Sunday, November 8, 2009

Desiree Rogers suffers from acute Hubris.

For days now I've been gripped with a gnawing sense of fear and loathing at the thought of our First Family's Social Secretary. Desiree Rogers is too evident, too grasping and too ambitious for me to ignore her any more.

It started with appearances and lengthy stories on her in the Wall Street Journal, Vogue and countless smaller rags, all celebrating her brilliance(MBA from Harvard), accomplishments (heading an oil/power concern in Illinois) and the crowning glory on her pin head of being best girlfriends with Michelle Obama. Her ambitious, power-brokering got her the plumb job of the official Social Secretary to the Obamas. I guess having played a similar role for a utility company makes her uniquely suited. It's her incredible self regard that is her most valuable credential. Desiree is the ultimate example of one who thinks her gas is a luxe scent blended just for her. Well a fart is a fart by any name and she has a cloud that's growing around her daily.

You might think that a tasteless and unwarranted jab, but I have reasons for my low opinion of the White House Social Secretary. Her shameless self promotion is not an asset for the First Family. It looks like they don't know better than to choose a power junkie instead of someone powerful working behind the scenes for them.Perhaps, she got the job with the help of Grandma who was a Voodoo Priestess. I have the feeling that Desiree feels on equal footing with our First Lady. That is a clerical error as I see it. She is not the First Lady. She shows up at the collections as a stand-in for a Michelle Obama. I've always respected Michelle's priorities as being an astute and successful Lawyer, wife, mother and not someone desperate to attend the opening of every tawdry collection and colostomy bag in and out of town. Perhaps out of politeness Michelle delegated those appearances to Desiree in order to have a representative for herself and the White House. It was certainly necessary with the Fashion Industry having anointed the First Lady as the Savior of our industry simply because she wore a string of mid range and low end designers to all sorts of events. Do the math: If a First Lady can meet the Queen of England in Gap and Jason Wu, she's GOT to be a Fashionista!. So the job was taken up with unseemly glee by the secretary (very Eve Harrington in my book) and she's only gotten more and more comfortable with it.

Desiree is photogenic, a handsome woman who's clearly had some very good work done to enhance her loveliness, not that there's anything wrong with a little chopping and sanding. She's mad for clothes and wears many of the greats all the time. She can swing from Carolina Herrera to Calvin to Viktor and Rolf to Jil Sander and back to Oscar de la Rental. Now she can't be buying it because she's changing too often in a day. In the WSJ story there were 4-5 shots of her busy at her job and she managed to change clothes for each and every too. So I infer that she's a bit of a product placement Pro. I have the uncomfortable feeling she's playing the favor game and getting racks of clothes in the bargain.

" Never a borrower or a lender be."

That is a rule that certainly applies to a person in that position. Desiree can't be bothered with rules. She makes them, she's too busy "BRANDING" the First Family to follow them. That's how she sees her job. I see it as a 2-way street. She arranges the public's access to the First Family, be it literal or virtual. State dinner invitations, events, national and international engagements that cast the magic of their Administration far and wide are all responsibilities that I would expect from her. With that job done you get the satisfaction of serving something greater than yourself and your own ambitions and not private lunches bi-weekly with Anna Wintour and spreads in Vogue for herself and her 18 year old daughter. Not going as a duet to fashion shows and constant mugging for every Instamatic within 100 feet. Not playing the quick change fashion show junkie wearing the clothes of the designer to his/her show like so many other dumb asses in the front rows of too many regrettable shows. You don't see Anna doing it. I forget how much a rookie Des is and then I'm reminded.

So with the appointment of Anna to the President's Arts Council I can't help but think Desiree is behind the scenes waving her twisted wand. Ms. Wintour is vaguely acquainted with the arts, literature, both Fine and Applied, but she's really about Sales and the neutering of a whole industry. What does that have to do with the National Council for the Arts? Why not Toni Morrison, Tabatha from Salon Makeover,Aretha Franklin, who generously serenaded their Inauguration,Aerin Lauder, and let's not forget Wendy Williams. They at least do something besides pose. Hell, I'm sure Oprah or Kathy Griffin are available.What has Sarah Jessica Parker done lately that qualifies her? Hair color and rancid perfume?

If Desiree spent more time behind her desk instead of standing front and center for the cameras, maybe she'd get more done. I don't want to see spreads on what sits on her desk: the Hermes notebooks, one large black one for work and a smaller orange one for personal, fresh flowers everyday, a Presidential stamp on her Styrofoam coffee cup, and on and on. How about a slightly less styled desk where real work happens. Thank god she has some focused assistants that keep her in the job. Someone has to be doing the heavy lifting, but it's not her. How could she when a huge chunk of her time is spent holed up in a suite at the St.Regis waiting for Anna to summon her to some glittering gathering. I could care less about our tax dollars being spent on the big guys doing their thing, but I don't like the idea that I'm paying for this silver -plated wannabe to play dress up. Is it so bad to be a secretary? There are so many out of work secretaries who are better qualified and dying for a chance to actually work for the Leader of the Free World and his Family.

My advice to her is put away those American Spirit cigarettes or whatever it is she's smoking, and pick up that pad and pen and start taking dictation. Good secretaries remind their bosses of commitments they've committed themselves to. She could remind the President that he promised to do something for the gigantic block of Gay voters who helped him get into office and the small businesses who were supposed to get a piece of the pie to help weather this shit storm. Those items keep getting put off for another day. Well with Fashion shows, photo-ops and fittings there just aren't enough hours in the day for Desiree Rogers to do everything.
Her mantra is:"A girl has to take time for herself".... and she does that with real zeal.


Anonymous said...

dead on Fluff!

everyday a floor show said...

she is a piece of self centered work fluff...makes as many appearances as?

WendyB said...

"In the WSJ story there were 4-5 shots of her busy at her job and she managed to change clothes for each and every shot" -- You're talking about the WSJ magazine, right? You don't think they brought along clothes and styled her, like many magazines do for many shoots? There were clothing credits just like for a typical shoot.

threadingwater said...

I couldn't agree with your analysis more. Thank you for saying it. But, shouldn't it be "Hubris" in the title of your post?

Fluff Chance said...

Thanks for the spell check!

Fluff Chance said...

That's true. They must have because there were credits. She did change for show week between shows, which was more to the point. Next time I'll be a bit more precise and less sweeping. Thanks, Fluff

Anonymous said...

Hi Fluffy...long time no talk ;).


Divalocity said...

I think Desirée knows her position in the Obama administration. She did not just become a designers clothes hanger because she has been a stylish woman ever since I saw her over twenty years ago. She comes from prominent NOLA family and has been a part of the Chicago social circle since she's been living there.

I know this doesn't matter but her ex-husband is John W. Rodgers, founder, Chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments, so that may also have a hand in her prominence.

One thing we have to remember is the safety of the First Lady and she can't be everywhere to satisfy everybody. You're not the only one who has a problem with her visibility because this is relatively new to people and they think she's taking away Mrs.Obama's "shine."

She knows her place, so there's no use making an issue out of nothing. All eyes and admiration are still on Mrs. Obama, the Blogs hardly ever mention Desirée with the same praise that she receives.

As quiet as it's kept the insiders of the political circles are pursuing her to hopefully get an invite or have her attend some of their various events.

Old School Brand said...

OHHHHH, three finger snaps in a z!
You are brutally honest and to the absolute pointe!!! Well said!

Old School Brand said...

OHHHHH, three finger snaps in a z!
You are brutally honest and to the absolute pointe!!! Well said!

Unknown said...

In this day and age of celebrity why would you assume that such methods of exposure would not used to introduce and attempt to whoo the attention of an ADHD generation? Pretty, Sparkly and Shiny captures attention and the marketing of Mrs. Rogers is in line with our current culture. We are introduced to what she looks like and how she lives before we see what she can do. Or her accomplishments are just a footnote that support the visual promotions. I find it funny that we accepted the same kind of promo for Mrs. Obama, her husband and family and at the time did not question that many people were less concerned with what they could do and were more concerned with how they visually stimulated and changed the American ideal.

Perhaps it is our individual responsibility to push passed the obvious and ignore the visual and begin to concentrate on what is being accomplished. And if there seems to be no advice or evidence on such matters request it until we are heard?

Anonymous said...

a Marni skirt (shortened) and slingback neels in putty?? NO No No

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with you Fluff! And finally someone said it out loud.
I knew something wasn't right with that woman when that WSJ & Vogue story came out.
These are people who should remain behind the scenes in order to for the First family to be First & Foremost.
Im sorry - whether she likes it or not - thats her job. To plan the First family's social calendar, not her own. And certainly not to be in magazines! (was she not on the cover a I confusing her with another social climber?)
She should at least be smart enough to be gracious and modest! It goes a very long way.
What ever happened to publicists, stylists, etc remaining behind the scenes - it so much cooler and chicer.
Since when is it about the non famous people doing something for the famous people - I don't understand.
Since when is everyone a celebrity? Next thing you know she will have her own reality show on MTV - "The House" I can see it all now unfortunately.
And that image of her desk - wholeheartedly agree - it was in very very poor taste and quite frankly insulting. Especially at a time in our country's economy where people are really struggling. Real secretaries paying more taxes than their bosses and struggling to take care of their families and we are seeing her 2 Hermes day planners and 5 blackberries.
Keep it to yourself Desiree - sorry.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Love this cat's MEOWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

troubledeyes said...

Ouch! I wonder if there is something to be said for making your argument without sounding like you are personally attacking Desiree Rogers. You almost lost me in the beginning but you have a compelling point of view. I just think your greater point of how everything has becoming a commodity for sale--even the White House, at the hands of people like Anna Wintour gets lost in the attack against DR--just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your views. It was a bit scathing. I just don't happen to agree with your assessment. When you know more and better, you will write a more even handed informed essay.

E. DuBois said...

In light of the fiasco at the State dinner with those reality show interlopers earlier this week, Ms. Rogers has been curiously mum. I also noted that her outfit was a little too much like FLOTUS in colour. I think you have a point here...

Anonymous said...

good reporting...with lots of good dish on this person:

fashion/image fetish with requisite ego
Goldman Sachs connection (to ex-husband)
should be working at dinner but is instead working the party

She should be fired (but won't, i assure you)

Anonymous said...

Every one should be thankful that a beautiful, intelligent and accomplished woman like Desiree Rogers is in The White House as a social secretary.
Everything about Desiree Rogers only makes America look progressive.
She's a hard worker and she really loves the American people.
The only people at fault for the crashing mess at The White House State dinner is the classless , tacky and wretched Salahi's. They should go to jail.

Anonymous said...

She is too flambouyant for this job. I'm a black woman and in as much as I'm happy to see someone like her at this job, she's clearly incompetent at being a secretary. maybe she's too qualified but she should be behind the scenes not ging BO a bad name. He has toomuch to contend with at the moment. She should be fired. Period

Anonymous said...

Your sharp observances are even more pointed given the recent events regarding those Philistine Party Crashers! We'll see if Ms. Rogers will be taken down a notch or two and remanded to her proper place behind the scenes. I LOVE your blog!!!! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

You are so on it!! I hope that you can read this on youtube for greater audience.
This woman is typical of her ilk. All the degrees and none of the class to go with it. It's people like her and her type who watched Dynasty growing up so that they will know how to act "when they get rich". Ya know, why do Presidents bring the worst of their states with them. Clinton brought the worst of Arkansas, Bush brought the worst of Texas, Reagan the worst of Hollywood and I guess now, Chicago has dredged the Chicago River. She needs to quit and your points are quite compelling.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this - I hope the White House is paying attention...

Anonymous said...

Effing slay me. Spot on. There 's time for this kind of grandstanding after the ball. But get on with the business of getting on - not setting up your own escape route.

Anonymous said...

After the state dinner debacle, everyone just knew someone would get the ax. Thank goodness it was her and not one of the ACTUAL civil servants. I couldn't believe it when I saw her posing in her Alexander McQueen at the dinner instead of being behind the scenes doing her job.

Anonymous said...

Well said! Too busy being a celebrity to even understand the appropriate people for the arts.

How sad. Bravo! You rock.

What is even sadder is the number of people who support her just because she is black. Ridiculous!

Get a brain and a backbone or we're never moving forward in life.


I shouldn't amazed at all these comments. Perfect example of living in the world of America's warped since of perception regarding women of color.

Your warped sense of reality restricts your ability to acknowledge an accomplished, beautiful and classy woman as Ms. Rogers. You are more comfortable with the matronly and dysfunctional images of black women. The bloggers tasteless remark suggesting plastic surgery is hillarious. You criticize her high profile White House appearances when Nancy Reagan literally ran the White House. She spent untold thousands redecorating the WH. America fawned over Jackie Kennedy and her Dior dresses which she paid for w/tax payer money even going as far as to have Christian Dior and Oscar Lertenta come over from Europe.....If Nancy can supplant Jackie who can supplant Mamie Eisenhower's dowdy image the world can accept Desiree Rogers!