I was right there watching it–in my living room–so no one is more equipped than I am to size up the varying facets of today’s historic induction, rating it as if it were an Olympic event. And it WAS, honey.
Let’s start with the most important thing–Michelle Obama‘s outfit! It was a bunchy, sparkly chartreuse number, like something Judy Garland would have worn in Valley of the Dolls if she hadn’t collapsed. I sort of liked it, even if–or maybe BECAUSE–it was completely inappropriate. Meanwhile, the first lady–of soul–Aretha Franklin really turned it out with that big-bowed hat and that fierce version of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (“My cun-try…”), but did you expect any less from the queen?
Not so stirring was the much dreaded invocation by Rick Warren from Brokeback Church–I mean Saddleback Church. Warren’s whole angle was how wonderful it is to live in a land where there are glorious civil rights for all! He was savvy enough to leave out: “Except gays, thank God!”
I calmed down with the musical selection by Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and the other 92nd Street Y types. In fact, anyone who heard it could easily skip their Ambien dose for the rest of the day.
And then came Obama‘s inaugural address, which awakened us by hitting all the right notes of toughness and hope, realism and optimism. “All are equal,” he declared. “All are free!” Even the gays?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 20, 2009