Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Perfect Mascot

Some salient recent observations by Matt Taibbi about the Sarah Palin phenomenon, a subject I have studiously avoided as one likely to make the veins on my forehead and neck get dangerously swollen and enflamed. If ever there were a perfect mascot for the clueless but furious American, well, let me put it this way . . . you could not make Sarah Palin up. She so perfect in the role, it's like she stepped out of central casting to assume it. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that her ghost-written "memoir"--from what I can understand, an extended whine about the shabby treatment she got from the McCain campaign--went immediately to the top of the best-seller lists. Typical. She's going to make millions on this book, while the sorry-ass tea-party people queue up, thousands upon thousands of them, to spend their perfectly good money on drivel. Palin made no secret about the primary motive she had for writing this book: to make money. True blue American to the core.

Without further ado, Mr. Taibbi:
  • At the end of this decade what we call “politics” has devolved into a kind of ongoing, brainless soap opera about dueling cultural resentments and the really cool thing about it, if you’re a TV news producer or a talk radio host, is that you can build the next day’s news cycle meme around pretty much anything at all, no matter how irrelevant — like who’s wearing a flag lapel pin and who isn’t, who spent $150K worth of campaign funds on clothes and who didn’t . . . 
  • 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 . . . 
  • Complaining about the assholes we interact with on a daily basis is the #1 eternal pastime of the human race. We all do it, and we get to do it every day, because the world is full of assholes. . . . Not health care, not financial regulatory reform, not Iraq or Afghanistan, but — assholes. 
  • Sarah Palin is on an endless crusade against assholes. It’s all she thinks about. She doesn’t really have any political ideas, in the classic sense of the word — in fact the only thing resembling real political convictions in Going Rogue revolve around the Trans-Alaska pipeline and how awesome she thinks it is. Most of the rest of the book just catalogs her Gump-esque rise to national stardom (not having enough self-awareness to detect the monstrous narcissistic ambition that in reality was impelling her forward all along, she labors in the book to describe her various career leaps as lucky accidents or mystical acts of Providence) and the seemingly endless parade of meanies bent on tripping her up along the way. [Classic Taibbi, by the way]
Sometimes I wonder why politics holds any interest for me at all. I have a ton of books surrounding me here in my study that beg to be read, but I cannot not read continually about the ongoing farce, complete with clowns in costume, that is American political culture.
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