Apr
06
2009

Not Much 'Intellectual Heavy Lifting' at New York Magazine

In a column on media treatment of Michelle Obama, Katha Pollitt (Nation, 4/20/09) points out this forehead-smacking quote from New York magazine's David Samuels (3/15/09):

There are clear limits to Michelle's ambition. She went to excellent schools, got decent grades, stayed away from too much intellectual heavy lifting, and held a series of practical, modestly salaried jobs while accommodating her husband's wilder dreams and raising two lovely daughters. In this, she is a more practical role model for young women than Hillary Clinton, blending her calculations about family and career with an expectation of normal personal happiness.

To which Pollitt responds:

Would you like some manly condescension with that factual misinformation, ladies? By all means, avoid "too much intellectual heavy lifting"! If Samuels regards $273,618–Michelle Obama's salary in her last year as head of community affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals–as modest, he must be the richest magazine journalist in the world. Michelle Obama, who made almost twice as much as her husband the senator, earned more than 99 percent of the population, and 98 percent of men. Moreover, she did so while raising two small children, often without her husband, who was off legislating in Springfield and Washington. That Samuels, like a 1950s home ec teacher, advises "young women" to keep their ambitions "practical" if they want to be happy shows just how disturbing Hillary Clinton–or rather the nightmare fantasy of Hillary Clinton–has been to certain male psyches. Because what if women wanted to be the ones with the wild dreams? What if they wanted men to be the enablers and nurturers? That would be awful.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.