Michelle Obama can give as good as she gets, and she's getting a hard time from conservatives over two speeches she gave last week. The first was a commencement speech at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and the other was at the opening of the new Whitney Museum of American Art in downtown New York City.
We laughed at Jimmy Carter for carrying his suitcase into the White House. The government supplies aides to do that for presidents. Such humility is pretentious.
In the age of the selfie, Bruce Jenner may be the icon of our time. He sustains two images of himself to mediate the feuding feminist and chauvinist attitudes at the center of today's battle of the sexes (should that be the "grind of the genders"?).
James B. Comey, the director of the FBI, at 6-foot-8, is the tallest man in the Obama administration. Despite his height and position, he emerged in sharp relief in the public eye only this week for a remarkable speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington about why he requires every new special agent and intelligence analyst to visit the museum.
Joe McGinnis, a young writer who got access to the advertising agency with the Nixon account in 1968, changed the way we thought about electing presidents with his best-seller, "The Selling of the President."
Sometimes a rolling stone that gathers no moss picks up a lot of dirt, sticks and debris. That happened when one particular Rolling Stone published a slanderous and sloppy attempt to tell a story about a fictitious gang rape at the University of Virginia. The magazine "officially" retracted the story only after the Columbia Journalism Review demonstrated how it failed at every level of responsible reporting and editing.
Tragedy never takes a holiday, and the days have been overflown with fear and grief. A German airliner crashes into the French Alps, and then three buildings in the East Village of New York collapse after a basement explosion, days after a hot plate left unattended to warm food sets fire to a house in Brooklyn, and six of eight children die. Suddenly, there's no room in our hearts and minds to think about political tragedy that may be playing out in the Middle East.
Monica Lewinsky is back, and playing offense. The woman in the little blue dress is giving a Ted talk about the "culture of humiliation," scolding cyber bullies who wound innocents and reclaiming a personal narrative in her own voice. She's burning the beret and the blue dress with a telltale stain, "giving purpose to my past" in the name of a softer feminism that she says begins with a "little f."
Foreign elections don't always interest Americans very much. But Benjamin Netanyahu has become a familiar name in America, almost pronounceable, since his speech to Congress.
Hillary Clinton has been a reflection of the changing images of women in America for decades. She's had more re-incarnations than Shirley MacLaine, more fashion makeovers than Cher, more comebacks from bad press than Madonna. The images always need updating. She's the life-size balloon toy, weighted at the bottom, that a child smacks over and watches with surprise and suspicion when it bobs upright again.
Benjamin Netanyahu leavened his powerful account of what's really at stake in the nuclear negotiations with Iran with a little history and a little wisdom from the Bible. And why not? The war against the terrorists in the Middle East is a war against evil men peddling a violent perversion of a religion.
Hollywood can't help itself. The glitteries inevitably use the Academy Awards to push their personal politics, sometimes cheap and occasionally not, rewarding razzle-dazzle over real life.
Hollywood can't help itself. The glitteries inevitably use the Academy Awards to push their personal politics, sometimes cheap and occasionally not, rewarding razzle-dazzle over real life. This year the two most important Oscars, for best picture and best director, went to "Birdman," about razzle-dazzle, and not "Boyhood," about real life.
Another Presidents Day, like the presidents it was meant to honor, has come and gone and nobody remembers what it was all about, beyond another three-day weekend for federal employees and a little hype to sell automobiles and snake oil. Presidents Day replaces holidays to mark the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, and now, presumably, the catchall honor is extended to William Henry Harrison, Chester Alan Arthur and Millard Fillmore as well.
LONDON -- England is having an identity crisis -- Scotland is just getting over one -- and just in time to hover over national elections.
BERLIN. Angela Merkel, the no-nonsense leader of Germany and protector of the euro, has a fearless new rival. Alexis Tsipras, the newly elected prime minister of Greece and the leader of the left-wing Syriza Party, who offers a different understanding of economics: Spend money whether you have it or not, and get someone else to pay up.
Heroes, real ones, are getting harder to find. One of the few remaining annual surprises in the typical State of the Union address is the president's introduction of his "mystery guest." Ronald Reagan introduced the first one in 1982, celebrating one Leonard Skutnik for an extraordinary act of courage.
A widely distributed political cartoon by Ranan Lurie, published after the massacre of four Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris, depicts a tiny shrub above ground, and just below the surface, supporting the plant, is a web of thick twisted roots spread in the design of the swastika.
An atrocity is a terrible way to increase a magazine's circulation, but that's how Charlie Hebdo got its current run of 3 million copies or more up from 65,000. Satire, once regarded on Broadway as "what closed on Saturday night," now sells, and this week in Paris it sells out.
Bess Myerson, whose death at age 90 was revealed this week, was a Miss America who lived through nearly a century of change in the perception of "the ideal American woman."