Dynamist Blog

The Stars Are Just Like Us

Cross-posted from my new blog, DeepGlamour.net

John McCain isn't the only one trying to puncture Barack Obama's glamour. So is...Barack Obama.

"Barack Obama is lauded as everyman at Democratic convention" is the headline on this LAT story. The exotic background, cool exterior, and ethnic distance that helped create a glamorous aura in the early days (at least among white voters) have become potential liabilities in the general election. A glamorous icon enables audiences to project their hopes onto him--but they can also project their fears.

It's always been Michelle Obama's job to bring her husband's image back down to earth. She overdid it when she called him "stinky and snorey" and complained that he left dirty socks on the floor. That ordinary voters don't want--too much information. Last night's performance, however, was designed to create a more dignified image of Obama-as-regular-guy, mostly by association (the Robinsons as average American family). This was "Celebrities are just like us," going about their business shopping and taking the kids to the park, not "Stars without makeup," looking sloppy.

Touring over the microphone, Michelle was the picture of polished style. She has a model's figure, made for elegant clothes, and obviously appreciates the shopping benefits of a salary in the range her husband Obama plans to sock with extra FICA taxes. People often compare her to Jackie Kennedy. But, she implicitly assured us last night, she won't be spending any summers cruising the Mediterranean with her princess sister on a Greek shipping tycoon's yacht. That kind of glamour today's politics won't tolerate.

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