. It is like telling the special Olympian what a great swimmer they are. It is sad and ought to be ignored.

garage mahal said...

I think we should leave people's families alone. I didn't like it when left half wits like garage were going after the Bush twins

I may be a half wit, but unlike you, I don't have to lie to make a point.

Amartel said...

John,

Don't ask us - ask Ms. Kantor, and all the other breathless gasping gossipy fans of the Obamas, why Mrs. Obama is worth paying attention to. If she's part of the show (and, she clearly IS) why shouldn't people feel free to comment on the special effects and their obvious inauthenticity?

holdfast said...

John:

Exactly, but she plays along, and even seems to enjoy it with her $400 sneakers worn to a homeless shelter. She simply lacks taste.

Scott M said...

Don't ask us - ask Ms. Kantor, and all the other breathless gasping gossipy fans of the Obamas, why Mrs. Obama is worth paying attention to.

I don't know about you guys, but I can't tear my eyes away when she goes strapless. The burning question of why her advisers would allow someone with linebacker shoulders and arms like that to wear such things...tsk tsk tsk.

Christopher in MA said...

"Preposterously difficult and malign" my ass. Bush got hammered for eight years by a barking mad Democrat opposition that practically cheered the Iraqi resistance from the floor of Congress.

If Little Black Jesus had half the public colonoscopy that someone like Rick Perry has had, he'd still be a "present"-voting hard heeler back in Chicago snorting coke off of Kal Penn's abs and muttering about the racist AmeriKKA that won't give a black man a break.

Jay said...

Most Americans admired Michelle Obama and were moved by her forthright intelligence

*GIGGLE*

Yeah, uh huh.

bagoh20 said...

Jersey Shore for the credentialed, but without the hot bodies.

Freeman Hunt said...

I loved this:

White House staffers always fear the First Lady. They fear, above all, her nighttime access, the pillow talk that can undo their careful planning.

Heh heh. Too true. I love that there are things about marriage that make it formidable.

MayBee said...

"They talk about how African-Americans of their class and generation feel the weight of race most acutely in relation to affirmative action, sensing that whites often think they have not truly earned their place at Harvard or Princeton or on the medical faculty."

The best way to combat that is to fill slots on the Supreme Court and in the administration with people touted as "historic firsts". Amirite?

LilEvie said...

wv: amben

What I won't need after reading the linked article or the book.

MayBee said...

White House staffers always fear the First Lady. They fear, above all, her nighttime access, the pillow talk that can undo their careful planning.

I think that was included to make sure everyone knows they sleep together. I mean, this could have been about dinner table conversations.

Tim said...

"They talk about how African-Americans of their class and generation feel the weight of race most acutely in relation to affirmative action, sensing that whites often think they have not truly earned their place at Harvard or Princeton or on the medical faculty."

Really now?

So, notwithstanding the utterly transparent fact Obama is, without question, the single-most least qualified (redundancy intended) candidate ever nominated by either major party for president, why don't they do something about it, rather than, all-too-predictably, complaining and feeling like victims?

But in the end, the fault lies not with them - they only used the system as offered to them - it lies with those who ignored, discounted or simply didn't care that electing (or admitting, or hiring, or promoting) the unqualified and inexperienced would not, ipso facto, bestow the very qualifications and experience they so glaringly did not posses.

Freeman Hunt said...

But isn't it normal to talk on and on and on when you're going to bed? It must be one of the leading causes of lack of sleep in married households. I know I've lost much more sleep to conversation than I've ever lost to infants.

Kirk Parker said...

TMI, Freeman, TMI.

Robert Cook said...

"Look, Obama is the worst President in living memory."

Apparently you can't remember anything earlier than January 2009.

"Bush got hammered for eight years by a barking mad Democrat opposition that practically cheered the Iraqi resistance from the floor of Congress."

You're just making shit up, dude. The Democrats are to be condemned because they largely cooperated and are complicit with Bush in the war crime of our illegal invasion of Iraq.

And, whereas the Democrats can be criticized for many ills, "barking mad" only describes one party in Washington, and it ain't the Dems.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

"They talk about how African-Americans of their class and generation feel the weight of race most acutely in relation to affirmative action, sensing that whites often think they have not truly earned their place at Harvard or Princeton or on the medical faculty."

Well, I guess they didn't earn their places at Harvard or Princeton. If they were truly brilliant, they'd realize that there is an easy remedy for this dilema!

Robert Cook said...

"I know I've lost much more sleep to conversation than I've ever lost to infants."

Isn't there something else much more fundamental that might also compete with "talking" and "infants" for causing loss of sleep?

Scott M said...

Sir Lister Of Smeg

pm317 said...

"White House staffers always fear the First Lady. They fear, above all, her nighttime access, the pillow talk that can undo their careful planning."

---

OMG, warn the NYT's Judith Warner!!

MayBee said...

But isn't it normal to talk on and on and on when you're going to bed?

It can be, and we've heard about "pillow talk" and first ladies before. We've also heard about Barack and Michelle sitting in the WH residence, talking about the 10 letters he'd been given to read for the day. (of course, we've also heard how stinky Barack is in bed)

At the same time, I think political operatives are very careful about the words they use.

Freeman Hunt said...

Marian Robinson, Michelle’s mother, is the most endearing figure in the book; her lack of pretension has survived her relocation from a bungalow on the South Side to a third-floor bedroom in the White House residence. At the White House, the First Mother-in-Law insists on doing her own laundry, and, when she slips into D.C. on her own and someone stops her on the street to say she looks like the First Lady’s mother, she just smiles and says, “I get that a lot.”

No, First Mother-in-Law, no. You must take them up on the laundry service. You must. Laundry is onerous. Much less so when one is getting paid to do it and can see it as money. Let the staff do the laundry. Everyone wins.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think we should leave people's families alone. I didn't like it when left half wits like garage were going after the Bush twins. And I don't like people going after Michelle Obama.


I agree. The children should be off limits.

BUTT...., since Michelle has taken it upon herself to go after us, telling us what to eat and nagging about exercise, intruding into our lives and telling us how Barack is going to make us work......turn about is fair.

Plus. The money that she is spending comes from US. They aren't spending their own money. They are spending OURS. Plus they are wasting our time playing dressup while the country is crumbling around us.

If the government can get into our lives because we allow them to control our health insurance and health care programs.....we can do the same thing back at them.

timmaguire42 said...

I suppose it would be possible for me to care less about this book (or any book in its genre), but it's hard to imagine how.

Christopher in MA said...

"Making shit up," Robert? The Democrats only supported the war UNTIL they realized they would lose elections because of it.

Then they reverted to type, giving us shrieks of "the war is lost!" "our troops are like Nazis!" "I believe Saddam Hussein more than I believe George Bush!" And that's not even mentioning Code Pink's supplying arms to the Iraqis, the MSM orgasm over Abu Gahrib or lesser left lights such as the Salon (I believe) writer who famously admitted he wished for bad news from Iraq just to hurt Bush.

And please. We've been over this ad nauseam. The invasion was not "illegal." You're smrater than that.

Christopher in MA said...

"You're smrater than that."

But I'm not, apparently.

Scott M said...

White House Chief of Staff William Daley will quit his post this afternoon less than a year after taking the job, sources said

What's the record for chief's of staff in one term? Untimely deaths and alien abductions don't count.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

Code Pink's supplied arms to the Iraqis?

I must have missed this one. Jim Hoft exclusive?

AJ Lynch said...

"What's the record for the most C.O.S. in one term"?

The better question is what is the record for Presidential aides who have virtually no private sector experience?

Kirk Parker said...

"You're smrater than that. "

Objection! Asserting facts not in evidence!

EMD said...

Code Pink's supplied arms to the Iraqis?

Damn ... I can't think of anything funny.

Robert Cook said...

"'Making shit up,' Robert? The Democrats only supported the war UNTIL they realized they would lose elections because of it.

"Then they reverted to type, giving us shrieks of 'the war is lost!' 'our troops are like Nazis!' 'I believe Saddam Hussein more than I believe George Bush!'"


Um...no.

garage mahal said...

Damn ... I can't think of anything funny

Do you think Code Pink sent actual arms to Iraq? How do you suppose they pulled that off?

Michael said...

I don't believe Code Pink supplied arms to the insurgents in Iraq. I think they did supply them with monetary aid of some sort, perhaps in the form of medical supplies. Money is fungible, of course.

Robert Cook said...

"I don't believe Code Pink supplied arms to the insurgents in Iraq. I think they did supply them with monetary aid of some sort, perhaps in the form of medical supplies. Money is fungible, of course."

So, apparently, is the meaning of words. I guess "insurgents" can mean "anyone in Iraq" if the speaker's intent is to smear the charitable actions of well-meaning persons.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201010130062

caplight said...

Robert Cook said: "m no fan of her husband, but I have absolutely no idea who she is or what she's like...because it's of no moment to me."

Let it be known that on the Ninth Day of January in the Year of Our Lord 2012 I completely agreed with a post from Robert Cook.

MayBee said...

David Remnick did himself write a book about Barack Obama The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama .

It is notable that in the book, he dropped the tidbit that Bill Ayers had brought Obama on to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge board. That seems uninteresting now, but the 2008 election was full of lies and omissions from Obama about both CAC and Ayers.

However, that book did its best to drop a few tidbits on the way to boosting the idea that Obama walked with radicals but never became one himself. (here, The Specator reviews)

The way the Obamas use the publishing industry is very interesting to me.

Michael said...

Robert Cook. That depends on the meaning of "well meaning people". And you can be sure that the "well meaning people" did not intend to mean well via the U.S. but rather on a direct basis with "anyone in Iraq" that was unaffiliated with the U.S.

William said...

I don't think political affiliation is the determining factor in the quality or contentment of a Presidential marraige. I will say this, however. The greatest gap between the public's perception and the reality of the marriage has existed in Democratic marriages. Wilson & Edith, FDR & Eleanor, JFK & Jackie: Their marriages were radically different than what the public was led to believe. In the fullness of time, I would bet that the Clintons and the Obamas will be added to that list. I don't understand the dynamics of their marriage, but I instinctively feel that it's far different than the stories that are propogated..... David Remnick joins Jodi Kantor in his wish to believe the best about the Obamas and their marriage. Fine. They remind me of the Fabian socialists writing about the kindly twinkle they saw in Joe Stalin's eyes during their exlusive interview with the great man.

gadfly said...

"Most Americans admired Michelle Obama and were moved by her forthright intelligence and her determination to raise two normal daughters in the phantasmagorical aquarium of the White House ..."

I quit reading after the above phrase appeared. What a pile of BS! She just needs to spend more time on exotic vacations courtesy of the taxpayer. The kids never get in the way of a good time. Elitists are all about being elite.

Ralph L said...


The most politically powerful of the modern First Ladies were Nancy Reagan
Don't they have editors at the New Yorker?

Bill said...

"—Obama has said that he can hardly wait to begin his life as an ex-President—"

... too easy?

Christopher in MA said...

"Um. . .no."

I see I need to rethink my estimate of your intelligence, Robert.

EMD said...

Do you think Code Pink sent actual arms to Iraq? How do you suppose they pulled that off?

No.

Re-read my post. I was trying to make fun of the suggestion they did, but could not come up with anything I found sincerely funny.

Tarzan said...

"They talk about how African-Americans of their class and generation feel the weight of race most acutely in relation to affirmative action, sensing that whites often think they have not truly earned their place at Harvard or Princeton or on the medical faculty."

The answer to this is clearly going involve fiscal reparations for emotional duress caused by the mis-guided application of affirmative action.

Tarzan begins to understand this lawyer stuff!