Monday, February 25, 2019

“Becoming” elevates Michelle Obama to the pantheon of great American women

     News is supposed to be new; the expectation is even hidden in the word: new-s.
     So yes, I’m three months late.
     But anything can be news if you don’t know it.
    And back in November when Michelle Obama’s autobiography, “Becoming,” was published I didn’t know what I know now.
     To be honest, I barely paid attention to the book. I didn’t think much of Michelle Obama. Not that I held her in low regard, per se. Certainly nowhere near as low as the contempt expressed by right wing haters who decried every aspect of the First Lady, from her politics to her arms.
    I just didn’t think much about her. Not while her husband was a senator, when she was an offstage presence, grumbling about his political career, nagging him about smoking. Not while he was president, when she created scandals by wearing sleeveless dresses and urging kids to exercise. Not when her book came out. I clicked my tongue at her book launch for 14,000 people at the United Center, hosted by Oprah. Must be nice.  

     But it wasn’t as if I were going to read her book. Michelle Obama was not the sort of person I wanted to cozy up with. She seemed, as she herself put it in her book, a “pissed-off harpy.”
     How do I know she wrote that? Because I read the book, of course. How did that happen? I had to catch a plane. The cab was coming in 15 minutes. I needed a new audio book. Onto Audible to find something. "Becoming" was right there, a best-seller. My wife had already read the book, and while she didn't really remark upon it, that fact alone suggested it could be done. The cab was coming. I shrugged and bought it.

To continue reading, click here.


  1. I don't remember who I voted for in the 2004 Senate primary, but it was not Barack Obama. I never repeated that mistake, in large part because of Michelle Robinson. Unlike you Neil, I sensed a depth that has yet to be explored and expect better things to come.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. One of the many things I liked about that book was her description of a recurring nightmare after she became First Lady: She and the kids wind up in a "petting zoo" on the White House lawn with full-grown lions and tigers, unrestrained but sedated--only they come out of sedation. You don't need to be Freud to grasp the meaning of that one.

  4. I haven't read the book yet either. Gave my daughter a copy, thinking she would pass it back to me, but could be she has been reluctant to read it. Successful women don't seem to be eager to hear about other successful women. Men are probably the same -- I certainly can't say anything about that from personal experience.

    But now with Neil's imprimatur I'll dig deeper in my pocket and buy a second copy.


  5. It wasn't that I didn’t think much of Michelle was the opposite...that I didn't think about her much. But when the right-wing haters and online trolls mocked her appearance, and called her "MOO-chelle", I would always get pissed at them, and often got into long, drawn-out pissing contests. She seemed to be more than just a "pissed-off harpy"...perhaps she was being too hard on herself. And as a First Lady, she was certainly more preferable to what followed.


This blog posts comments at the discretion of the proprietor.