One should never be where one does belong.

Bob Dylan said it in ‘The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest.’ And Michelle Obama proved it at the 2013 Oscars. The First Lady out-Jokered even Jack Nicholson; looming high over his head on a giant screen to announce the Best Picture of the year. Happily, Heath Ledger had the good fortune to be dead and buried with the best take ever on a misfit clown.

ES11From the start, Michelle’s totally anticipated appearance felt terribly wrong, even to the passionate Democrats who had only a short time before applauded her dance with Jimmy Fallon. For Republicans, a fully warranted sense of alienation from all things media grew by Tweets and bounds.

‘And the winner is …’

Clearly no one. Certainly not the poor bastard who came up with the idea in the first place. Not Jack, who was denied an audience eager to celebrate his unique definition of decadence. Nor the President, who saw his soulmate cement a suspicion raised by a round of golf that the Commander-in-Chief has finally hooked discretion into a bunker.

The simple truth is that there remain places where the price of entry is not measured in money, celebrity or how wonderfully good or terribly bad a person you are. Places where absence is both a sign of respect and a way to earn it. Becoming a household name does not make you welcome at every home on the block around-the-clock. The invisible rest of us retain a sense of what’s right and what’s wrong that the celebrity-addicts seem to lack.

Sure, you love your father and you want him to meet your new boyfriend, but not in your bedroom. Your late husband’s first wife is a good person you’ve grown close to, but you’d rather not see her at his funeral. There are times together and times apart and they both have their place.

The blind assumption that title, wealth or anything from box office receipts to influential friends should automatically open arms at any venue when you appear is the height of raw ego, pure arrogance and bad manners and Michelle is guilty on all counts.

The hook. please. Music. Your time is up.

If the First Lady is aspiring to a second career as an ageing starlet, it will help to know. It would have been easier to accept her unwelcome intrusion on my annual Oscar partly if I had know for at least a short time that she has post-White House visions of working with Daniel Day Lewis and Sam Mendes.

Until then, she is as welcome as anyone to watch Hollywood herald itself. But only if applauding from the seats and not suspended overhead like a crystal chandelier in an IKEA den.

11 years ago

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