What We Missed

Michelle Obama breaks a record by delivering a speech written at a twelfth grade level. It makes sense, since she and her husband treat women like adults, while Ann and her husband treat us like children.

A gay veteran busts Mitt Romney.

In a Tennessee county, defunding Planned Parenthood caused women’s services to drop by 93%.

A federal judge approves Arizona’s “show me your papers” measure.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

Read more about Katie

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  • http://feministing.com/members/lareine/ lareine

    while i do appreciate the level of vocab and structural complexity of michelle’s speech, i don’t think it’s a good idea to equate the choice to write to say, an eighth grade reading level, to treating “us” the audience like children. according to the most recent survey of adult literacy in the U.S., 87% of adults do not meet criteria for prose proficiency. http://nces.ed.gov/naal/kf_demographics.asp

    i don’t like it, but it’s important to remember that most american adults can’t understand literature written at above what is considered an eighth grade reading level. let’s not slam the rnc for being realistic (on at least this one topic). there’s plenty else wrong with the convention to focus on that doesn’t overlook or unintentionally slam the issue of illiteracy.

  • http://feministing.com/members/thecommonwoman/ thecommonwoman

    agreed. i loved (most) of michelle’s speech but i also think it’s really important to make sure that we as progressives are not using language that excludes a helluvalot of folks who experience oppression. that being said, her speech *was* a speech, not an essay, so i’m not sure how relevant the whole reading-level/functional illiteracy thing is to listening comprehension. it doesn’t seem like reading-levels are the best way to measure how easily understandable an oral speech is.