The cover of Sarah Palin's book, GOING ROGUE, shows her looking angelically up to heaven. Love the dreamy clouds and the little flag pin. (Iconography ain't just for Catholics anymore!)
How to write about awful Sarah Palin without sounding sexist? It's difficult. As a FEMINIST, it is difficult.
So I'll admit, in this matter, I kinda feel sorry for the guys, trying to come up with new terms for stone-ignorance that sound gender-neutral. Matt Taibbi's "IQ of a celery stalk" is my favorite so far.
Mr Daisy has been watching the Sarah Palin-crowds on YouTube, and that shit is depressing. Celery stalk-level IQs are attracted to Palin, since she is (as she tirelessly reminds us) one of them. Well, you'll certainly get no argument about that from me.
On Bill O'Reilly's show, Palin pluckily responded to David Brooks condescendingly tagging her as "a joke"... and I instantly winced, knowing that a New York Times writer, ANY New York Times writer, is instant hate-material out here in the heartland. In fact, David Brooks will likely be prominently featured in Palin's upcoming, inevitable campaign ads: DAVID BROOKS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES SAID I WAS A JOKE! Pure gold; some people will vote for her for that reason alone.
Matt Taibbi believes political discourse has descended to talk-radio, uber-Twitter level, suitable for the celery stalk-heads:
Indeed, I have noticed this in Mr Daisy's endless videos of tea-baggers and Sarah Palin groupies. One man insists that Barack Obama translates (!) into "antichrist" in some ancient language; another woman claims she doesn't have health insurance and doesn't need any, by God. One shakes one's head in amazement. Palin would never disown a single one of these people, as Glenn Beck also wouldn't. They openly embrace the fringe, which is the notable new thing. This turns the wacko right-wing fringe into the mainstream, which is their whole goal. It moves the political discourse (one strongly feels the need to write "political discourse" in quotes) to the far right, and makes one unwillingly more comfortable with the Black Helicopter faction.
It doesn’t matter what the argument is about. What’s important is that once the argument starts, the two sides will automatically coalesce around the various instant-cocoa talking points and scream at each other until they’re blue in the face, or until the next argument starts.
And while some of us are old enough to remember that once upon a time, these arguments always had at least some sort of ideological flavor to them, i.e. the throwdowns were at least rooted in some sort of real political issue (war, taxes, immigration, etc.) we’ve now got a whole generation that is accustomed to screaming at cultural enemies as an end in itself, for the sheer dismal fun of it. Start fighting first, figure out the reasons later.
Sarah Palin is the Empress-Queen of the screaming-for-screaming’s sake generation. The people who dismiss her book Going Rogue as the petty, vindictive meanderings of a preening paranoiac with the IQ of a celery stalk completely miss the book’s significance, because in some ways it’s really a revolutionary and innovative piece of literature.And this might be why Rush infuriates many progressives on a level that Palin can't quite reach. He brings "facts" that sound real enough, and only when one thoroughly investigates, do you see how he bends those pseudo-facts (truthiness!) to suit the conservative agenda.
Palin — and there’s just no way to deny this — is a supremely gifted politician. She has staked out, as her own personal political turf, the entire landscape of incoherent white American resentment. In this area she leaves even Rush Limbaugh in the dust.
The reason for that is that poor Rush is an anachronism, in the sense that his whole schtick revolves around talking about real political issues. And real political issues are boring.
He works, in short, and to argue with Rush, you have to work, too.
Palin is 100% entertainment, and there is no work involved. As Taibbi points out, Rush makes you think too hard, by comparison:
Listen to Rush any day of the week and you’ll hear him playing the old-fashioned pundit game: he goes about the dreary business of picking through the policies and positions and public statements of Democrats and poking holes in them, arguing with them, attacking them with numbers and facts and pseudo-facts and non-facts and whatever else he can get his hands on, honest or not, but at least he tries. The poor guy nearly killed himself this summer trying to find enough horseshit to arm himself with against the health care bill, coming up with various fairy tales about how state health agencies used death panels to try to kill cancer patients who just wanted to live a little longer, how section 1233 is Auschwitz all over again, yada yada yada.Grudge politics, perverted populism in these difficult economic times... tempered by just the right notes, such as having a prayerful dinner with Billy Graham.
Rush is no Einstein, but the man does research. It may be fallacious and completely dishonest research, but he does it all the same. His battlefield is world politics and most of the time the relevant action is taking place in Washington. As good as he is at what he does, he still has to travel to the action; he himself isn’t the action.
Sarah Palin’s battlefield, on the other hand, is whatever is happening five feet in front of her face. She is building a political career around the little interpersonal wars in the immediate airspace surrounding her sawdust-filled head. And in the process she connects with pissed-off, frightened, put-upon America on a plane that’s far more elemental than the mega-ditto schtick.
Most normal people cannot connect on an emotional level with Rush’s meanderings on how Harry Reid is buying off Mary Landrieu with pork in the health care bill. They can, however, connect with stories about how top McCain strategist and Karl Rove acolyte Steve Schmidt told poor Sarah to shut her pie-hole on election day, or how her supposed allies in the McCain campaign stabbed her in the back by leaking gossip about her to reporters, how Schmidt used the word “fuck” in front of her daughter, or even with the strange tales about Schmidt ordering Sarah to consult with a nutritionist to improve her campaign endurance when she herself knew she just needed to get out in the fresh air and run (If there’s one thing Sarah Palin knows, it’s herself!).
Meanwhile, the left is bringing up the rear on the entertainment front. The left is sounding like wonky Rush and talking about, you know, solutions.
In this atmosphere, the only thing left to do is have at her. Eat her for dinner, engage in the same hateful nastiness that she engages is. Ridicule. But be careful. Do not be sexist, do not be ableist (concerning her disabled son Trig, although I think making fun of his name and calling him Twig is okay), do not be anti-large-family, anti-Christian, anti-Pentecostal or anti-rural. Got that? Because most lefties don't get it. Every time you engage in that behavior? She sees your anti-progressive hypocrisy and successfully uses it against us. "See?" she says to the rural hockey moms, "they really are making fun of us." And she's right.
Then again, I admit it is often too much to resist. I laughed my ass off at the Village Voice's fake "excerpts" from Palin's book:
If I wasn't so gosh-darned busy raising all my kids, I would have paid better attention to all that entrepreneural jazz. But you mothers know how that goes: you buy a car wash, and then little Plug has a loose tooth and little Geezer lost his mittens and before you know it, guess what -- the darned cars aren't getting washed, and you have to sell the thing off for a profit! And there was Todd so busy building our house out of sticks he found while he was snowmobiling, I couldn't go off playing with businesses. So I said, "Doggone-it, I'm gonna stay right here, mend socks, wipe noses, and such like." But then one day I was clipping coupons for Sunny D and I saw the ad in the paper that said they were looking for a new Mayor for Wasilla, and I guess I just got a wild hair in me.Okay, funny! But one has to walk a fine line in that kind of satire, and I think Roy Edroso (author of those pieces) managed to succeed in doing that.
On David Letterman:
We get to bed early in Alaska, as we have to be up before dawn to catch and skin moose, so I never saw his show. But when we heard those awful things he said about Willow, I looked up some pictures of him, and sure enough, he was the spitting image of that gap-toothed man I saw years ago when I was shopping with Willow at Out of the Closet, who offered her a Mars Bar and then reached down and rubbed her little butt. I still remember how he ran and jumped into a helicopter while I screamed and several good citizens came at him with sticks. Also, a friend played me the theme music from the show and I would swear to you it was the same music that helicopter was playing as it flew away. Folks, this is the kind of thing we're up against!
As popular as she is right now, I don't have a clue how to stop her. Let's hope she's a phase, like this year's fashion or Reality-TV show... which I guess is what she really is.