Thursday, 2 April 2009

Michelle Obama and the inevitable backlash

This is some extraordinarily moving footage, and I'll explain why I think so.

First off, the charisma that the Obamas exude is something that has been dealt with on the right in a fairly graceless manner. I can't recall a single person on the left - and excuse me if I'm wrong on this - tarring Laura Bush, or, in fact, portraying her as anything other than what she was, which was a tireless advocate for literacy and education. Everybody loves a librarian, right?

Michelle, on the other hand, has been subject to every smear in the book, and even a few written in the margins, as the ever inventive Burt Prelutsky proved:

Take Michelle Obama...please. Every time I turn around, there she is on a magazine cover. Now, normally, like the Mafia, I lay off the spouses, but inasmuch as this particular spouse attended the same racist church as her hubby for 20 years, I'll make an exception in her case. After all, in spite of the fact that affirmative action got her an Ivy League degree and a $7,000-a-week salary and, moreover, has sent billions of dollars for no particularly good reason to Africa, she insists this is a mean country. The burning question in my circle is: if the First Family gets a female dog, will she be the First Bitch or will she have to settle for second place?
Now THAT'S comedy, folks! Stay classy, you sickening god damned excuse for a paltry wingnut imitation of a human being.

Here's my prediction: the footage from BBC that I posted above will fuel the ongoing alien/other/SECRET MUSLIM narrative that the fine folks at WorldNetDaily and other places have been stoking. As long as the proper code words are used ("NOT A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN" "MADRASSA" etc.) the outright ignorance and prejudice behind these complaints can almost be masked. What I predict is the following response to the above video:

HEADSCARVES! Did you see those girls hugging Michelle wearing headscarves?! ISLAM!

With that in mind, let's have a listen again to what Michelle Obama said in her speech:

Getting a good education is so important...Because communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women. And that's important to keep in mind. Part of that health includes an outstanding education.
If we're all committed to combating Islamic extremism (or, hell, religious extremism of any kind) we should all agree with such a simple statement. The fact that Ms. Obama is making that statement, while raising two young girls herself, to a group of students that, yes, probably includes a substantial Muslim population - well, you'd have to be insane not to see this as a very bold move on Obama's part.

After all, those on the left who oppose combating the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan (I'm looking at you, AlterNet) and those on the left who support such a move (hi there) can agree on one thing: cavemen with Kalashnikovs who throw acid in the faces of girls who want to go to school have no place at the table, politically speaking.

But Prelutsky is more worried about that uppity 'first bitch,' and I'm sure his comrades in arms at WND are too.


Well, I predicted that WND would go nuts over the Obamas' visit abroad, but I could never have predicted something this utterly vile. From racist wingnut Ilana Mercer, we get a column called - God help us - "Gangsta Gifts:"

"Hip" is how rapt reporters referred to the iPod the president and first lady gave the queen of England. Thanks to his fawning friends in the British and American media, Barack Obama got away with giving another foreign dignitary a vulgar gift.

Shades of the reality show "Cribs" …

The MTV series features hip-hop rappers, and other American royalty, showing off their incredibly gaudy homes, CD, DVD and iPod collections. (If there are any books in the house, these are well-hidden.) They then send the loving camera crew packing.

...really? REALLY?!

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