Rich Lowry adds another large one to the First Lady’s list of personal affronts.
Michelle Obama gave a commencement address at Tuskegee University that was a ringing call for the graduates not to be discouraged by her whining.
Much of the first ladyâ€™s speech was what is right and proper for a Tuskegee commencement, drawing on the story of the determination and skill of the Tuskegee Airmen. But she devoted a long passage to her own struggles that was off key and characteristically self-pitying.
Few women in modern America have been the focus of as much adulation as Michelle Obama, a Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate who was making almost $270,000 by the time her husband was elected senator. She is routinely lionized for her beauty and her public spiritedness.
Yet, the first lady often strikes an aggrieved note when talking about her experience in America (her notorious comment in 2008 was that â€œfor the first time in my adult lifetime Iâ€™m really proud of my country.â€). Her gloss on the famous Wallis Simpson line is apparently that you can never be too rich, too thin or too easily offended.
At Tuskegee, she related a series of inconsequential gibes or perceived insults mostly from 2008 that, for her, loom large enough to share with graduating seniors years later.
The first lady cited a controversial New Yorker cover during that campaign of her sporting an Angela Davis-style Afro and a gun. The image was meant to satirize â€œmisconceptions and prejudicesâ€ about the Obamas, in the words of the publicationâ€™s editor, David Remnick.
The first lady said â€œit knocked me back a bit.â€ Give her this: Few of us know the pain of being featured on a cover of one of the nationâ€™s most respected magazines in a spoof meant to illustrate how our critics are mean-spirited loons.
(Remnick went on to further demonstrate his hostility to the Obamas by writing an admiring 672-page biography of the president.) …
In her Tuskegee address, at least Michelle Obama urged the graduates not to be daunted by slights (and more meaningful obstacles, like rotten schools). She commended to them the example of herself, â€œthe fully-formed first lady who stands before you today.â€
Even though Michelle Obama didnâ€™t mention the word, what she was discussing was â€œmicroaggressions.â€ It is the trendy term on college campuses for often inadvertent offensiveness, such as Barack Obama, once upon a time, being mistaken for a waiter when he wore a tuxedo at an event.
The idiocy of the concept of the microaggression is its underlying premise that only people who belong to certain select groups ever suffer indignities or humiliations, when they are, of course, endemic to the human condition. George Orwell once said that every life seen from the inside is a series of defeats.
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