Monday, February 21, 2011

Disasta' From Alaska

Disasta’ From Alaska

In the world of pop culture, it is the case, more often than not, to see an undeserving drama queen capture the attention of a large portion of the population. Pandering to less intelligent and less reasonable notions that we all share is an effective route, and I would assert that renegades like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan have exploited this. These misguided women have a perpetual sense of entitlement everywhere they go, even when out at bars. Excuse me. That was supposed to read, “behind bars.” While many divas and diva-dudes discover their spotlights in tabloids and viral internet sex-tapes, (viral as in popular, I’m not a doctor) there are those who venture into less glamorous realms. My favorite of these seemingly mavericky people is of course Sarah Palin. No, the beloved ex-governor from Alaska didn’t come from the ranks of Ms. Hilton or Ms. Lohan, but her popularity does similarly come into question.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Sarah Palin grew from obscurity, captivating a nation with her small town charm, if such a term may be applied. There is something to be said about charm. It worked for Barack Obama, but in his case, there was a bit more substance to his character. You know… knowledge of things outside quaint Alaska, things that are more pertinent to a political discourse. How then is it that Sarah Palin could amass such a large and passionate following?

I thought it would help my understanding of the phenomenon that is Palin if I were to listen to her book Going Rogue on audio book while doing sketches illustrating Palin’s rise to fame. After a grueling nine hours, I came away with a new view of Palin, and I began to make heads or tails of what drew people to her. Throughout the book, Sarah makes biblical references and constantly praises God for just about anything. I have no quarrel with her as a religious person; I admire that kind of conviction. However, it’s easy to see how her Christian faith completely shapes her political views. If I want to listen to a sermon for nine hours, as a general rule, I don’t turn on CSPAN, yet that is not the case for many on the religious right. Religion--and all the political ideologies that tend to come with it--was perhaps the first aspect to suck people into Going Rogue.

Another appeal might have been her good looks and MILF persona. As far as I know, there isn’t a sex tape of Palin circling the internet, but there’s a plethora of creatively titled adult films involving the Palin name. Some have a pretty good look-a-like… or so I’ve heard. I’m not one to judge, but if looks alone have garnered any of your support for Palin, you and I are no longer friends.

Palin’s lowest form of pandering came as nonsensical attacks on Barack Obama. She wasn’t too proud to stoop to question the validity of his birth certificate, accusing Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists” and eventually that whole socialist witch-hunt. It kind of makes you think back to McCarthyism—only this time it’s a little less intense and a lot more what-the-hell-can-she-really-be-serious. I can’t say Mrs. Palin would have been wily enough to come up with the socialist accusations on her own; she had plenty of help from talking heads like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly. Yes, I know, Rush is a radio “entertainer”, but I just pictured him as a floating, talking head, and it made me chuckle.

The one thing that the afore mentioned trio and--through some imbecilic form of the trickle-down effect--Sarah Palin do particularly well is fear mongering. Was Barack Obama born in the United States? Of course he was, and how that fact was ever seriously questioned is beyond me. Is Obama Muslim? Well, apparently 20% of the population seems to think so, but with any research beyond FOX News, you can easily find out that he’s a Christian. And the big-ticket item: is Barack Obama a socialist? Well, you get the picture. This sort of defamation keeps Palin supporters chomping at the bit and, as was evident in the last midterm election, may be contagious. Better grab some more Purell and maybe some bleach, I think someone breathed hot air on my shirt. Granted, the latest Presidential election results stemmed around much more complex issues, it’s been Palin’s boisterous, drunk chick at a party, volume that has indeed left its lasting mark.

While Sarah Palin is somehow maintaining the spotlight for now, I can’t see her endurance lasting too long. When I start to get concerned about the popularity of Palin, I just say to myself, “Self, Sarah ‘The Maverick Diva Who Went Rogue’ Palin will most likely make some sort of run for the Presidency by 2012.” And I think even her most devout followers and I could share the sentiment that President Palin are two words that should never be spoken together. Ever.

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