Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The AB.com DNC Night One Recap: She's A Baaad Girl.

We Watch, So You Don't Have To.

Let the haters come out the woodwork.
The first night of the Democratic National Convention ended with a speech by Michelle Obama designed to cast her -- and her husband's -- life as the prototypical American story.

Throughout her speech, Obama sought to weave her middle class roots and her understanding of the value of hard work.

She noted that her father was a "blue collar city worker" and that her mother stayed home to take care of her and her brother. Describing her husband's family, she said: "They scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves." She pointed out that Barack Obama had taken a pass on Wall Street and instead went to work as a community organizer; "Isn't that a great American story?" she asked.

The aim of the speech was clear. To show that Barack and Michelle Obama aren't all that different from the average voter. That they know the struggles and hopes of middle class families. That they understand the sacrifices made by military men and women and their families.
I'll just throw this right out there: Michelle Obama's speech was one of the 10 best I've ever experienced in real time in my short adult life.

Seriously, what wasn't to like? The aim of the speech was to formally (re?)introduce Michelle-O to the world. To show that she's much more than an American-hating radicalist who can barely hide her disdain for "Whitey". To show that she's proud of her country, despite whatever soundbytes have been manipulated to frame her as unpatriotic.

It's amazing to me that anyone could possibly watch this speech and not come away impressed. She was poised. She was on-point. She was confident. She looked great. Even Juan Williams agreed.

Juan Williams, people! Juan Williams!

But of course, some folks have agendas to carry out, so they'll conveniently look right past this and go back to spouting senseless talking points, as usual, and as expected. Witness one Karl "The Architect" (of Many Chins) Rove.

Someone needs to hold a safety pin near one of Karl Rove's 25 chins and let some of that gravy loose. What a fat, disgusting, vile, and repulsive individual.

"I feel sorry for your mother." [1]

But, the man's just doin' his job, what'd you expect?

What kinda angers me is how much of the analysis today seems centered around the concept that Michelle had to prove she and Barack were "just like the rest of America". Some say she accomplished this, other say she failed. The fact that it's even a topic of discussion is befuddling. Of course Michelle is "just like the rest of America" (read: white folks). Dissecting a speech to infer otherwise is just silly. She's not a freakin' zoo animal, she's a freakin' woman. The fact that she's got to justify who she is and what she's accomplished in life to win anyone's favor is just outlandish.

But then again, that's the double standard. It's well established. Michelle has to prove her story is an "American story". As if being raised by parents who valued education, working your butt off to obtain degrees, building a career that benefits your community, and being a great wife and mom isn't somehow "American" enough.

MSM Please!

I'm gonna love watching CindyMac try to top this one next week. So, kudos to Michelle-O for representin'.

If there's anything I'm perhaps equally proud of, it's that I had a viable alternative to the MSM for analysis and commentary. It was a little rocky around the edges, and there were some technical glitches, but TVOne's coverage of the convention was a great change of pace. For the first time in my adult life, I was proud to actually hear my perspective in TeeVee.

Joe Madison and Arthur Fennell did a pretty good job of following the proceedings on the floor, as well as pulling in guests (mostly CBC members) to provide additional insight. The DNC After Party wasn't a party at all, but rather a roundtable discussion and review of the day's events. Co-hosted by BET refugee Jacque Reid and the always interesting (if not intelligible) Michael Eric Dyson, The After Party was lighthearted and featured a cast of (perhaps too many) rotating guests who stopped in to give their own wit and wisdom. Roland Martin did a few segments, but Sheryl Underwood and Hill Harper were mostly underused as Dyson and Al Sharpton predictably dominated the conversation. There was no Huggy Lowdown sighting, and folks like Jamie Foster Brown and Marcia Dyson really shouldn't have been used. Still, it's a good alternative if you're sick and tired of CNN's half-assed coverage. I'll be tuning in again. You should too.

I didn't bother tuning in to BET's coverage, which oddly was only a 30 minute block airing at the same time as the Michelle-O speech. Great job of scheduling, guys. I'm obviously so desperate to hear a different viewpoint on this election that I'll find some way to Tivo it and see what they're up to. But for now, TVOne wins. Yet again.

Questions (there's lots of em', take your picks): Did you watch the DNC coverage? On which channel? Did you feel Michelle conveyed her version of the American Dream? Are there any valid critiques of her speech, or does this just show the level of hateration that exists in this country? Did you peep TVOne or BET's coverage? Just what flavor of gravy is in Karl Rove's chins? Beef or chicken?

Michelle Obama's Message: We're Just Like You [WashPost]

TVOne's DNC Coverage

[1] Name that movie.

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