Media Matters and others are making a lot of noise about the conservative aversion to Michelle Obama’s appearance at the Academy Awards.
It is true: Laura Bush did appear at the Oscars back in 2002. Watching her appearance and comparing it to Michelle Obama’s appearance on Sunday is incredibly instructive.
In a montage about movies that includes a whole host of people (among them Al Sharpton and Gorbachev), the first lady appeared for approximately six seconds (2:14) to talk about the movie Giant. She is easy to miss, and that is almost the point: that everyone has a favorite film. The same white background and rapid segmentation create the illusion of hearing all of society discuss their own favorite movie-moment.
Cue Lady Obama, whose praetorian appearance included a butler-like attendant and a military escort in dress uniform.
What exactly is the viewer meant to take away from this “surprise” appearance? Besides anything else, it is a blatant indication that the political and celebrity elites have become one and the same.
Furthermore, actually watching the appearances makes punditry like this seem inane and quite beside the point.