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
New on DVD
Keanu Reeves knows his way around a fight scene, whether he's using a sword or a shotgun
Keanu Reeves on milestones and 'John Wick'
Q&A: Poitras on capturing history in a hotel room
Simmons connects with character in 'Whiplash'
Review: 'John Wick' delivers non-stop action
Review: A twist on the man-child romp in 'Laggies'
Actress Daniele Watts charged with lewd conduct
Police contacted actress before she was found dead
'Birdman' director flies through fear
Paul Gross among Screenie honourees
Cost of making 'Hobbit' movies up to $745 million
'Fury' defeats 'Gone Girl' in box-office battle
Sale of Joan Fontaine's house to aid animal group
Juliette Binoche on '1,000 Times Good Night'
'Fury' blasts 'Gone Girl' from top of box office
Thicke celebrates his divorce
War movie paints realistic picture of combat
Foreign-language Oscar hope gets local première at film fest
Fans use the Force in sci-fi remake
'Easy Rider' chopper at auction might be phoney
Veteran stuntmen become directors with 'John Wick'
A heartwarming bromance for odd couple in Iceland
CIA cocaine conspiracy compelling
Keanu kills as John Wick
Latest Sparks adaptation doesn't veer from formula
Photos released from film being shot at CFB Shilo
Dazzling animated story turns dark into glorious light
Police: Body found near river could be actress
New film tells Holocaust story of Polanski ally
Polanski opens Paris musical based on Tate film
For Rogen, Hilarity charity is serious business
Review: 'White People' is edgy; has memorable cast