As I imagine many other journalists have done, I’ve watched the national attack on the news media with interest.
What journalists decide to cover on any given day is fascinating to me. And what captures the interest of the public is fascinating as well. In the Era newsroom, we often joke that a story we think will generate a flurry of calls and comments will go over with nary a peep, while something that strikes us as innocuous can be more inflammatory than we ever imagined.
Such as the case, I imagine, with the First Lady’s footwear.
The former model Melania Trump has become known for her love of stilettos, which she was wearing as she made her way from the White House to Marine One for a flight to hurricane-devastated Texas.
She got off the plane in Texas wearing sneakers.
People are losing their minds at her stilettos, some likening her choice of footwear to the legendary (and likely false) quote of Marie Antoinette regarding starving French peasants: “Let them eat cake.”
Is this really what is important in the world right now?
In May 2009, former First Lady Michelle Obama wore $540 designer sneakers to a food bank. The night Hurricane Sandy hit, she chose to campaign for her husband’s re-election campaign.
Yet those decisions weren’t making headlines.
Are people looking for ways to be offended? There’s plenty that Donald Trump does and says to be irate about. In the grand scheme of things, bickering over his wife’s shoes seems petty.
Americans are suffering under the devastation of this hurricane. People have lost their lives, their homes, their livelihoods.
By all means, though, let’s turn the focus to shoes.
The sneakers I have on right now are pretty scuffed, a little dirty and there is a tear in the sole. I obviously can’t be trusted to write a story with such horrifying footwear cluttering my person.
I’m looking around the room right now at fellow reporters — Alex Davis has on scuffed and torn sneakers, but I’m pleased to tell you Ruth Bogdan has on a nice pair of sensible flats — dressy and comfortable.
I’ll have to make sure she writes a lot.
Our production manager, Linda Cardamone, and ad manager, Jill Henry, always have on fancy and elegant (at least to me) dress shoes, sometimes stilettos. Must be we can’t trust them either.
I’m sure many will be reading this and saying, “How can she not understand that Melania’s shoes are an important sign of the Trumps’ privilege and separation from common people?”
I see their point, and I completely disagree.
They are shoes. Lots of people wear them. Some people spend a lot of money on them. Others wear what’s comfortable.
I simply think there’s a lot more in the world to be concerned about — healthcare, the economy, the nut in North Korea, the ramping up of fighting in Afghanistan again.
But as I sit back in my office, perhaps I will take off my horrible sneakers and walk around in my stocking feet — I’m wearing Mickey Mouse socks today.
Wonder what that means in the grand scheme of things.
(Schellhammer is the Era’s associate editor, and is known for wearing colorful and eclectic socks and not caring about her shoes. She can be reached at email@example.com)