Palin the poser

You know, when it was first announced Bristol Palin would be appearing on ABC’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’ this year, I thought what I think every year when ABC announces their Dancing With The Stars line-up: “it’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and I don’t give a fuck about that show, but I’m sure something hilarious will come out of this pathetic attempt at broadcast television entertainment”.

From what I can glean on the internet, this year has been no exception, but the more I hear about ridiculous publicity stunts involving members of the Palin family these days the more I feel badly for the individuals caught up in the middle of the mess and angrier at the woman whose directly responsible for it all.

I wonder what Sarah Palin would say if you asked her what her opinion on fame is. What does she think about becoming famous? What did she see in famous people before she herself became famous? Is fame a responsibility or a luxury? Stumbling across this re-published article from 1996 in the Alaska Daily News, entitled “Alaskans line up for a whiff of Ivana”, then fisherman Sarah Palin, all the way back in the Clinton years, became a lede in a news article:

Sarah Palin, a commercial fisherman from Wasilla, told her husband on Tuesday she was driving to Anchorage to shop at Costco. Instead, she headed straight for Ivana.

And there, at J.C. Penney’s cosmetic department, was Ivana, the former Mrs. Donald Trump, sitting at a table next to a photograph of herself. She wore a light-colored pantsuit and pink fingernail polish. Her blonde hair was coiffed in a bouffant French twist.

”We want to see Ivana,” said Palin, who admittedly smells like salmon for a large part of the summer, ”because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamour and culture.”

Fast-forward to fall 2010, Sarah Palin’s new reality show on TLC got the highest ratings of any premier ever to air on the 38th most popular channel on basic cable. From what I’ve read, the show doesn’t perch much on politics or religion (or reality, let’s be honest here) but “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is simply a bunch of cameras following Sarah Palin and clan around while they embark on wacky adventures across America’s biggest concentration of tundras and glaciers.

As Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic points out however, “She Can’t Fish or Shoot a Gun”.

Sarah Palin. The woman best known for her love of sniping at arctic wolves from helicopter, immortalized by lonely Republican men around the country as a powerful starlet wearing a sexy red bikini and holding an AR-15 assault rifle, a mother who tries to relate to Real America over and over by talking about how much venison she’s stocked herself in the ice chest (aka outside) at home. She had to ask Levi Johnston to teach her how to use a hunting rifle, and from keen viewers to her show’s premier point out, she clearly knows nothing about fly fishing.

Trying to be something she’s not. While this isn’t a political tactic specific to just Sarah Palin, everyone in Washington panders to your sensibilities so you’ll like them more, but I think you could easily say Palin the the biggest exploiter currently of this quasi-celebrity/freakshow type of media attention. She is a paid talking head on FOX News, she wrote a book and toured the country promoting it (and is working on a second), receives extraordinarily amounts of money for speaking engagements where the press are actively discouraged from attending, has a daughter on a major prime-time TV show, now has her own TLC reality show, and receives financial contributions via private donors and her 527 SarahPAC organization. For Palin it hasn’t been too bad of a financial year (I’m surprised she’s so quite about wanting tax breaks for the wealthy).

Forget about thrusting one of your many daughters onto the public stage as a teenage mom and ironic abstinence advocate. For Sarah we have this PSA to thank her for:

It’s worth enough to mention too how Sarah Palin’s cult mama grizzly following showers an outpouring of support and unintelligible babble whenever Sarah needs it. Hence her book sales, hence her 5 million viewer reality TV show ratings (though I’m sure at least 2 million of these people tuned in to watch her crash and burn), and Palin also has her supporters to thank for her daughter Bristol’s continued voter-decided success on Dancing With The Stars.

And the best part? Because Palin is and always has been the Snookie of the political world, the less she seems to be accountable for giving straight answers to questions and proposing solutions to the problems that a president of the United States faces. And the more she’s allowed to act like a Real Housewife and not a former Alaskan governor, the more encouragement she gets to write books and parader her and her family around on television and seize greater political ambitions and appear on FOX News specials. She is her own walking PR press junket.

The more she pretends to be someone else the more people will like her for who she is, the less they will admire her for her understanding of the world and her ability to form coalitions while governing and move the country forward and making the United States successful once again. Voters can text their choice of president NOW to 94712, we’ll have the results for you right after this commercial break! Stay tuned!

Welcome to politicking in America.

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