Monday, January 26, 2009

15 minutes of fame

Last night, I woke up at about 12:30 listening to Entertainment Tonight. SOMEONE had left the television on. Before I woke up enough to get up and go potty and cut off the TV, I listened to a pathetic story about Michelle Obama's college freshman roommate and how she needs to share her pathetic story even at the cost of embarrassing her mother and herself and of (possibly) hurting Michelle Obama just a little bit.

This woman called up some reporter and told them that she had been Mrs. Obama's roommate at Princeton, but that her mother had raised holy hell that her daughter had a black roommate, and had her roommate changed after the first semester. The woman, a lawyer in Atlanta now, said she didn't think Michelle knew why she switched roommates.

OK: Question number one: Why do you feel the need to tell her now?

Michelle Obama is a strong, successful woman who probably responded by saying, "Who?" But there is a chance that this reciting of a 30 year old slight will cause a small sting. I'd like to think I'd brush it off, but I'd probably get ticked.

Question number two: Does your mother know you are talking about her on national television?

She said her mother was not "like that" anymore. That's nice. So what is she like that her daughter feels the need to embarrass her now?

I know people whose parents did the same thing around the same time. I won't mention names or circumstances, because it is a shameful thing and it is past. Do we need to teach the history? Yes. Do we need to share personal failings and meanness from our college days? God, I hope not. It's bad enough to share pictures of my hairdo(s).

Question number three: Is it worth it to you, sweetie? Is the 15 minute interview on Entertainment Tonight going to bring in enough legal business to make up for the embarrassment and hurt?

I know that I don't know this woman, and she may be a great lady. She may be trying to make amends. She may have been feeling really crappy all these years and needed to get it off her chest.

However, I do not like public confessions that harm others. I think they are selfish. I think people do them to pass their burdens to people who don't deserve to carry them. There are exceptions, but this, I don't think, is one of them.


annie kelleher said...

wow. now that's scary, pathetic, and sad. but on another note, thanks for your nice notes on my blog about my angel stuff... i always struggle with how to present the material because as one of my other gentle readers pointed out, "annie, you're going to sound like a kook!"

Kim said...

I hope her 15 seconds of fame were worth it - I'm not impressed by her confession at all.

Michelle said...

I love the sleep timer on my tv for just that reason.

I hadn't heard about this, but I agree with you on all points. When something is done wrong, unless it's a public wrong, the apology should be private. Especially... thirty years later.

Thanks so much for stopping by on my SITS day! This has been so much fun, and I really hope you come back to visit again soon!