Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

Note to Liberal Media: STFU about Sarah Palin Already

Joan Walsh has yet another article on Salon today about the many lies Sarah Palin has been telling lately, and Rachel Maddow spent a good part of her broadcast on Tuesday deconstructing the bizarre illogic Palin has used to defend her actions this time around. It’s nice to see someone else express the teeth-grinding frustration I feel when listening to Palin say things that are patently untrue to the applause of her countless fans.

But at this point, I wonder if we’re playing a losing game when we subject Palin’s nonsense to the sort of rigorous analysis one might use on genuine political discourse. I’m not suggesting that if we ignore her, she’ll go away. But I am starting to think that picking apart her language as if anyone expected it to actually make sense raises her statements to the level of thoughtful contributions to an informed discussion, when that’s neither what they are nor what they are intended to be–nor why they have the power to move her constituency. It’s not they’re stooping to her level, more that they’re raising her to the level liberals tend to associate with democratic discourse. The more the policy wonks dissect the minutiae of her statements, the more weight is given to the idea that she is making a reasoned or thoughtful contribution to political debate.

Perhaps more crucially, not one of these critiques will make a bit of difference to her many supporters, since any attack on her untruthfulness or illogic will simply be put down as ‘elitism’ anyway. Of course, this view of her as an ignoramus is part of how she presents herself as a victim: ‘Poor me, the liberal media will never give me any credit.’ But the fact is, she doesn’t need the media to give her credit, just airtime, and that’s exactly what even the most disparaging accounts of her behavior continue to do.

If liberals must discuss and deconstruct Palin–and given that she apparently garners viewers/readers at the moment, the media is probably not going to stop following her every move–they would do better to show up as propaganda the things that Palin actually depends on for her support, which seem to have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with identification. What I have heard from Palin supporters is mostly celebrations of her likeness to them, particularly those class, region and religion markers that made her so ‘different’ and ‘surprising’ as a candidate to the mainstream: her folksy accent, her motherhood of a giant brood, her supposed Christian sense of service, her state-college degree, her waders. (And to be fair, progressive supporters of Obama did the same thing, announcing that he was ‘one of us’ even as his centrist tendencies and compulsive need to compromise were always evident to anyone looking closely.)

Part of the reason this persona is so powerful is that it isn’t one we see on the national stage very often–despite W’s attempts to seem like just one of the born-again folks rather than a silver-spooned Yalie whose daddy got him a job. And metropolitan and class elitism does play a foundational and highly problematic role in our government. So if it’s Palin’s persona rather than her plans or promises that is the major draw, the best attack is not on the persona–which would simply underscore the very elitist assumptions she relies on for her victim status–but the fact that she sullies and travesties that persona, using regional, rural, working-class associations cynically for her own advancement, in a way that does a disservice to everyone who identifies with her.

jke

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Being cute at trans-expense

Siriano: rebuked and repentant for tranny mess

Siriano: rebuked and repentant for "tranny mess"

We all make excuses for our behavior, particularly if we know we’re being just plain wrong. Whether under the guise of being ironic or sassy, I’ll cop to some jokes that I’d rather not be known as part of my public repertoire (except for anything to do with Sarah Palin because I really do hate that skank). I call it “political backsliding.”

In the church tradition I grew up in and have since renounced, backsliders were those who’d been baptized in the blood of the lamb, but were not being vigilant about how they trod the path to heaven. I think backsliders can always return prodigal-like to the fold. I’ve appropriated the concept and applied it to the discriminatory things I think (often) and say outloud (sometimes and in select company). Initially, I chalked it up to feeling confined by feminism: women, not girls! People of color, not minorities! Oriental is a style of home furnishings, not people! I felt like I was in a straightjacket of propriety, but unwilling to blame political correctness (which I think it an utterly bullshit way people try to continue with foul behavior).

However, it wasn’t feminism that was confining me, but that I was confining feminism and any other political struggle that tried to transform our social and political landscapes. Sure, there are some annoying doctrinaire edicts around language, but I voluntarily signed on to feminist ideology. What I was rebelling against was my own interpretation of feminism and what it should mean for my life.

So, I’m coming back to the fold language-wise and trying to get myself in check.  Sorry to be all “everything I need to know I learned in kindergardten,” but rather than constricting my free speech, I’m actually valuing the fact that my words have power to hurt other people even if “I really don’t mean it” or think I’m being hipster-cool and in-the-know.

This article from Feministe on trans-phobia and non-transpeople using the word “tranny” made me re-think some things. Lengthy for a blog post, but a good reality check. Can I get an amen?

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Funny feeling…Bristol Palin on Fox

p10bristol19 After reading a Salon write up on the Bristol Palin interview with Greta “WTF has she done to her face?!” Van Susteren, I’m rendered speechless. I think I’m feeling…compassion for Bristol. Could be guilt for dressing up like her for Halloween…and winning the prize for Scariest Costume.

Must. Lie. Down. I’ll look up the actual interview and decide if I can bear to watch it first-hand when I recover…if I recover.

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President Elect

It’s 6 am in the UK, and I’m sleepy and weepy and more sentimental about my country than I have ever felt in my adult life. If 44% of voters in rural counties in Southern red states can vote for Obama, then America, and by extension the world, may not be the place I thought it was. I will take stock in the morning–or rather, the later afternoon–and see if my cynicism has returned in any form. In the meantime, I am still myself enough to offer the following: Hello, Sarah Palin? Were you paying attention? Because that was America telling you to fuck off.

jke

wedding

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Flow’s special issue on That Ol’ Palin

My friend Mark’s gran has taken to calling Sarah Palin “That Ol’ Palin.” Since that’s better than most of the misogynist crap rolling around in my brain, I’ve decided to adopt gran’s moniker.

Flow, an online journal of television studies out of University of Texas-Austin, launched a special issue on Sarah Palin and the Media.

My favorite article title? “Even Mud Had the Illusion of Depth”. Dang. Burn.

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Filed under election 2008, sexuality, women, work

Sarah Palin’s Extreme Makeover

Sarah Palin received $150,000 worth of new clothes from the Republican National Party since her nomination was announced in September, according to a recent Politico story.

The public and the media confused beauty with money upon Palin’s debut, heaping praise on Palin’s good looks, a mistake made so often in the United States that beauty and money have been long indistinguishable. Palin dazzled because she was covered in staggeringly expensive designer garb. Stylists know that small town beauty queen fashion sense does not make true loveliness on a national stage. I wonder what Palin looked like before the GOP got a hold of her, shaped her hair and makeup, and literally clothed her in money.

If the point of Palin on the ticket was her down-home appeal, why not let her continue to take a curling iron to her bangs, and wear outfits from the local Anchorage or Wasilla shopping malls? Why outfit her in a way that few hockey moms (and only about 5% of people in this country) could afford?

Perhaps because without the class status her clothing conferred, she’d run the risk of looking like what she is: an untutored woman and an unpolished small-time politician. And how would her nutty right wing views read coming out of a package like that? Would our perception of her moose hunting, woolf-shooting ways change if her class status presented differently?

Campaign spokespeople poo-poo stories about Palin’s wardrobe, suggesting that the clothes are on loan to Palin and will be donated to charity once she is finished. Imagine the lucky work-to-welfare Mom, or abused woman who fled her house without her clothes, who would benefit from Palin’s cast-off Armani suits.

Is it just me, or does the McCain campaign’s dismissive suggestion evoke a “let them eat cake” ethos to you too?

Funny that the McCain campaign, for all of their Joe-the-Plumber advertising, still can’t manage to disguise their Marie Antoinette ways

htg03

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Sarah Palin on the VP’s Job

Doing justice to last night’s debate is a long project, one I’m not sure we’ll need to take on, since it’s doubtful that the VPs will change the course of the election now.

My irritation this morning is more to do with the coverage of the debate than the debate itself. Sarah Palin’s just as woefully unqualified for the job of VP today as she was last week when she did her Katie Couric interviews. Yet the media gave her a pass, since she stood upright through the whole thing instead of falling to the ground in a puddle of her own pee. The substance of the debate went virtually unexamined on CNN and NPR this morning.

Only in a local talk show did I finally hear mentioned that Sarah Palin showed that she STILL doesn’t know what the VP does. She asserted that the VP has a role in the legislative branch (misunderstanding, it seems, the VP’s role as tie breaker in the senate). Palin also seemed to be under the impression that her role in the Senate would be something she would hammer out with John McCain. I was sure that there would be some great youtube tape I could include here, but alas, there is as yet no downloadable record of this most pivotal moment in the VP debate.

htg03

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