The 57th Inaugural Ceremonies featured Richard Blanco, who is the first Hispanic, the first openly gay man, and the first immigrant to recite an inaugural poem; the first-ever inaugural mention of gay rights; and this doozy of a fashion statementby Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and yet the Internet can’t stop talking about Michelle Obama’s eye roll.
In case you haven’t seen the video, let us briefly set the scene for you:
Monday, early afternoon. A table at the Inauguration day luncheon in the Capitol Building. First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA sits behind an array of glasses and plates, leaning forward, one elbow perched on the table’s edge. President BARACK OBAMA is seated to his wife’s right; to her left is Speaker of the House JOHN BOEHNER (R-Ohio). While Michelle eats, the President and the Speaker speak behind her back, their conversation inaudible to the audience. Boehner appears to attempt a joke. Michelle raises her eyebrows and shakes her head in disapproval. All three then applaud in response to something outside of the camera’s frame. [END SCENE]
And that’s it. No one knows what Boehner said or if Michelle’s reaction was meant as a joke, but that hasn’t stopped the Internet from dissecting the video with ample scrutiny and the glee of a high school gossip hound. The responses have ranged from political theories (“the sneer” shows Michelle’s “contempt for her husband’s chief political rival”), to outright disgust (the reaction exuded “an unattractive level of palpable derision“; Michelle Obama was “acting more like Sasha and Malia than the first lady of the United States”), to declarations of admiration (it “shows why we love our FLOTUS“), to appropriations of RuPaul’s Drag Race slang (Michelle threw “world-historical shade“).