Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Going Rogue

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:

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.
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.

Taibbi continues:
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.

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.
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.

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.

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!).
Grudge politics, perverted populism in these difficult economic times... tempered by just the right notes, such as having a prayerful dinner with Billy Graham.

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.

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!
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.

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.


JDP said...

What bugs me is when I hear conservatives whom I've always regarded as highly educated and reasonably main-stream or moderate also endorsing the likes of Palin. Like an article I read the other day by Mary Matalin, where she glowingly praised Palin as the future of the Republican Party (or something along those lines). I often wonder what William F. Buckley would have to say about the likes of Palin, Beck, Hannity, etc., were he still alive today: Would he dismiss them, or would he align himself with them and support their bizarre rhetoric? One wonders...

Rachel said...

"Iconography ain't just for Catholics anymore!" LMAO

You write about exactly what worries me about her...yes, she is dangerous and stupid, and people like you and I see that and would not vote for her, but she has plenty of constituents who are just as dangerous and stupid in their ideology, and I am very scared that there are actually enough of them to elect her into office and then she will be MY president. Scary shit...

Mary said...

Why is it not okay to be anti-large family? I'd like to point out that I don't blame any kid that got born into one. My own mother is one of five. But they're bad for the environment and bad for women.
Any women who has more than four must be either spectacularly unlucky or bad at planning for her future. There's simply no excuse for a brood of kids in this day and age.

Janna said...

What is with her wierd posture in the photo that makes it look like she has no breasts? Is she trying to show how humble and prudish she is? Or trying to look a little more masculine?

thene said...

I don't know if you saw your fellow South Carolinan, Stephen Colbert, completely break character in order to slam Palin a couple of weeks ago, but it was some beautiful TV.

I'm hoping that a backlash against her will develop on the right - because sooner or later she is going to fuck up something. She's not smart enough to dodge that forever.

Drake Shelton said...

Check out a Christian Platonist refutation of the Roman distinction of the substance and accident in the mass at:


DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene, I did miss that, but looking it up on YouTube as we speak! Janna and Drake, it's great to see you both here.

Drake, I would prefer you put your post in the open thread (with the cat photo), but I will allow your post in this thread since I know you don't like Sarah Palin either, LOL. (Stay on topic, more or less, please.)

passinthru said...

Um, Mary? Mother of 5 speaking. I'd have had more if I had found out earlier how great it was, or not been interrupted by widowhood.

I have 5 because I'm awesome at it. I'm raising decent, involved, caring people, and I'll bet our carbon footprint (or whatever measure you'd like to use) is significantly smaller than any family of 3 you'd like to present, so I'm not worried 'bout that, either.

Are you really willing to let the Pentecostals and other large family anti-women folks control your future? Won't it be nice if a FEW people with liberal (or even, gasp, radical) politics are reproducing?

This is the whole "choice" thing ... remember?

Mary said...

Passinthru: I'm glad you and your kids are doing well. Most women would be mentally and physically overwhelmed, which is why I personally don't regard it as a healthy choice for women.
I didn't say anything about reproduction. I don't plan to reproduce, but that's just me. If I want kids, I'll adopt.
Rachel: I was surprised when she and Mccain didn't win. I no longer expect much of my fellow Americans.
Thene: We can only hope she really screws the pooch.

JoJo said...

She really is wretched, isn't she? I am blown away by the supposed intelligent people who are taken in by her.

Anonymous said...

daisy, have loved your blog as a centrist-slight-right who loves hearing the perspective from the other side that doesn't seek to offend, but to express. i've been in alaska for years and while i'm disappointed with palin, my years working with her in government and media have yielded to me a different palin than what is on the national stage. even the AK people she derides will tell you begrudgingly that she's capable of talking policy. she's lost credibility with me professionally; although she's one of the nicest people in the world and i learned a great deal from her. just to chip in my couple of cents. keep writing; i love your blog.

El Squidge said...

Flag pin? Feh! I have an American flag tattooed on my FACE. That's commitment! Unless the flag pin's permanently soldered into a genital piercing I'm not impressed.

white rabbit said...

How about the intellectual acuity of a matted ball of plucked nostril hair?

Nicely non gender specific abuse :D

Sorry - slightly crazed after 6 hour journey...

JoJo said...

Anonymous - I'm sure she is a nice and personable person. I just don't think she's qualified for either Pres. or VP. Yes, she was Gov. of our largest state, area-wise, but the Mayor of Seattle has more constituents than Sarah did in the entire State of AK. Just my humble opinion.

passinthru said...

"most women would be mentally and physically overwhelmed"? Really? Good thing we don't let them handle big responsibilities then, poor dears.

And it's nice that you apparently come from a class of people permitted to adopt. Good on 'ya.

I come from a class of people traditionally permitted to provide children for the pleasure of people who may choose (or not) to adopt, so I just went with a different strategy.

sheila said...

I have to admit I skimmed this post. Simply bcuz she bothers me so. lol. I cannot stand to watch her. I even flicked on Fox news last week and she was on there interviewed by all the biggies like Greta and Hannity (choke).

I don't know what they see in her. She sounded just as dumb and unintelligent on their as she did with Katie. *sigh*. Dumb as a rock. (sorry you poor rocks).

Jackie said...

How someone like her could get that far so fast in one of the most powerful nations on Earth scares the hell out of me and I don't even live in the States. It happens in Africa but the US??

Plus of course I despise her over her murderous promotion of the culling of wolves. Grrrrrrrrr

Hitterchick said...

Ms. Deadhead -
What i found absurd was beside her basic lack of smarts was her insistance on teaching abstinance. It obviously didn't work for her or her daughter and Ms. Palin being so religious as she keeps letting us know. What makes her think it will work with the rest of the teenagers who don't share the same religious views? Does she care that this would be exposing more young people to AIDS. It's another "do as i say not as I do"