January 11, 2012

"There are also aspects of her that make me think of spirited Katharine Hepburn in Holiday, elegant Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca..."

"... wise and proud Greer Garson in The Valley of Decision, and adventurous Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Michelle Obama is not any of these characters, of course, but bears traces of the universal characteristics these women brought to life."
She ranks with the iconic and trailblazing Ruby Dee, Lena Horne and Suzette Harbin because she is a woman who simply knows how to be.

90 comments:

John Bragg said...

Barf.

Michelle Obama has done nothing worth criticizing, and has not made herself a public figure in anything but the most limited sense. But such praise of a politician's wife is unseemly.

Rose said...

Sarah Palin was truly beautiful and wore clothes well.

Immediately after the coronation, the press and PR teams went overboard trying to make Michelle Obama into the great fashionista. She isn't. It's a dud.

I don't go along with those who run her down. But she's NOT, she's just not, and it is offensive to try to make her into - no, to make US say she is.

And that's just the fashion stuff, That's not even counting her own words, her attitude, her created-just-for-her cushy job and this jet-setting and wearing $500 tennis shoes whilst lecturing all of us on the need for sacrifice.

rhhardin said...

There are low standards for protected groups.

rhhardin said...

She makes me think of Wile E Coyote in Roadrunner cartoons, if you have to go to film comparisons.

Ron said...

Half the commenters here have more in common with Kate Hepburn in Holiday than M.O. does!

MadisonMan said...

You know what struck me about that passage?

All the actress cited are ancient, or dead.

Is Judith Howard Ellis actually old, or do WaPo writers simply write assuming that their audience is very very old?

chickenlittle said...

Rose said...
Sarah Palin was truly beautiful and wore clothes well.

And you can't make-up such pulchritude with lipstick; it just is.

Maguro said...

What "aspects" of Michelle Obama could possibly make one think of Ingrid Bergman?

Chip S. said...

Wait a minute. The white women in that list are singled out for their admirable character traits--"spirited," "elegant", "wise", "proud", "adventurous". The black women just know "how to be."

Seems kinda racist.

MayBee said...

Is there a stereotype of an "angry black woman"?

JAL said...

Well Judith Howard Ellis certainly is "creative" at something.

bagoh20 said...

WTF are they talking about? And, they left our The Virgin Mary, Mother Teresa and Madame Currie.

It's amazing what politics can do to the mind.

MayBee said...

The author: Enough. Black women, and all women, for that matter, are entitled to be authentic and upfront.

Nobody was accusing Michelle Obama of being anything but authentic and up front.

bagoh20 said...

She reminds me of Keyser Söze, and I bet Barack agrees with me.

HT said...

Eighteen thousand points for not quoting Robin Ghivan or Givhan!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT A RELIEF

Ann, if you want insight into fashion even fashion and politics, LOOK FURTHER NORTH or in your case east, to

NEW YORK CITY.

Do not, ever, no no no, expect to get fashion insight from Washington, DC!!!!

deborah said...

If there's a trace of Hepburn in Holiday, I'll eat my hat. Now maybe the big sister...

MayBee said...

The Obamas knew this book was being written and allowed their advisers to cooperate with the author. There are a very few unflattering (but not awful) anecdotes.

Michelle Obama decided to use this book to push back against her image by hinting the criticisms are racist.

I'm guessing the book and the timing of the book is a very handy way for the Obamas to get that idea out there.

Mark O said...

And, checks with stripes?

edutcher said...

This is what Dubya meant by soft bigotry of low expectations.

Michelle Obama comes across as "some angry black woman" because she is. It's how she got her hospital job. It's what impelled her to say she was only proud of her country (if, in fact, she views this as her country at all) because her husband was nominated.

So now the White Lefty Establishment has to make her feel good by running nonsense like this. She is no Sojourner Truth and she is no Harriet Tubman. Like her husband, she's had success handed to her because of her color - and her attitude.

She is the first woman I've ever seen with a perpetual scowl on her face.

And she sure as Hell is no Greer Garson (a lady if there ever was one) and no Jackie Kennedy.

wyo sis said...

The entire write up is an example of willful blindness on the part of political hacks. Sometimes kissing up is obvious, and sometimes it's a slap in the face. We're not as stupid as Ms Ellis fondly hopes we are.

The Crack Emcee said...

Every day - I mean every single day - I walk over to my computer, switch it on, and come face-to-face with an insane asylum. Really, there's just no other word for it. I mean, I've seen women like Michelle Obama my entire life - my entire fucking life - and never once did names like Hepburn or Bergman come to mind when I gazed upon such lantern-jawed relics of humanity. They just didn't. And another thing:

There's a thing about a lot of black people's faces, where they don't share what most would call conventional beauty, but they have a majesty all their own - it's a look I find to be about the most comforting image imaginable - the only way I can explain it is like when you see your grandmother smile or something. It's just *right* Well, I don't see that in Michelle Obama's face at all. I see the same angry, evil, I'ma-get-mine-before-you-get-yours visage I imagine people wear as they're pepper spraying each other trying to get the last X-Box at Christmas time.

I don't know what anyone else sees, but as far as I'm concerned, this Judith Howard Ellis person needs psychiatric help and fast, because she's most definitely "out there," and should coaxed back in as soon as humanly possible.

Oh - and one more thing:

As Rose said, the media is attempting to do something to us, and for that reason, newspapers should die. And as soon as possible. This is wrong. It's a kind of manipulation that no unsuspecting person should have to endure. We never asked for this. Michelle Obama is an evil, ugly hag - i have no doubt about that. And trying to convince us otherwise is evil as well. That I can find so little that resembles reality is

We're simply soaking in it.

Rusty said...

Aw, jeeze.

And her vagina can quote Shakespear.

The Crack Emcee said...

Oops - that was the wrong link:

Try this one or this one - both are waaay more appropriate,...

Voltimand said...

Point of this blog entry?

Cheryl said...

I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't have to work this hard to convince me of something that is true.

Also, it was barf-inducing.

SunnyJ said...

The idea that every "stereotype" is discriminatory or negative is a product of language malpractice. If you match a set of observations, objective observations..it is possible you will fit a "type" and if there are enough of your "type" it might come to pass that it will be seen as steriotypical.

Mrs. Obama went way out of her way to demonstrate her negative, possibly angry, reactions to every perceived injustice in her path...this country, obesity, anyone that disagrees with her husband etc. got the "enemy" treatment with much distain and yes, anger.

So if the end result is that you are perceived to be angry, and your skin is 100% observed to be black...then you are likely to be seen as an "angry black woman", and if that fits a type, and there are enough of that type..well, there you go. No affirmative action in the world can deny factual observations and individual perceptions. It is, what it is.

She might want to remind her husband and the AG Holder that all white Americans are not lazy, cowardly, the enemy, racist, riding in the back of the bus, guilty of discrimination when disagreeing with a black person etc.

cassandra lite said...

"She ranks with the iconic and trailblazing Ruby Dee, Lena Horne and Suzette Harbin because she is a woman who simply knows how to be."

I be thinkin' what the writer really meant was along those lines. Why else would she name only black women who know how to be (usin' be properly?

viator said...

...sexy Marilyn Monroe in her designer dresses, Elizabeth I conversing in Latin with an ambassador, Isabella I of Castile personally leading a war on three fronts, Mother Teresa comforting the destitute of Calcutta, Catherine the Great presiding over the Russian enlightenment, Boudica fighting the Romans, Emily Dickinson composing poetry......

Spread Eagle said...

I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't have to work this hard to convince me of something that is true.

Indeed, when it comes to this it's no effort at all if it's genuine. It radiates all on its own. Michelle doesn't like it, but the main thing she radiates is anger. Since she doesn't like it, and since she apparantly wants a different public persona, then what she needs to do is dig down within and work to change it. Rolling out the eyewash and window-dressing ain't gonna get it done.

pm317 said...

"There are also aspects of her that make me think of spirited Katharine Hepburn in Holiday, elegant Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca..."

oh, put a sock in it!

Pastafarian said...

There are aspects of Michelle Obama's persona that remind me of a few actresses: Margaret Hamilton; Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest; that's about it, really. Women that ugly don't get work in Hollywood, and beautiful women like Dunaway don't often take roles that make them look so spectacularly unappealing.

Oh, I forgot one -- an actress with Obama's level of charisma and sex appeal, with a very similar build: Bea Arthur, circa 1985.

Ingrid Bergman? Yeah, not so much.

pm317 said...

Maguro said...

What "aspects" of Michelle Obama could possibly make one think of Ingrid Bergman?
----------

Yeah!..There is no shame for these toe suckers.

Rob said...

I think Mrs. Obama is a fairly attractive woman who keeps herself fairly fit. I think her husband and children are attractive, fit people, also.

However, unlike Mr. Bragg, I think she has done plenty to criticize. She has gotten grossly overpaid for being the wife of a Senator. She is way, way to the left of me. She thinks encouraging young people to avoid working for for-profit corporations is a good idea. She has wasted ridiculous sums of money on family vacations.

Who cares how she looks? Why the heck do sycophants feel this need to project greatness upon their political heroes? Most public figures are far from perfect.

Phil 3:14 said...

ditto Rob

ed said...

Sounds like the Song of Kim Jong Il:

Baekdu Mountain reaches across

To shape our beautiful land.
Cheers resound all over the land
Hailing our dear General.
He's the leader of the people,
Carrying forward the Sun's cause.
Long live, long live, General Kim Jong-il!

All blossoms on this earth
Tell of his love, broad and warm.
Blue East and West Seas sing
His exploits in their song.
He's the artist of great joy,
Glorifying Juche's garden.
Long live, long live, General Kim Jong-il!

The Socialist cause he defends
With iron will and courage.
He raises national honour
Far and wide throughout the world.
He is the champion of justice,
Standing for independence.
Long live, long live, General Kim Jong-il!

Joan said...

Genuine class knows no color.

A quote from the linked article that I actually agree with, but I'm pretty sure that Judy Howard Ellis must not know the topic of Michelle Obama's senior thesis.

David said...

Once again . . . . . .

A GIANT SUCKING SOUND.

(Sorry for the all caps--not my style but rules are made to be broken.)

Rob said...

Following Joan's comment I read Mrs. Obama's senior thesis. To be fair, I think most of us wrote some fairly silly stuff in college (well, I did, anyway), but her thesis is chock full of amazing stuff. The following is part of her introduction.


"Earlier in my college career, there was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the Black community I was somehow obligated to this community and would utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit this community first and foremost. My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my "Blackness" than ever before. I have found that at Princeton no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be Black first and a student second."


Wow, just wow.

1. She just feels like she does not belong, because to them, she "will always be Black first and a student second."

2. I wonder if she ever considered how she would feel about anyone who said this: As a member of the White community I am obligated to this community and will utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit that community first and foremost.

That sounds like the KKK to me.

3. If you feel you are obligated to a group to "...utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit this community first and foremost.", perhaps people will think of you as part of that group first and a student second.

PatCA said...

You mean the author does not see the resemblance between MO and the Mother of God? Racist!

George said...

No, there is no left-wing media bias. At all.

bgates said...

In her solicitousness for the health of others, she reminds me of Kathy Bates in "Misery"; in her grace, Hightower from "Police Academy". Her maternal nature has been illustrated in almost every Disney movie to come out of the animation studio.

But most of all, her fierce determination reminds me of what's-her-name from "Alien".

What was that name again?

I guess they just called it "the alien".

kimsch said...

PatCA - wouldn't that be incestuous? Isn't HE God to the lefties?

wv: mantedle

bgates said...

To be fair, I think most of us wrote some fairly silly stuff in college

To be generous to a fault, compare her drivel to the silliest stuff "most of us" wrote in college.

To be fair, compare it to Ivy League seniors who were offered admission to Harvard Law School.

Gene said...

edutcher: She is the first woman I've ever seen with a perpetual scowl on her face.

I've often thought that too. She looks very defensive to me, like a street kid who's trying to project a "don't mess with me" persona.

jdkchem said...

If we're referring to films I was thinking she seems the girl wookie that drove Chewbacca to a life of smuggling.

mockmook said...

Charlize Theron in Monster?

Coketown said...

I predict Michelle Obama will be a cult figure among American homosexuals within ten years. During the gay idol canonization process, the candidate must possess at least 5 tenuous parallels to actresses of the Golden Age. This makes her "gorgeous," on par with the Catholics' "blessed." Being married to a probable homosexual makes her "venerable." Bitch-slapping another woman and/or drag queen in public makes her "fabulous."

jelink said...

I'm reminded more of Elena Ceausescu.......the same fauxclaims to scholarly erudition, the same blatant hackery (that no-show $300K Chicago job), that same "Do you know who I am?" arrogance.......

But, hey - it could be worse. she could remind me of Clara Petacci.

Unknown said...

It looks like "bong hits for Barack" is now for the common cannon fodder and the Deemocrat propaganda machine and press corps have moved on to LSD.

Thie author olf this roto-rooter piece needs to enroll in a detox program stat.

Remember in November: the LDS candidate over the LSD incumbent! (And no, Romney isn't my cup of tea, but I'd vote for Zeeba the syphilitic camel over 0bama.)

Unknown said...

The presstitutes have clearly graduates from "bong hits for Barack" and moved on to "LSD for Barack".

Seriously. This is utterly embarrassing.

Unknown said...

sorry for quasi-duplkicate comments. Blogger's signin process does not like WP credentials :-(

/New Class Traitor

Wally Kalbacken said...

I'm thinkin' Lawanda Page as Aunt Esther. But that's just me.

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This comment has been removed by the author.
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Steve Koch said...

Michelle reminds me of Eleanor Roosevelt in that both women were quite tall, strong, were very forceful in their political opinions, a bit ungainly, not graceful or elegant, and not super attractive in the traditional sense (though Michelle is much better looking than Eleanor was).

To compare Michelle to Audrey Hepburn is hilarious.

Kovacs said...

Point of this blog entry?

You're new around here, aren't you?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

This brief (thankfully) article is the first one I read this morning.

I can't even feign outrage any more.

Like a bad horror movie, predictable. I won't even go into the obvious irony. I won't mention that if this doesn't prove that these people think we are all dumb hicks, then we aARE all dumb hicks.

Crack, I gotta say that what you wrote had me nodding up and down. Yes. Yes. Yes. The media is quite powerful and it will f_ck you up in a big way. If you let it.

Marshall McLuhan was right.

Wake up people. American politics is so utterly toxic, and it will be the undoing of this country as we've known it, I am afraid.

Christopher in MA said...

Amazing. An entire thread on the First Scowler, and not one post from garbage smirking that we're dying to call her a certain word. This may be a first in the history of Althouse.

Comparing her to Audrey Hepburn? Please. Even when she and Gregory Peck were screwing like minks during "Roman Holiday," she had more class and grace in one fingernail than the lady Obama has in her entire body.

Maybee asks, "is there a stereotype of an angry black woman?"

Tyler Perry.

Matthew said...

Well, she is a woman. I'm sure that makes her like other women.

That's what I got out of the analysis.

(No Name) said...

Two words: Aunt Esther.

MarkD said...

Kim Kardashian with a better tan and worse publicity.

WV: atesseds - big one, check, and this software is racist and sexist.

Jose_K said...

Ingrid Bergmanin Casablaca? an adulteress?

Tank said...

I admit it, when I got to the name Ingrid, my head exploded.

So, I now have to go home and put myself back together.

Ingrid.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

sydney said...

LMARO.
Seriously, do they think this sort of sycophancy helps anyone?

Mike said...

The writer forgot Ma Barker--the matriarch of a criminal gang.

ErnieG said...

Is it too late for another movie reference? How about Angela Lansbury in Manchurian Candidate?

EMD said...

Do lesbians wear kneepads, too?

Henry said...

What is quite weird to me is that I almost never think of Michelle Obama. She doesn't register in my mind, culturally or politically, positively or negatively. The only time I read about her is when Althouse links to something about her. And I rarely comment on those posts.

She's a kind of a cargo cult goddess for second-tier fashion writers, the John Frum of the cloistered Washington social scene. I'm happy she can wear nice clothes and go on nice vacations. That's about it.

Roy Jacobsen said...

This is a prime example of the stuff that makes me say that we should ditch the term "Main-Stream Media" in favor of the more apt "Lickspittle Media."

garage mahal said...

Michelle Obama reminds me more of Jackie O. The style, the fashion sense, she just gives off that aura. And don't even get me started on those exquisitely shaped toned arms. Wow!

EMD said...

Garage ... ; )

William said...

Whenever Mrs. Obama feels unfairly criticized, she can take out this column and regard it as an example of how she is also unfairly praised....Race is a pervasive force in America, and it's fair to say that some of the criticisms of her and, for that matter, Condeleeza Rice have had a racial animus. But Michelle definitely has some rough surfaces that wear abrasively and have nothing to do with race. I don't think Michelle much troubles herself trying to figure out which critiques are justified and which are racially or politically motivated. As a thought exercise. she should review the barbs that were directed at Mrs. Reagan and Hillary and count her blessings.

RonF said...

Criticizing Mrs. Obama for her physical appearance is out of bounds and brings discredit to those who do it and to any groups they can be identified with. People need to stop this, as a) it's rude and b) it hands ammunition to the opposition.

But criticizing the fawning sycophanthy showered over this woman, trying to make her look like something other than a typical Chicago politician's wife and who also had taken advantage of her husband's position (as U.S. Senator) to take her turn feeding at the public trough like it was a earned privilege is right on the money and she should be hammered for it.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

@Christopher in MA said...

Maybee asks, "is there a stereotype of an angry black woman?"

Tyler Perry.


You forget Queen Latifah, she's made a career out of playing one on TV!

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

Did you all know that when Michelle Obama played golf, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, she scored a hole-in-one!? She was born on a mountain top, too.

DADvocate said...

I'm with RonF. But, Michelle's personality would be grating no matter her appearance, build or race.

Garage - did you know Jackie O was bowlegged? She knew how to stand to in photos so as to disguised it.

Christopher said...

Do the authors of these type of articles actually think this helps?

As another poster stated I don't care about the current First Lady (or any previous one), when she does register it is almost always in the form of "And X was there too".

The press probably thinks that they are helping but hese psychophantic articles do nothing to help, and in fact do more harm as they stir up "The Emperor has no clothes" style feelings among most people.

She is not an icon, she is not inspirational, she has nothing in common with the women to whom she was compared (outside of the double X).

The press would do well to realize that this is not a bad thing, it makes her normal and relatable. Unfortunately the press has its head so far up this Administration's ass that they can't see just how silly this makes them (and her) look. When these type of ridiculous articles appear the only comparisons that can be made are not in any way flattering.

But in a world where the press can justify Obama's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize I don't see this happening any time soon.

MayBee said...

You forget Queen Latifah, she's made a career out of playing one on TV!

Really?
I always think of Queen Latifah as an engaging woman.

Smilin' Jack said...

"...she is a woman who simply knows how to be."

A rock simply knows how to be.

She makes me think of all those other women only in the sense that if you put them all together on a scale, they might weigh almost as much as she does.

virgil xenophon said...

RonF's very erudite point is well taken. I'll put it in street vernacular. Michelle Obama is nothing more than a jumped-up, jive-ass affirmative action Queen who got big bucks for a 300k/yr no-show job based ONLY on the fact of her new Senator husband's pull (as witnessed by the fact that her job was so mission-critical to the hospital that they abolished it when she left)that, although coming from a thoroughly middle-class background carries around a chip on her shoulder even larger than did the REAL American slaves who earned the right to do so..

Thorley Winston said...

I agree with the last two paragraphs of what Rob wrote and would just add that ordinarily I’m uncomfortable with discussing an elected official’s family members unless and until they either enter the policy arena or do something that abuses their position. Too much of our political culture focuses around personalities and perception rather than policy issues and this discussion about the First Lady as if she were someone who actually matters only feeds into that problem.

Amartel said...

RonF FTW.
The writer of the article projects her own racial anxiety by presuming that the critics of Mrs. Obama see her as a "Mammy" charater from Gone with the Wind. The article does not address any actual criticisms made by these critics. "Mammy" is what comes first to the author's tiny little mind so she presumes that's what the evil bad critics think, too. No need for further explanation. Then the author overcompensates for her own racism by by comparing Mrs. O to fictional female characters that bear no obvious comparison to Mrs. O. And the delusional self-serving bullshit train chugs on down the track.

roggie said...

When I was a teenage boy I thought the comment"I wouldn't farc her with your dick" was funny until Michale Obama came on the seen as in this article. Now that that comment of young boys has a truth it is true and not comical.Supports the old adage that if one lives long enough one will experience everything.

paul a'barge said...

Here is a photo of Judith, the author of this incredible piece of ass-suck-upery

The best way to deal with idiots is to look at them.

Freeman Hunt said...

Everyone knows how to be, doesn't he? I mean, there he is, so it must be so.

David R. Graham said...

"We're simply soaking in it."

How about not turning on your computer? Someone pushing you into the asylum? Or, need you be a sponge?

Ralph L said...

I have found that at Princeton no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong.
I'm not a fan of either Obama, but when I looked at Princeton as a HS junior in 1977, the female student tour guide told the black family in the group that they probably wouldn't feel comfortable there as students. I was shocked that she'd say that, but it might have been the truth.

EMD said...

Let me know when someone gets around to producing anything close to this.

JAL said...

RonF @ 9:34:

On the money.

Laura said...

A woman who simply knows "how to be" would not dignify unfounded criticism with a response, much less allow it to rouse her ire.

Unfounded criticism, that is.