kottke.org posts about Michelle Obama

Teach me how to dougieMay 04 2011

We've waited too long for a First Lady who can pull this off:

It's not just that Michelle Obama is the first black First Lady. It's also that she was born in 1964. She's sixteen-seventeen years younger than Hillary Clinton or Laura Bush. She was in high school when hip-hop broke. Even Barack was already in college. She probably did a few of these dances in a South Shore parking lot when her husband was already thinking about getting into law school. In Joshua Glenn's generational scheme, Barack is part of Original Generation X, while Michelle's firmly in the next cohort, alternately titled Generation PC/the Reconstructionists.

Michelle is the first First Lady of the hip-hop generation. And not only does that explain a few things; it's incredibly awesome.

PS: Here's the Beyonce dance-as-teen-fitness video the First Lady and DC junior high kids were trying to imitate. (In the mid-late 80s, learning a few of these moves from my sister, I was not unlike the chubby kid in the white hat.)

Michelle Obama's family treeOct 07 2009

The NY Times traced Michelle Obama's family tree back to Melvinia, a slave girl who lived in rural Georgia.

"[Michelle] is representative of how we have evolved and who we are," said Edward Ball, a historian who discovered that he had black relatives -- the descendants of his white slave-owning ancestors -- when he researched his memoir, "Slaves in the Family."

"We are not separate tribes of Latinos and whites and blacks in America," Mr. Ball said. "We've all mingled, and we have done so for generations."

I wonder how much of this Obama was aware of before being contacted by the Times for comment (she declined):

The findings -- uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times -- substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forbear.

1996 interview with the ObamasJan 12 2009

The New Yorker has a too-short excerpt of an interview with Barack and Michelle Obama done in 1996 as part of a "photography project on couples in America".

There is a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a political career, although it's unclear. There is a little tension with that. I'm very wary of politics. I think he's too much of a good guy for the kind of brutality, the skepticism.

Update: Le Monde ran a more extensive excerpt of this same interview in French...ABC News had it translated into English. (thx, marshall & stacy)

What should Michelle Obama wear?Dec 10 2008

Some sketches from various fashion designers of what Michelle Obama should wear for her husband's inauguration festivities. These are fascinating to look at. (thx, david)

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