Celebrity vs. Saint, 2.0: In With a Bang

by | Feb 1, 2013 | Uncategorized

Michelle Obama at the Inauguration, Official White House Photo by Sonya Hebert.

Editor’s note: Welcome to round two of Celebrity vs. Saint! You can catch up on our last edition over here. Send any Celebrity vs. Saint breakdowns you want done to Jeff at [email protected] or fill up the comments below.


Say what? Mmmmmhmmm, that’s right. To celebrate her man’s taking the reins for a second go-round, The First Lady done got her hair did. And everybody’s talking about it – even balding 30-something seminarians.

Edition #2 pits Michelle Obama (bangs born: c. January 21) vs. St. Mary Magdalene (feast day: January 20).  How do they stack up?  Let’s turn to the tape.

Noli Me Tangere by Fra Angelico by Ark in Time via Flickr.

Mary Magdalene and Jesus, “Noli Me Tangere” by Fra Angelico, photo by Ark in Time via Flickr.


First Lady Michelle Obama, Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama, Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.


Edge: Obama’s bangs. Everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to HufPo to ABC News is covering the ‘do…


  • Mary Magdalene – Throughout history all-too-often Mags has been wrongly painted as a “woman of the night.” Scholars have argued whether Mags was selling all her lovin’ in the Gospels, but it’s more likely the whole rep was a smear tactic by Pope Gregory the Great. There’s no conclusive scholarship, but Mary’s rep as a holy women often gets smeared when artists depict her with seductive flowing red locks.
  • Obama’s bangs – The always ‘spot-on’ Piers Morgan.

Edge: Obama’s bangs. In the time of Mary Magdalene, the hair of most women was wrapped up tighter than a Taco Bell burrito. Hair let-down usually meant an unkempt woman…even if she looks well kempt. Some scholars associate “loose hair” with intimacy while others, such as the author of this Smithsonian article, note a connection between “loose hair” and eroticism. As for the First Lady, she is only facing an army of one: Piers Morgan. But does anyone really care about the Brits or snobby British culture anyways? Oh, right…the millions of people who watch Downton Abbey.


  • Mary Magdalene – The Messiah. The Christ. The Son of Man. The Vine. The Shepherd. The Gate. The Savior. Jesus. Anyone who has more nicknames than Babe Ruth must be a legend. She saw the miracles and was the singular audience savation history’s Main Event. And, he also happens to be the source of faith and worship for over a billion people.
  • Obama’s bangs – The Barack-star. One of the Most Powerful men in the world, and a devoted husband who went so far as to name-checked the bangs at his inauguration.

Edge: Mary Mags. I still want remain a Jesuit…and he’s my leading man, too.


  • Mary Magdalene – She’s the “apostle to the apostles,” the first one who told the men that Jesus was risen. That’s the rep that Mags deserves after being unfairly labelled a prostitute for so many centuries.
  • Obama’s bangs – A crazy critical mass Twitter account.

Edge: Obama. My guess is that most people will imitate and replicate the bangs. They won’t, however, actively model their behavior off of the Magdalene’s rep.

THE WINNER’S CIRCLE: Obama’s Bangs. We have a new “Patroness of Hairdressers.”

Like the Notre Dame vs. Alabama National Championship Game, this match-up was all show and no-go. This one didn’t live up to the hype. Mary Mags’ rep is surrounded in controversy greater than Lance Armstrong proportions. The general respect of bangs? Only on the rise.

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Editor’s note: a previous edition of this piece was unclear on the status of Mary Magdalene’s reputation as a prostitute.  Changes have been made to reflect the fact that there is no evidence to such a claim.  Also, the cover image, an official White House Photo by Sonya Hebert, can be found here.

Jeff Sullivan, SJ

jsullivansj@thejesuitpost.org   /   All posts by Jeff