Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
July 16, 2010

Style Expert Beck See Michelle’s Oil Concern as a Put On

Colin Hackley/Reuters
Colin Hackley/Reuters

Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately), O’Reilly cut off Beck before he could really explain why he found the outfit Michelle wore to survey the oil spill such
“an outrage.”  What I did hear him say, though, is that it proves she can’t relate.

Given that he prefaced his comment by characterizing MO as someone with a penchant for designer clothes and a vain preoccupation with what to wear to an oil spill, perhaps the comment, the hyperbole and the fact he also described Michelle’s outfit as a “dress” speaks as much about a man being threatened by a strong woman, perhaps a strong black woman given how the “dress” functioning like a Rorschach for Beck proved him incapable of getting beyond black and white.

Ric Feld/AP

All that being said — even though I didn’t notice it before (even after doing a post on Michelle and the map), I do think Michelle’s outfit that day (whether a less- or more conscious choice) is interesting.  If anything, though, I think Beck got it exactly backwards. To the extent the color and design evokes the oil spill, I find it (like I find Michelle Obama) particularly empathetic.

Your read?

Video clip here.

(caption 1: U.S. First lady Michelle Obama flashes two thumbs-up to the crowd, as she is introduced by Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst, on Panama City Beach, Florida July 12, 2010. Obama visited the area to show support for the people and businesses impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.)

  • tardigrade

    It’s just that Beck can’t fit into that dress…. he tried so hard….

  • black dog barking

    If cool were a weapon MO would be mass destruction, Glenn Beck would still be just a tool.

  • tcarson

    Does seem unnecessarily contrived; even playing visual politics. What has she said about jer choice? Anything?

  • john

    The oil spill is an outrage, her dress is thought provoking if you are inclined to use you brain to think…

  • tangobozo

    Looks like she just asked the science guy if those islands in the rectangle on the map had oil on them like my shirt?

  • Nemo

    This is a Rorschach test for commentators here too. Beck’s comment set the tone for what to think about the outfit. We know Beck’s MO – or we should; so why let his interpretation set the agenda.
    The outfit becomes another tool in the attack arsenal; and we, in trying to make sense of the outfit have “fitted” it into a narrative. Oil blobs on the sand and in the water – styliszd oil blobs on the outfit. Was this outfit always in her closet? Did she buy this outfit for this particular occasion to make a point? To me, it is just an outfit, and Beck is being Beck.

  • tinwoman

    It’s a floral pattern.

    I feel sorry for politicians; they try to think of everything possible to appease the cameras and still some little thing sets the public off. IMO they end up spending too much energy on “looking right” and not nearly enough on DOING right.

  • H.Finn

    Tinwoman, I think you have routed out the true victim of our vacuous media mayhem in presentation…In other words, ALL of us.
    But I will also say Beck is a priss, he reminds me of my 12 year old niece when she is acting out.

  • Kaye

    Sometimes an outfit is just an outfit…
    Beck is a moron.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes