What do Beppe Grillo, the maverick politician of Italy and Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, have in common? They are both on the internet, organizing the populace to promote their betterment. Indeed, the First Lady's latest initiative, Let's Move, is being advertised on Grillo's Blog. At least, that's where I became aware of what it being billed as:
The First Lady's Let's Move! Fireside Hangoutscheduled for March 4th, 11:10am ET
On March 4 at 11:10 am ET, the First Lady will join families to discuss her Let's Move! initiative in a Google+ Hangout. The goal of Let's Move! is to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential.
For a chance to join the Google+ Hangout with First Lady Michelle Obama, submit a video or text entry (video is preferred) telling us a bit about you, what your family does to stay healthy and a question for the First Lady by Thursday, February 28, 2013.
Obviously, I'm too late to this event, but I do want to note that
639 people have submitted 123 questions and cast 4,572 votesand there have been over 850 thousand views of the various submitted videos. So, given that more and more internet sites, Grillo's Blog is an exception, are no longer welcoming input from the public, preferring instead to proselytize, the Let's Move! initiative deserves mention. Also, that comments are coming in from around the globe.
"Let's Move" is a jarring concept and the juxtapposition with "hangout" at the "fireside" doesn't make it less so. Rather, the use of the word "fireside," along with the rather formal "First Lady," provides a kind of imprimature or official approval for something bureaucracies isntinctively hate: people moving. Michelle Obama is being quite the revolutionary, not unlike Beppe Grillo focusing on proper waste handling and public water supplies. Really basic stuff from the perspective of public health.
It is well know that the U.S. population is very "mobile." That is, we move a lot in and around our own country. Indeed, on average we change residence every two years. (Which is one of the reasons why making people get picture IDs whenever their address changes is such a gold mine for the laminators). Not to mention that residential segregation from commercial and industrial sites now makes it necessary to commute far and wide for employment, not unlike gerbils on a treadmill. Indeed, I've argues that the private vehicle is really nothing more than an another cage on wheels, making it easier to keep track of where people go. People perambulating on their own two feet and hanging out in parks and street corners are definitely bureaucratic no-nos. (Perhaps it was the advisors who stuck in that "fireside" to make the reference to "hangout" seem less threatening to our official "minders."
That may sound strange, but don't forget we have become a nation where a vegetable growing on the White House lawn is considered subversive. And there's no question that healthy children will subvert the industrial health care profit margin.
Hangouts are a Google+ feature and, apparently, not enjoyed by all. Perhaps that's because membership is sort of automatic when one has a Youtube account. Others are very enthusiastic--e.g. the Sweat Pink Ambassadors.
Many people are groupies or groupists. Joining to exercise our muscles, rather than our prejudices, sure seems like a good idea. Bare arms vs. bear arms.
OK, I never claimed to be a comedian. You want comedy? We've got Al Franken and the Italians have Beppe Grillo.
In Mississippi they're serious. But, they need help.