Parading Malia And Sasha

The XX Factor’s Emily Bazelon on Barack Obama’s “Open Letter To My Daughters” in the current Parade magazine:

Why is Barack Obama writing an open letter to his daughters? I guess when you become president, you talk to your kids via Parade magazine.

Parade magazine, with its 30-plus million circulation, is where Dad Lays Out His Lofty Expectations For His Daughters:

I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you’ve had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much—although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

No pressure, though.

These are sentiments, Bazelon rightly notes, that Obama “could get across at a family dinner or bedtime.” Bazelon asks: “By doing it in public, doesn’t he put a huge burden on them, adding to the one they’re already shouldering? And isn’t he using them, too?”

Yes. And, yes.

And, I’d add, isn’t Obama also making it more likely that things like What’s For Lunch In The Sidwell Cafeteria (Upper and Lower Schools) will continue to be served up as news? After all, if we don’t air this bit about the Obama girls’ private lives— and air it now —we might get scooped by Dad.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.