Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Reviewed

jkottke:

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Isabel Wilkerson, writing for The New York Times, has the definitive review of Michelle Obama’s juggernaut of a book:

One of the great gifts of Obama’s book is her loving and frank bearing-witness to the lived experiences of the black working class, the invisible people who don’t make the evening news and whom not enough of us choose to see. She recreates the dailiness of African-American life – the grass-mowing, bid-whist-playing, double-Dutch-jumping, choir-practicing, waiting-on-the-bus and clock-punching of the ordinary black people who surrounded her growing up. They are the bedrock of a political party that has all too often appeared to take their votes for granted in the party’s seeming wistfulness for their white equivalents (for whom the term “working class” has come to stand in public discourse).

Like many Americans, Obama’s parents made do with what they had and poured their energy into their children, who they hoped would fulfill the families’ as yet unrealized aspirations. The parents bought them a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica and insisted on proper diction. They went on Sunday drives to a richer neighborhood known as Pill Hill (after the number of black doctors living there) in her father’s Buick Electra, looking at houses they could only dream of. Michelle’s father suffered from multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease, and his beloved Buick gave him mobility that his legs alone could not. He never complained and rarely spoke of his condition, she says, but it was a daily consideration. “Our family was not just punctual,” she writes. “We arrived early to everything.” This was in part to allow time for any contingency, given her father’s declining strength, a habit that instilled in her the value of planning and vigilance in one’s life. Her mother kept their cramped apartment in such good order that years later Obama would remember how it smelled: “It’s because of my mother that still to this day I catch the scent of Pine-Sol and automatically feel better about life”…

We see her father’s diminishing health and his uncompromising work ethic. At one point, he used a motorized scooter to get from boiler to boiler. “In 26 years, he hadn’t missed a single shift,” she writes. We feel her heartbreak as she loses her father to the disease he refused to let define him. By then, Obama was a grown woman, grieving and even more appreciative of her parents’ sacrifices for her sake. Her parents had never taken trips to the beach or gone out to dinner. They didn’t own a house until Aunt Robbie bequeathed them hers when Michelle was halfway through college. “We were their investment, me and Craig,” she writes. “Everything went into us.”

It also includes a tidy capsule of her and Barack’s unusual, unlikely-yet-inevitable courtship:

How their office relationship turned into a quick-moving romance that summer, how the box-checking pragmatist warmed to the loose-limbed free spirit, is a delight to read, even though, or perhaps because, we know the outcome. His cerebral intensity was clear from the start. One night, soon after they had become a couple, she woke to find him staring at the ceiling, apparently troubled. She wondered if their new relationship was on his mind, or perhaps the death of his father. “‘Hey, what are you thinking about over there?’ I whispered. He turned to look at me, his smile a little sheepish. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘I was just thinking about income inequality.’”

He struck her as a visionary with no material interests. The first time she visited him in Cambridge during the long-distance phase of their young relationship, he picked her up in a “snub-nosed, banana-yellow Datsun” with a “four-inch hole in the floor” and a tendency to spasm “violently before settling into a loud, sustained juddering.” She knew then that “life with Barack would never be dull,” she writes. “It would be some version of banana yellow and slightly hair-raising.”

And her lack of interest in politics:

After a series of unlikely events, among them scandals forcing one opponent after another to drop out of the race, Barack won. Michelle, against the advice of a veteran Senate wife, chose not to move their family to Washington. “None of this had been my choice in the first place,” she writes of the stress of being a politician’s wife and managing a household while her husband commuted from the capital when he could. “I didn’t care about the politics per se, but I didn’t want to screw it up.” When Barack began mulling a run for the White House and consulting trusted advisers, “there was one conversation he avoided having,” she writes, “and that was with me. He knew, of course, how I felt.”

This was where their temperaments and upbringing were at odds. She wanted the kind of family stability she had grown up with. “Barack had always had his eyes on some far-off horizon, on his notion of the world as it should be,” she writes. “Just for once, I wanted him to be content with life as it was.” By then, they had been through five campaigns in 11 years. “Each one had put a little dent in my soul and also in our marriage,” she writes. Bottom line: She didn’t want him to run for president, especially not then. They talked about it over and over. She agreed to support him, she writes, because “I loved him and had faith in what he could do.” Speaking in London in early December, she was more candid, saying “deep down” she believed “there’s no way he’s going to win. And we can just sort of get this out of the way. … That was my whole plan.”

Funny story! Barack Obama won the nomination and then the Presidency, becoming the first black President of the United States and winning two terms, thrusting Michelle into a role she never wanted but seemed to be made for.

As a young girl, she had modest aspirations: a family, a dog and “a house that had stairs in it – two floors for one family.” She had grown up in a 900-square-foot attic apartment. Now, at the end of Inauguration Day, she was the first lady, moving into a home with “132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and 28 fireplaces spread out over six floors,” and a staff of ushers, florists, housekeepers, butlers and attendants for her every need. Three military valets oversaw the president’s closet. “You see how neat I am now?” he said to her one day. She had seen, she said, smiling back, “and you get no credit for any of it.”

It’s a shame that Michelle dislikes politics so much. I think if she chose, she could be an even better President than her husband. And I liked him a lot.

Plastic Man Movie in the Works at Warner Bros. (Exclusive)

justiceleague:

Classic DC Comics hero Plastic Man is getting the big-screen treatment.

Up-and-coming screenwriter Amanda Idoko has been hired to pen the script for what will be a comedic action-adventure for Warner Bros. Bob Shaye, the former co-founder of New Line-turned-producer will executive produce.

Plastic Man wasn’t initially a DC character, having been created by Jack Cole for Quality Comics in 1941. When Quality went under in 1956, DC bought many of the characters, Plastic Man among them.

The hero’s true identity is Patrick “Eel” O’Brian, a crook-turned-good guy. O’Brian was part of a gang, and during a botched heist is shot and — wouldn’t you know it — also doused with a chemical liquid. Left for dead by the gang, he awakens to find himself imbued with the power to shape-shift and stretch his body into almost anything thanks to being the most malleable man alive. O’Brian eventually reforms and becomes a police officer.

The character has a certain cult status amongst the comic crowd. He was a member of the Justice League for a time and even had his own cartoon series.  

The project is in the early stages and has no filmmaker on board. Details of Idoko’s take were not revealed, but her hiring caps a half-year search by the studio to find the right person the job. Warners is planning on staying true to the light-hearted and even silly tones of the character, say sources.

Plastic Man Movie in the Works at Warner Bros. (Exclusive)

Seeing those new pics made me think of a comment Houseplant made at the beginning of autumn that MM “reinvents” herself and tries on a new persona every few months. Looks like we’ve entered the “serious academic” phase. What she didn’t remember was all of those similar poses from Suits scenes! Acting! Plus the creepy resemblance to her wax figure at Tussauds. She is really shortsighted. To be a fly on the wall at BP/KP…

I thought we entered the “serious academic” phase on the first day of the trashtastic tour with Meg’s Elle Woods cosplay the day she and Harry landed in Australia

But, yeah, that dead-eyed, fembot stare is pretty creepy. 

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good observation by the anon re: MM’s attempts at upstaging Kate. But why is the RF tolerating this? This sort of thing is not healthy nor good “image” for the RF. Tabs love it but the public doesn’t like RF infighting. So why do they tolerate it? She isn’t going to stop. So they just wait for her to get tired of a fight she can’t win and goes away? Harry BTW is pathetic he knows this is wrong and a losing game but doesn’t stop it.

I would bet that they’re going to put her on further lockdown again to ensure it doesn’t happen again. That’s my thought for now. 

Or another article will be released in the UK tabs shortly to reinforce the notion that Meg’s “unannounced” pr stunts aren’t appreciated within the royal family. 

Either way, Megs is angling for a fight she can’t win.

“Because the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes, the house takes you.“ Danny Ocean, Ocean’s Eleven

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she is an obvious super duper control freak. so when the RF tries to assert royal norms on her she has to regain “control” and assert herself. That is why she will never conform. It is a hopeless task. The thing is too that if she’d stay within reasonable parameters and be a team layer she could express her individuality within the role. But she has to be in charge and in control so we get these stupid rebellions

Oh, I definitely think her control-freak tendencies are part of the problem. But after yesterday, you’ve got to wonder what the RF did after those pictures to ensure a repeat doesn’t happen again. Like, did the staff get a reprimand for driving to and arranging that “unannounced” event? Megs didn’t take the underground or a bus to get there, so someone else was responsible for making it happen. 

Are we going to get another ten-thousand-yard, dead-eyed, fembot stare next week? Or one that looks even worse?

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All of the palace staff Christmas parties will be coming up soon. She doesn’t have that many chances for more “unannounced” visits to possible charities before it’s time to head to Sandringham.

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‘if the RF will not give her any engagements,she’ll find them on her own’ Yep,especially if it’s on the same day as Kate,it’s pretty obvious that she’s deliberately competing with Kate ‘engagement’ Press Cycle,Kate did a private engagement to hype her new project,MM did a ‘unannounced’ engagement at Hubb Community,Kate did a speech at the Christmas Party,MM did a poem Reading at the Carol Service,W&K did a engagement at Cyprus,MM did a ‘Private’ engagement at ACU,on 11th MM will do a PR stunt

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worldofwindsor:

“Princess Charlotte enjoyed a rite of passage for any young child on Thursday – her very first nativity play. Willcocks Nursery School, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter has been enrolled since January, hosted their annual Christmas performance for students, a listing on their website confirms.”

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Royals usually don’t do engagements on the same day so the journalists don’t have to choose where to go and leave a less popular royal without a coverage. She had a perfect opportunity to go there without anybody’s knowledge, William and Kate were in Cyprus, Harry had some patronage meeting, there was nobody who could stop her, heck, Harry probably even encouraged her to go. She has no opportunity to merch lately and if the RF won’t give her any engagements, she’ll find them on her own

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she needed the 2nd pic released cause she don’t get paid unless the coat is in full view and identifiable. LOL so she has to drape the coat over her shoulders to get the pic and the money. She is a marvel.

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I have to wonder if the Queen, Charles, and William were happy about her unannounced visit. With everything going on and given that recent tit-for-tat escalation that went on this past weekend in the UK papers, I wonder how well her “unannounced” visit was received by other royals in charge. 

It looks to me like she is trying to reassert her image–and merching–with that visit. Am wondering if she went to this discussion against the wishes of senior advisers because the focus should have been more on Will & Kate’s visits to the military & their families. Kind of wondering if we’re now going to see another release of stuff this weekend on Megs.

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thecatladysthoughts:

the-best-soap-opera-ever:

talkingtarot:

One with the coat & one without…..& people call us crazy when we say shes faking it & always acting?

Ugh 😑

(submission)

-Yeah, I don’t get the point of releasing the 2nd one when it’s literally the same pose and almost the same outfit.

Are we going to talk about the fact that her hair is longer in the second picture?

She’s just moved her hair from the back to the front. No real issue there.

talkingtarot:

One with the coat & one without…..& people call us crazy when we say shes faking it & always acting?

Ugh 😑

(submission)

-Yeah, I don’t get the point of releasing the 2nd one when it’s literally the same pose and almost the same outfit.

Same dead eyes in both photos.

She is pregnant they are photo shopping the bump to look bigger in certain photos. She has her own photographer that is fixing the photos. How did they know they were sneaking out of the back of the church she had a photographer waiting.

talkingtarot:

Makes sense. I asked my cards if she was truly pregnant and got a resounding yes, so it’s not a surrogate or fake bump for why the bump keeps looking like that. Also got a money opportunity card at the root, so you may be very right with this one.

“This is thought to be the first time that Kate’s sported black suit trousers on an official royal engagement.” from a Sun article, is this true?

duchessofostergotlands:

In terms of suit trousers I think so. Although she wore them before her wedding. In fact, I’m finding the whole focus on her “new style” weird because to me this silhouette of the flared trouser (often with the blazer) is classic Kate. This was exactly how she dressed ten years ago

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