Thursday, July 09, 2009

I'm a celebrity- get me out of here!

Right now it's impossible to wander around the Internet without stepping in a pile or two of hyperbolic speculation about television personality Sarah Palin's rambling roundelay of a resignation as Governor of Alaska. I'll try to avoid the urge to contribute more.

I remain a Palin Agnostic. Nothing she has said or done has yet risen to the level of 'interesting' for me. Some people hate her. They think she's 'horrible' and 'dangerous' because her manner of speech is odd and unpolished. Admittedly, her foot seldom misses an opportunity to pay a visit to her mouth. And so what? Her off-the-cuff style seems to be a point in her favor among her admirers, and forgive me for not running to man the barricades myself. Oh, and she's also supposedly 'intellectually uncurious'. Unlike which other politician? Is Harry Reid noted for his intellectual curiosity? I'm sure Diane Feinstein is completing her study of the morphology of that new insect species she discovered in the Amazon basin as we speak. Palin is supposedly 'provincial', but with most American politicians, it's hard to tell if they're provincial or just playing provincial. Wasn't it John Kerry who pretended not to be able to speak French? Lastly, Palin is supposed to just be too mediocre and rural to serve in higher office- as if these characteristics weren't qualifications for American politics at this point. I fail to see why she's uniquely bad.

Nor do I understand the childish personality cult that surrounds her. See if you can get a Palinite to tell you why she would be a good leader without them saying ''She's just like us'', or ''She understands us''. Gooble, gabba- we accept you! One of us! Sorry, I'm not looking for a drinking buddy when I vote, and I feel like shaking some of these people and saying, "I swear- she's not going to marry you!" Also, for all their supposed 'averageness', her supporters often come across as a snobbish clique, forever bragging how they ''get'' her in a way that outsiders (New Yorkers, journalists, academics, rich people, other assholes, etc.) just can't. And yes, it's exactly the same with the United Church of Obama Consciousness people too. I'm convinced the last election was about two dimwitted personality cults arguing with each other about their scriptures. Seriously: people in political office are not your friends, heroes, messiahs, or spiritual guides- they're just these dopes that work for you.

American politicians aren't leaders as much as celebrities at this point. The problem the Republicans have right now is that it's better to be a Republican media figure than a Republican political figure. "Liberal media'' aside, there are now two distinct structures of Republicanism: a Party and a Media Empire. A clever young Republican thus has two distinct career paths:
  1. Become a Senator or Congressman, making about $120,000 per year, sitting in boring committee meetings, rarely being able to speak your mind, and being vilified by nearly everyone, including those Republicans who despise 'politicians'.
  2. Work as hard and as long to become a nationally-syndicated talk-show blabber, write some bestselling boilerplate books for people who don't really like to read, get paid in the millions, be encouraged to say outrageous things to rile up the audience, and get treated like a rock star, especially by those Republicans who despise 'politicians'.
When I first saw Sarah Palin, I thought, ''She should become a right-wing version of Oprah". And why not? The money's good and the work's easy. If I was her, I'd ditch the struggling Party for the booming Media Empire. It's hard to keep them down in Juneau once they've seen Paris Hilton.

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