[OPE] Michelle Obama, Karl Marx and the secrets of the G20 First Wives' club

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Apr 03 2009 - 13:59:19 EDT

Michelle Obama, Karl Marx and the secrets of the G20 First Wives' club

Mariella Frostrup,
The Guardian,
Friday 3 April 2009

While the men got on with the business of digging us out of our economic and political hole yesterday, the developed world's second most important assembly were left to concern themselves with issues of a more artistic bent. The conundrum of how to be a modern first lady was apparent when the G20 spouses gathered at the Royal Opera House for a cultural interlude followed by lunch. My role as "compere", on Sarah Brown's invitation, offered me a glimpse of what this group of intelligent, capable women get up to while their husbands are busy attempting to solve the problems of the known universe. Academics, economists, lawyers, businesswomen: the qualifications in the room made for a highbrow coffee morning. It was disappointing not to find a few more husbands of presidents and prime ministers in the mix, but clearly miracles don't occur over mere decades in politics. (...)

Over our "light lunch", Svetlana Medvedeva, wife of the Russian president, and I attempted a discussion, through her translator, about our love of books. She was proud to reveal that Marx's Das Kapital is again a bestseller in Russia, and says real readers, among whom she clearly numbers, are rereaders. She cited Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita as a novel offering fresh insights at each stage of our reading lives. On my right was the less earnest presence of the Thai prime minister's wife, Pimpen Vejjajiva, a professor of mathematics, who confided that her Eton educated husband is a fan of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a meal she rustles up for him once a month. What was most apparent at this once-in-a-lifetime gathering is that, whatever we think of the Masters of the Universe, they have extremely good taste in women. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/apr/03/michelle-obama-g20-sarah-brown

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