Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 03/2/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
CHICAGO -- Michelle Obama says it was "absolutely not surprising" to her that her satellite appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony provoked a national conversation about whether it was appropriate, after some conservative critics accused her of selfishly crashing the event in an attempt to upstage it.
She attributed the chatter to a culture shift that has spawned legions of bloggers, tweeters and others who talk about anything and everything all the time.
"Shoot, my bangs set off a national conversation. My shoes can set off a national conversation. That's just sort of where we are. We've got a lot of talking going on," the first lady said only somewhat jokingly Thursday before an appearance in Chicago, her hometown.
"It's like everybody's kitchen-table conversation is now accessible to everybody else, so there's a national conversation about anything."
In what was not the first-ever Oscar appearance by a first lady, Mrs. Obama was beamed live from the White House into Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles to unseal the envelope and announce that the night's final award, for Best Picture, would go to Argo. In 2002, Laura Bush appeared at the ceremony on videotape.
Americans have long been fascinated by their first ladies, scrutinizing everything from their clothes and hair to the issues they promote and how they raise their children. Obama acknowledged that she and President Barack Obama have added appeal, and perhaps sometimes are subject to extra scrutiny, because they are the first black family in the White House but also a young couple (she turned 49 last month; he's 51) with young children (daughters Sasha, 11, and Malia, 14).
She said she doesn't give a second thought to critical comments about what she does as first lady.
Her strategy, she said, is to do things that further her larger goals and Oscar night fit with her support for the arts. She recently invited the director and cast members from the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild to the White House to participate in a question-and-answer session with students from Washington and New Orleans who had seen the film at the executive mansion.
"I just don't think about that stuff," said the first lady, who was asked for her reaction to the wave of criticism during an interview with a small group of reporters who were invited to accompany her on a three-city tour marking the third anniversary of her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity.
She said she was astounded by the buzz about cutting her hair to add bangs, which she unveiled on her birthday, just before inauguration weekend.
Asked if she was surprised that the bangs made the news, Obama said: "I was, I have to say. I'm like, 'it's a haircut."'
In the interview, she also revealed that she used a lot of salty language as a 10-year-old, which she said she didn't realize until the year it cost her the title of "best camper" at the day camp she and her brother, Craig, attended every summer. The experience taught her a lesson, she said.
"I was going through my cursing stage," she said. "I didn't realize until my camp counsellor at the end came up and said, 'You know, you would have been best camper in your age group but you curse so much.'
"And I was thinking, 'Really? Was it that noticeable? And I thought I was being cool. Little did I know I lost 'best camper.' I didn't curse again."
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 2, 2013 G8
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Mark Hamill said he was 'suspicious' of J.J. Abrams
Paul Blart returns to protect you from laughing
More talks in Nova Scotia film credit dispute
Mall Cop sequel thin on comedy, exhausts any goodwill from 2009 hit
Review: 'Unfriended' has interesting concept but still a dud
Star power can't sell story of killer and journalist
Florida's Against Me at Garrick Centre in July
Powerful Maori movie a map of sorts for First Nations filmmakers wanting to tell warrior stories
Teens staring at screens generate genuine screams
Disney's monkey tale takes a swing at society
Cdn.-born filmmaker Paul Almond dead at 83
New 'Star Wars' teaser, cast information revealed at event
'Most dangerous movie ever made' charges into theatres
Jia, Sorrentino, Van Sant in Cannes lineup; selfies a no-no
Denis Villeneuve thrilled with Cannes selection
Beijing Film Festival opens with aim to raise profile
New on DVD/VOD
New documentary eyes story of Latino extras in 1956 'Giant'
Review: Tom Hardy excels but 'Child 44' feels like 40 movies
Toronto film fest to feature TV content
Sarah Polley on 'Little Women,' other projects
Film furor outside Nova Scotia legislature
New Pacquiao film shows how poor boy grew up to be champion
Architecture film festival adds stories to foundation
Composer Philip Glass wins Glenn Gould Prize
Tribeca Preview: What to look for at this year's festival
Jake Epstein co-writes play with author-mom Kathy Kacer
Nova Scotia film sector pushes on tax credit
Pinto on 'Desert Dancer,' responsible roles and rape doc
5 tips for improving online privacy
Beijing hopes European film buff will raise festival profile
Director Michelle MacLaren exits 'Wonder Woman'
Minister firm in saying subsidy is too high
'Imitation Game' code breaker Turing's notes fetch over $1M
Author Sara Gruen on Nessie and her new novel
Females increasingly the focus of animated features