If only we could tell ourselves that this video of Sarah Palin's going away speech, of which I believe there were about 12, would be the last time we'd be subjected to her punctuation free, stream-of-consciousness, Mad Lib-meets-Esperanto oratory. Every word of her farewell makes it clear just how amazing the McCain/RNC speechwriters must be to have been to make her sound like a semiliterate human being during her primetime Convention speech. Their efforts were ripped straight from the pages of Great Expectations.

My first question is, why was this given live all-networks coverage? If anyone can point out the news value in giving an admitted self-promoting shill who is now a private citizen live coverage to sell her crap about why she quit (For Alaska! So selfless of her!) I'd love to hear it. Second, why are we still talking about Sarah Palin? This goes far, far beyond beating a dead horse at this point. Then it hit me, as I drifted into altered states of consciousness during her rambling exercise in luring the English language into her windowless van and fingering it. It's our fault. Not "we" as in the American public. Left-wingers. The media are pouring gas on this trainwreck because they think we enjoy watching it burn.

We have to look at Palin on TV for the same reason that the Bravo network plays Showgirls regularly; because our kind are absolutely addicted to sarcasm. Palin exists as a media entity at this point not because anyone takes her seriously and not because her kamikaze run for the White House is going everywhere (The RNC is sitting around thinking "You know what Americans want? Someone who is dumb as a bag of doorknobs and dangerously erratic!"). She is an attempt by the news networks to rope in cynical, smart-assed 24 year olds. She is the Snakes on a Plane of political figures.

She's not going away because she is useful to Tina Fey and Letterman. She's not going away because we desperately want to see her run in 2012 so that, unless Obama starts huffing glue on camera, the election will be a non-starter. She's not going away because she's a complete rube who got a little taste of Manhattan shopping sprees and doesn't want to let go. I am blaming the victims, in essence. It's our fault that we have to watch this shit.

Our love of snark and camp creates perverse incentives. When I rent You Got Served to make fun of it, it encourages the studio to make more. When we all rush to YouTube to view and mock "My Humps" it increases the notoriety of the "artists" who make such crap. I think a good deal of caution is required here. Not only does the continued attention encourage her, it plays directly into the plan that her handlers and the RNC have been operating under since Day One: winning sympathy. The idea of throwing an adorable puppy into a shark tank and making none-too-bright Americans teary-eyed watching it get ripped to shreds is not a new one. History tells us that she is so badly damaged at this point that she can't be taken seriously as a candidate, but why push the envelope? A good strategy at this point, now that she holds no elected office, is to ignore her entirely until she does something newsworthy. Which is to say until she announces her candidacy for 2012.

10 thoughts on “BEHOLD, A DEAD HORSE”

  • oh, I dunno. I'm not tempted to watch any of the scenes you mentioned – particularly the animal one – including any of Palin's speeches. As for actual car wrecks I happen to pass, maybe. And I'm willing to state there are as many like me as the "we's and "us"s you cite.

  • OliverWendelHolmslice says:

    Am I the only one who would definitely buy a Sarah Palin edition of Mad Libs? That just seems like a capitalist bonanza.

  • What is really amusing ( and kinda sad on another level) is watching the conservatives I know foam at the mouth at the, as they percieve it, outrageous treatment the " liberal MSM" has given Palin's family. " They went after her family!", they wail. " Family should be off- limits!" When I point out that the MSM gleefully looks into any candidate's past- McCain's tax problems, Obama's parents, etc. it doesn't register. FOX has been working overtime to manufacture Palin into a saint, martyred by the evil liberal media for being a "real" American ( wish someone on FOX would tell me what that was).
    Don't know why she chose to burn her political bridges- don't care, either. She can become an author of incomprehensible political screeds, have a show on FOX, or coach high school hockey. Just as long as this incredibly shallow and amazingly incompetent tool leaves public office. We barely survived 8 years of idiocracy- 4 more, and this nation is going to end up a province of China.
    BTW, another amusing thing is the way the despised liberal, with his or her latte drinking, weak- kneed and gaycommunistislamoatheistantiamerican ways always seems to be ultimately invincible in conservative eyes. How do they do it?

  • I read this piece and nodded slowly. I think that Palin is like Clinton or Nixon–someone who is secretly loved more by her opponents as a source of endless self-congratulation at the flaws of another, than by her supporters who, public posturing aside, have got to be a little displeased at her gaffes. (Hence the vehemence with which they claim they're *not* gaffes. Ever.) I plead guilty.

    There've been admonishments, from both sides, that her down-and-outness is not an insuperable barrier to later office, at which point they inevitably cite Nixon's loss in California. I always want to say: Palin and Nixon–you're comparing apples and…I don't know, salamanders. Palin is someone who's renowned for being uninformed and for having an easy way with a public appearance–an empty-lockered populist. Nixon was the exact opposite. Say what they might about Dick, no one ever said "That guy's a fucking moron." Nor "I just love the guy–he's so *winning.*" Palin can't do what Nixon did because A. she's pissed off the party machine he used to ride into office, and B. her virtues (the "common touch") have been soiled by Bush's terrible legacy. I just don't see a resurgence.

    Joke'll be on me, though, won't it, when once again, H.L. Mencken's view of Americans is proved right, and she wins.

  • "If only we could tell ourselves that this video of Sarah Palin’s going away speech, of which I believe there were about 12, would be the last time we’d be subjected to her punctuation free, stream-of-consciousness, Mad Lib-meets-Esperanto oratory…her rambling exercise in luring the English language into her windowless van and fingering it."

    Oh, dear god, best laugh I've had all day!

  • I agree. Why do we still give her air time. The only reason I care is that I keep being annoyed by that woman's presence in the media. Who the hell cares about her?

  • I dunno, Ed. Seems to me she's popular for the same reason Rush and Fox news are – there's a way of appealing to people who are some mixture of naive, ignorant, uneducated, incapable of critical thought, seething with unfocused anger (that then gets focused at commie, pinko LIBRULZ), authoritatian followers, and/or just plain stupid.

    For a fleeting instant, people took non-Joe the non-Plumber seriously, too.

    I think blaming us on the left for the idiocy of the other team is really granting ourselves way too much importance. We couldn't even keep Bush from a second term after everybody in the God-damned universe had 4 years to see what he wasn't.

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