Friday, November 22, 2013

From Jackie O. to Michelle O.

Fifty years ago today pop-culture icon, unabashed sex hound, serial philanderer and 35th President John Fitzgerald Kennedy of the accursed Kennedy clan, was assassinated by either one person acting alone, one person acting in conspiracy with another fellow hanging out on a grassy knoll in relatively plain sight, or the multitudes of higher-ups at the CIA with or without the sanction of the Vice President.
Despite, or perhaps even because of “JFK“‘s licentiousness and debauchery, he is a hero of the left. This is also despite and not because of, his political policies that rival those of modern-day Republicans.  

The assassination also plays a significant part in his idolization by the left. He became a legendary martyr. What’s more historically romantic than a handsome man, relatively young with sad blue eyes and the tan of a yachting enthusiast, in an extramarital relationship with Hollywood’s most famous sex symbol and at the height of his political career, in the midst of an adoring crowd and being cheered wildly when  a bullet fired from the sixth-floor window of a nearby building rips through his skull killing him instantly, his wife beside him? 

Contrary to popular myth,Jackie Kennedy was not a particularly pretty woman. No, really. A person’s eyes cannot possibly be farther apart from each other than Jackie O.’s were. But she was the wife of John F. Kennedy. People were blinded by her pop-culture status. Her real “beauty” was not a fact, in fact, but abstract. 

That’s not to say that Mrs. Kennedy was undignified or classless. She was elegant.

She was photographed often, but she was unobtrusive. She largely accepted the role of First Lady as the role it was intended: the President's wife. No more, no less. A First Lady ought not to be advocating for this program or that program or pushing legislation through Congress; First Ladies are not elected, so they should remain detached from public policy.

Barack Obama was elected only a few years older than JFK was when he took office in 1961. Obama’s youth was used as a selling point, romanticized, for his 2008 election. “He’s like John F. Kennedy!” said the unbiased political pundits. “Oh, and his wife is so elegant, so classy just like Jackie Onassis!”

But not really. Obama’s and Kennedy’s similarities do not extend beyond age; they especially do not extend over to their respective wives’ classiness.

Monday, Michelle Obama was on 106 & Park, a rap/talk show on Black Entertainment Television. Mrs. Obama’s blackness—she is black, you may have heard—means that no matter what status she has as First Lady of the United States, she must still degrade that position by going on BET, the same network that spreads filth like Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Li’l Wayne, Jay-Z, and…  and now Michelle Obama, apparently.

What is going on in her mind? My guess: “Hey, just because I’m the First Lady doesn’t mean I can’t do my part gettin down with the aficionados of women degrading gang-romanticizing music by appearing on gang-romanticizing TV network. I’m black first, dignified second.”

To be fair, she wasn’t on the show to talk about music, but to talk about her personal life. Which makes sense considering, one, it’s a talk show, and two, it’s what the audience, including its two white people, wanted to hear. They’re black too, after all, just like Michelle; the running attitude among them is that they’re all brothas and sistas.

The 50th anniversary of JFK’s death is here. The juxtaposition of the classy Jackie Kennedy with the First Lady of BET Michelle Obama, is something to behold. Or should I say embarrassing....


  1. Just for perspective, Pablo Casals entertained the President and his guests at the White House under Kennedy. Obama has Kanye West. The Wookie has lots of class, only all of it is low.

  2. Over on our repost of your excellent essay, Texan59 subtitled your piece "From Class to Ass." Quite appropriate! And well done, D.