December 11, 2013

"My Tumblr was once a collection of evidence, convincing the world that something very strange actually existed, but now everyone believes..."

"... and everyone has seen, and Thorning-Schmidt has the evidence on her phone. So it was time to do the only sensible thing: It was time to declare victory, to revel in drawing a line from the bottom to the top."

The creator of the blog Selfies at Funerals declares victory and ends the project after Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt gets British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama to pose alongside her in the selfie she made at the Nelson Mandela memorial service.

AND: There's a strange amount of talk about Michelle Obama's look of seeming disapproval (caught not in the selfie but in the photograph of the selfie getting taken). At Salon, Roxane Gay collects and reacts to the reactions to the First Lady's reaction.
More than anything, the response to these latest images of Michelle Obama speaks volumes about the expectations placed on black women in the public eye and how a black women’s default emotional state is perceived as angry. The black woman is ever at the ready to aggressively defend her territory. She is making her disapproval known. She never gets to simply be...
But none of the responses Gay quotes refer to race or talk about Michelle Obama as anything other than one individual reacting to one particular thing on one occasion. But Gay seems so sure that it's those other people who are failing to perceive Michelle Obama as an individual: "On and on the punditry goes, ascribing very specific, historically racialized narratives to what Michelle Obama is thinking and feeling in one candid moment."

Now, it's not just the selfie. At The Daily News, there's a whole string of photos showing Michelle looking grouchy while Obama seems to be enjoying his interactions with the pretty Danish Prime Minister. But still, there is no reference to race. The closest reference to race is at the rather scurrilous website Gawker:
[T]here is a new sexy spy prime minister in town... and she is maybe kind of pretty if you are into “tall” and “blonde” and “pretty.” You know who does not seem to be that into “tall” and “blonde” and “pretty”? Michelle Obama, that is who! That is some side-eye not seen since the one time John Boehner grabbed her ass at lunch and slurred something about shayna tushies before falling face-first into his organic grassfed triple martini lobster bisque.
I had to go to the "that one time" link to see what that John Boehner incident was and was highly amused to see that Michelle Obama reacted to John Boehner with exactly the look look I described in the previous post as the best response to someone who makes a sexist remark in a social situation.

32 comments:

Irene said...

The Washington Times doesn't link to Feifer's blog? Reminds me of this.

("Best Funerals Ever" also came to mind.)

Lucien said...

If a witty comeback occurs to one, then let fly with it. Others days silence and a scornful glance are just fine. It's not like there are rules.

madAsHell said...

Go to a funeral, and act like a 14-year-old girl.

Yeah....a real classy act.

The only thing missing were the duck lips, and the 2-finger peace sign. Snooki move over!!

Jamie said...

For heaven's sake (with regard to the First Lady); I just assumed she was ticked at her husband for acting without even the decorum we expect a 10-year-old at ANY funeral, much less that we expect from the leader of rhea free world at the funeral of an important dignitary. What a tool our president was being (to say nothing of the instigator of the selfie). I never thought for a second it had anything to do with the race or coloring of said instigator.

Earnest Prole said...

If I remember it right, Michelle Obama rolled her eyes when she overheard Boehner asking her husband if he was able to sneak a smoke before lunch

Freeman Hunt said...

We're being forced to face the fact that this really did happen. How embarassing.

That Michelle Obama did not join in the selfie makes me love her at this moment.

Ann Althouse said...

A very old man, who we knew was going to die, finally did pass on. One has to pretend to be sad about what has happened. When you're on the dais, though, you're supposed to behave. It's a very stiff occasion, but maybe this selfie marks the beginning of a cultural change that we should welcome. There's honesty to it. As long as a death isn't a surprise, why should we display any more sorrow than we could feel all the time knowing that we're all going to die?

I'm just going to guess that what's bugging Michelle Obama is that she feels stuck behaving and she's aware that her husband is going to be criticized for this specific instance of what is usually loved about him, his relaxed demeanor and his spontaneous smiling. She does not have the option of doing the same, and she must simply endure the funeral setting.

paminwi said...

Remember the same look when Michelle looked askance at Carla Bruni?

http://images.huffingtonpost.com/gen/84853/original.jpg

Freeman Hunt said...

The issue isn't lack of sorrow; it's lack of formality.

lemondog said...

Maybe MO had cramps.

Joe said...

One has to pretend to be sad about what has happened.

Unless it's Graham Chapman. Very funny funeral.

MayBee said...

The BBC is reporting South African attendees are upset because the memorial was boring, with all the long political speeches.

They wanted music and celebration. They wanted fun.

But they got a bunch of world leaders rushing to pay solemn tribute to Mandela by giving long dull speeches designed to help themselves at home or on the world stage, but acting giddy behind the scenes.

MayBee said...

Also:

I never heard this "angry black woman" stereotype prior to a few years ago. Had anybody else heard it?

CWJ said...

Althouse said - "There's honesty to it."

I think the same can be said of all boorish behaviour.

lemondog said...

They wanted music and celebration. They wanted fun.

Crowds singing at Mandela Memorial

May be the selfie moments took place during the crowds singing and dancing.

Julie C said...

There's honesty to lifting your leg and cutting a big one but we prefer people to have a little respect for those around them.

I'm with Freeman - I didn't expect tears and wailing, but behaving like a teenager is unbecoming. Heck, most of the teens I know have enough sense not to take selfies at a funeral.

lemondog said...

Video of BO/MO/Danish PM

Tari said...

I've never liked Michelle Obama much before those pictures, now I love her. Having to babysit a husband who doesn't know how to act at a solemn event like a funeral would suck. Having him be the freaking president at the same time? She has my sympathy and respect.

Not many sites have the final picture, where Michelle O. moved and sat in between her husband and the Danish chick. That one is my absolute favorite.

Sam L. said...

Married to BO, MO has plenty reason and opportunity for that face. No blame for MO!

pm317 said...

This whole Obama soap opera reminds me of this video: Obama dances with Thalia. Watch MO as he gets back to his seat and tries to talk to her -- watch her reaction at 3:50+..

MO was not unhappy about Obama's juvenile behavior because she had her own juvenile reaction to show to the world. She just didn't like him cavorting with the hot, blonde Danish PM and sat there with that scowl on her face. Later, she sat between them and there is a picture where he is kissing her hand, and so on. It is not just Obama that we should be embarrassed about.

pm317 said...

I think MO's problem is one of lack of sophistication -- is that because of money, race, and so on? May be, may be not. Because she was also somebody who got the best opportunities in life to go to the best schools. There seems to be a lot of 'I don't belong here' kind of inner daemons where there need not be any. Most spouses in her position have a 'public' face and a 'public' persona. She seems to have no use for that idea. Why she should reveal so much of herself being on the world stage is something she seems to not understand. And I call that lack of sophistication.

pm317 said...

BTW, my search string on youtube for finding Obama dancing video was "inauguration dance jealous Obama singer"

Mrs Whatsit said...

Ann, for heaven's sake. The memorial was not about sadness that Mandela died, it was about recognizing the greatness of his life. Pretending to be sad is not at all the same thing as showing appropriate respect for a great man -- or, at least, displaying the dignity and maturity that ought to go with the Presidency. I guess Obama was being honest about not having respect, dignity or maturity -- but that's hardly something to celebrate.

wildswan said...

It cost 700,000 dollars to fly him there for his selfie-at-Mandela's-memorial and another 700,000 to fly him back. So the Danish PM was a million dollar babe.

CWJ said...

OK,

So how is the "selfie photo" photo playing in Denmark and the UK?

I honestly don't know.

pm317 said...

@cwj

http://ekstrabladet.dk/nyheder/samfund/article2170914.ece

CWJ said...

Thanks. I guess I have google translating ahead of me.

William said...

The burden of guilt, if any, belongs to the Dane dame. She's the one who took out the camera. One also notes that the Conservative British PM also got his face in the picture......Is it possible that there are people here who would unfairly single out Obama for criticism?

eric said...

Look, this is just silly and stupid. I'm sure if George W. Bush went to Obama's funeral (Heaven Forbid!) and was laughing and taking selfies with others, the Democrats would completely ignore it.

heyboom said...

It's a very stiff occasion, but maybe this selfie marks the beginning of a cultural change that we should welcome.

And yet we all know how you feel about men wearing shorts.

Archie said...

The FLATUS is a very unpleasant looking women at best but I'll grant you was too dignified to do the mugging that her husband and other national losers did. They came close to mooning the entire event. I wonder how Black folks liked BHO's antics at the funeral of the greatest Black man of the 20th century?

Earnest Prole said...

Here you go: Were Michelle Obama's epic eye rolls the result of a joke by John Boehner about her husband's smoking habit?

Everything is sexist in a binary world.