Is Michelle Obama Too Old-Fashioned To Be Feminist?

Gather round, kids! It's time for another round of, "Michelle Obama: What's not to like? (Surely we can find something!)" This week it's the The New Republic profiling Barack's wife, and the primary focus is her much misunderstood sense of humor. One blogger has notably described it as Jewish...but the piece cuts closer to the truth: it's just that Michelle's jokes seem so old-timey! (Maybe you've read how she loves reruns of the Dick Van Dyke show.) "Tensions within the Obamas' marriage seem to have centered around Barack's lack of investment in fashioning a domestic tableau reminiscent of a "Leave it to Beaver" retro fantasy, where everyone gathers around the table for dinner each night and Mom and Dad are always on the scene for bedtime," she writes. Well now: maybe it is precisely the fact that having "family dinners where everyone gathers around the table" is considered a "retro fantasy" these days that got Michelle into the change business!

It is a semi-comic routine as old as marriage itself: Sure, my husband can slaughter a mammoth with his bare hands, but can he put his club away? Can he pick his loin cloth up off the floor? And God forbid I ask him to supervise the kids' birthday down at the tar pits. No one would make it home alive.
So, the story describes Michelle's message to voters as being something akin to a Blondie comic. But really, let's give her some credit: she's Dave Barry, she's Malcolm In The Middle, she's Bernie Mac and Claire Huxtable and Marge Simpson and also, Tina Fey in 30 Rock. (This reminds me of introducing my parents to 30 Rock; after three episodes my dad looked at me, then my mom, and just shook his head and said, "Women really do get all the grief in this world, don't they?")

A: Yes.

So anyway, breaking news! Michelle Obama is a smart black woman with traditional values who is not particularly highbrow. Guess what? Life isn't particularly highbrow. Maybe understanding that is Hillary Clinton's problem. Oh, fuck, not that the world needs another conversation on Hillary Clinton's nebulous "problem," whatever it is.

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