Sunday night’s Oscar telecast was seen in over 200 countries around the world by hundreds of millions of viewers (early ratings say around 40 million Americans tuned in).
So when First Lady Michelle Obama appeared via satellite from the White House to present the Best Picture award to Argo (a move that sure pissed off the Iranian government), the first response around here was to applaud the United States government for finding a way to subtly remind viewers around the world that it’s (primarily) Americans who create and finance the movies that the rest of the world loves so much and that it’s our men and women in uniform who defend the freedom of expression that allows us to create Argo and Lincoln and Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty. Everyone looked like they were having a great time.
Not everyone shares that perspective. The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin attacked the First Lady at 8:45am and a flurry of criticism followed throughout the day that included “disgust” for using the uniformed men and women as “military props.” Those “props” are military aides assigned to the White House (it’s their job to be there) and everyone apparently stepped out of (or hung around after) the White House dinner for the National Governors Association.
How it might have gone down: “Hey, want to be on the Oscars?” “Sure, can I text my mom?” “NO.” “Okay.”
Michelle Obama isn’t the first White House resident to appear on an Oscar broadcast, folowing FDR, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. So here’s the question: was this an opportunity to for the United States to remind use our prized cultural exports as one of best tools we have as we try to spread democracy around the world? Does the military have any business allowing its men and women to work in the White House if half of the country is going to work itself into a lather because they don’t like whichever party lives there at any given time? Let us know in the comments below.
If you fell asleep before the end of an incredibly long show or had something better to do with a Sunday night, check out the video from the presentation below: