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Michael Shaw Headshot

Reading The Pictures: Laura's "Sit Down Strike" For Coretta King

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And you thought, never in her life has the First Lady gotten even close to a "sit in."

Because the mannequin-like Laura has worked plenty hard cultivating a facade of grace and propriety, people don't customarily think of her as surly. Still, it's completely typical for Mrs. Bush to display her thin skin in the rare instance anyone manages to confront her. Otherwise, the attitude finds every chance to express itself in more physical or passive-aggressive ways.

Take her behavior at yesterday's Coretta Scott King funeral, for example. This sequence of frames comes right at the end of Joseph Lowery's lyrical, elegant and, yes, blistering eulogy taking Bush America to task.

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Whether out of adrenaline, good coaching, or the knowledge that today was about just taking one on the chin, Dubya (frames 1 -3) jumped to his feet, applauding vigorously. In frame 4, you see the other dignitaries also standing in concert with the audience. Given the rate at which people react -- and we also register and interpret these kinds of social behaviors -- the proper Laura should have been on her feet with the others by frame 5. By frame 6, however, she is still planted -- although GW has already had time to turn and offer a bear hug to the Reverend. Ever the expert in appearances, let's just assume Laura knew exactly how long to remain parked without it turning up in the morning papers.

Still, we missed out yesterday on the chance to watch Laura in action on the same stage as Barbara Bush -- a woman with whom she bears more comparison than is ever earned. Too bad. Here was an occasion featuring four living Presidents and First Ladies, but The First Mom -- ever a friend to "those people" --didn't even bother to show up.

For more on the King funeral, as well as extensive analysis and discussion of the ongoing Danish cartoon controversy, visit BAGnewsNotes.com.

(image 1: Jason Reed/Reuters. February 7, 2006. New Birth Missionary Church, Atlanta, Ga. images 2-7: screen shots/CNN)