Friday, May 20, 2016

What Makes a First Lady

Lauren Collins' 5/9 article in the "New Yorker" idiotically opens with the claim that Louisa Adams (wife of John Q.) was somehow more worthy of First-Lady-ship than Melania Trump by virtue of Adams' having "survived fourteen pregnancies" and knowing how to play the harp and raise silkworms. A quick Internet search revealed that Louisa Adams, a society girl, was a life-long depressive who didn't like her husband much and who preferred silkworm-raising to socializing at the White House -- Not sure how this, or having fourteen pregnancies, makes Collins' case.

Collins' further comparisons of First Ladies' "worthiness" of the non-office (while simultaneously nonsensically dismissing Melania Trump) led me to check out the "pedigrees" of First Ladies since 1960: Of all of the First Ladies since 1960, I can easily see Melania Trump promoting things like "the arts," "wildflowers," "volunteerism," "saying No to drugs," and "school nutrition" -- as did Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, and Michelle Obama, respectively. And, given Nancy Reagan's early acting career and Betty Ford's early dancing career, what's so odd about Melania's being a model in her youth?

What the author of this article ignorantly doesn't explore further is the fact that First Ladies have come from all walks of life, with a variety of educational backgrounds and a variety of ambitions. There's no one formula-- oh, wait, there is: All somehow subsumed their lives in favor of their husbands' more pressing ambitions, some more willingly than others. Now THAT would have been a more interesting article. What instead transpired was a snarky, ignorant hit-piece on Melania Trump -- a ridiculously soft target if you haven't done any research at all into past First Ladies.

I'm surprised that such a juvenile, uninsightful article appeared in the New Yorker.

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