Sunday, June 26, 2011

Michelle: 'Surreal' Mandela Meeting 'Like Thanksgiving'

Upon meeting Nelson Mandela in Africa, First Lady Michelle Obama was beyond awestruck.
In fact, she describes meeting Mandela as "surreal."
It has occurred to me that "surreal" is a word that's thrown around a lot these days. In fact, it's used almost as frequently as "awesome" and often seems to be used interchangeably with that word.
But what does "surreal" really mean?
The dictionary describes "surreal' as marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream. The emphasis are mine. The word comes from the art form known as surrealism: "the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations."
But why would this meeting be in any way irrational or incongruous? Michelle Obama is First Lady. It's perfectly rational and normal for her to be meeting people of this caliber from all over the world. 
And why would it be dreamlike? It might understandably be a dream come true. But that doesn't necessarily make it dreamlike.
Furthermore, how is it that anything that's "surreal" would be like the most commonly-celebrated American holiday, Thanksgiving? How many surreal Thanksgivings have you had?
Anyway, here's an excerpt on Michelle's comments from Politico::
First lady Michelle Obama flies back into D.C. early Monday from her weeklong goodwill tour of Africa, and Sunday she told ABC’s “This Week” of a “surreal” meeting with statesman Nelson Mandela and the trip’s effect on her two daughters.
Obama met Mandela without her husband, President Barack Obama, who did not travel to Africa, but was surrounded by the 92-year-old former South African president’s family, an environment she described as “surreal,” “powerful” and “sort of like Thanksgiving Dinner.”
Asked by ABC’s David Muir what she said to Mandela, who led South Africa from the yoke of racial apartheid to become its first black president, the first lady said: “I told him you cannot imagine how important your legacy is to who I am, to who my husband is, I just said thank you, thank you, thank you."
Read more:
My recommendation: Let's chuck the word "surreal" for awhile. Let's give it a rest. 

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