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Grizzly Gidget Goes to the White House?

Exactly why is Sarah Palin's appearance on the Republican ticket so appalling?

by Marleen S. Barr
September 17, 2008

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Grizzly Gidget Goes to the White House?
Exactly why is Sarah Palin's appearance on the Republican ticket so appalling? It is not due to her lack of experience. Many people are more qualified to be president than Barack Obama. Nor is it due to Hillary Clinton's hard work resulting in the ascendancy of a woman whose political positions are anathema to her. Conservative women are certainly entitled to be conservative. McCain's assumption that Hillary's supporters would vote for any woman merely because she is a woman is not entirely to blame either. Patriarchy has negated women's subjectivity for a very long time. McCain's choice is outrageous because Palin lacks gravitas to a ludicrous extent which, if it were not so serious and downright frightening, would be laughable.

I did laugh at first. When I heard a Republican operative tell a CNN reporter that Palin's experience as Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard qualifies her to be the Commander-in-Chief, I laughed so hard I almost fell off the sofa. Cindy McCain's assertion that Palin is internationally experienced because Alaska is near to Russia defies credulity. Her point is more akin to the humor in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming than to Putin's decision to invade Georgia. I grew up in Forest Hills, Queens near the storied tennis stadium. Would Ms. McCain argue that this proximity would make Venus Williams shake in her Nikes if I took a tennis racket in hand? Bear with me if I carry this line of thought a little further. Would Palin state that I am qualified to be the Secretary General of the United Nations because I can see the Secretariat Building from my Manhattan apartment window? Has the United States become anti-intellectual to the extent that no one emphasizes that Obama's Columbia University BA and his degree from Harvard Law School are more prestigious than Palin's graduation from the University of Idaho?

The Colbert Report and The Daily Show writers could not generate political fiction which is more beyond the pale than the real Palin reality show circus. This circus is stranger than fiction and combines reality with fiction. Palin's "Alaska" is unreal real estate analogous to a juxtaposed Peyton Place and Dog Patch. The drama surrounding her is so National Inquirer. As we are all aware, before Bristol Palin's pregnancy was revealed, people wondered if Bristol was really the mother of the governor's baby. Throughout the frenzied attention to who in fact gave birth to the child, I longed to return to the old comforting Lewinsky scandal.

All reasonable people accept the fact that in order to be taken seriously it is necessary to adhere to certain social rules. You cannot, for example, be hired for a high powered position if you are attired in ratty sweat pants. In this vein, I argue that no serious person names her sons Track and Trig. Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the National Public Radio Car Talk guys, call themselves Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers. Although I have never met her, I automatically assume that Mrs. Magliozzi had more sense than to name her sons Click and Clack. There is a limit to crossing the line between show business attention getting absurdity and serious reality. Michael Jackson can name is child Blanket and Frank Zappa can name his child Dweezle. But someone who wants to command respect does not do so by naming her sons Track and Trig. (I dare Palin to justify her self indulgent frivolity gone wild choice by pointing out that Track rhymes with Barack.)

Teddy Roosevelt's hunting penchant aside, I just cannot abide someone who has a stuffed bear corpse in her office. A poor dead bear positioned as an office decoration smacks of The Beverly Hillbillies protagonist Granny Clampett inviting folks to eat vittles and swim in the cement pond. John Kennedy famously said that he was the man who accompanied the elegant and culturally sophisticated Jackie Kennedy to Paris. I wonder if Palin plans to undertake a state visit to Paris accompanied by her bear corpse. She has already said "yup, yup" in answer to the question of whether she is ready to become Vice President. "Yup yup," no appropriate parlance for an elected official, sounds like "gid-ee-yap" directed toward sled dogs.

Palin's "yup yup" can only be answered by calling her potential election to the political big time a big time "no no." Grizzly Gidget simply cannot go to the White House; it is the Hawaiian who emanates from Kansas and Kenya who has the right stuff to see us through this precarious economic time in a manner devoid of ludicrous frivolity. Sarah Palin's presence on the Republican ticket is nothing short of the biggest insult to women which has ever taken place in the history of the United States of America. Because she is a Dominionist, a radical Talibanesque Christian group which believes in replacing the Constitution with theocracy, she poses the greatest threat from within to American democracy the country has ever known. Dominionism is worse than McCarthyism. As a scholar of feminist speculative fiction, I know that Palin could make the dystopian vision Margaret Atwood imagined in The Handmaid's Tale real. The Handmaid's Tale is worse than what Maureen Dowd calls Bush World. Sarah Palin is worse than George W. Bush.

Palin's version of combining Peyton Place and Dog Patch is patently not funny. But hope could be on the way in a manner congruent with the most famous Shakespearean stage direction which appears in The Winter's Tale: "Exit, pursued by a bear." American voters can make Palin jump right back into her snow mobile, exit the national stage, and return to pursuing defenseless animals. We tried stupidity for eight years; it didn't work. Now is the time for the electorate to be smart enough not to permit Palin to turn her personal winter's tale into a handmaid's tale nuclear winter for us all.

Comments (4)


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Clarifier from Virginia writes:
September 18, 2008
Let me see if I have this right: you don't like Sarah Palin because she speaks casually, hunts, is a Christian, and gave her children creative names? I wonder if the corrupt Republicans she replaced in Alaska felt she didn't have enough gravitas. I don't think they're laughing now.

Ruth from Oregon writes:
September 24, 2008
When Senator McCain named Governor Palin as his running mate, I was thrilled. At the same time, I wondered how my political counterparts on the liberal side of things were taking this news. Thanks for clearing up that little mystery for me.

It's always been sad to me that people believe so little in their candidate that they are willing to engage in criticism of the most trivial matters of an opponent. It is writing such as yours that reveals the truth of so-called "feminists." That is, they're not on the side of women at all.

Thivai from Lexington, KY writes:
September 25, 2008
Marleen,

I appreciated your commentary and thank you for introducing me to Partial Observer.

I agree Palin's religious views/associations are threatening to open-minded progressives, that she "could" be worse than Bush (as difficult as that may be to imagine), and that she most likely wouldn't mind instituting a theocracy that would resemble The Handmaid's Tale.

However, I must object to some of your equally outlandish questions in your commentary:

"Has the United States become anti-intellectual to the extent that no one emphasizes that Obama's Columbia University BA and his degree from Harvard Law School are more prestigious than Palin's graduation from the University of Idaho?"

Is this how intelligent people judge the quality/character of a person these days. Oh, you went to Columbia, you must be better than that hick Bob that went to U of Idaho.

"no serious person names her sons Track and Trig."

This reminded me of a reactionary, soon-to-retire professor who did the convocation for new PhD students at Illinois State University when I started my degree there. He told us that any person who

1) had a tatoo/piercing that was visible 2) put a political sign in their yard or on their car 3) or named their kids with strange confusing names

was not worthy of any intelligent person's respect.

"Michael Jackson can name is child Blanket and Frank Zappa can name his child Dweezle. But someone who wants to command respect does not do so by naming her sons Track and Trig."

Actually, I think Frank Zappa was a brilliant musician, an intelligent critic, and was one of the most impressive speakers I ever saw address a congressional hearing (he was called before congress as an expert witness to testify about the proposal to regulate the content of the music industry). His naming his kids Dweezil and Moon Unit does nothing to take away from that. Has anyone explored the science fictional qualities of much of his music? You probably also didn't like Funkadelic/Parliament because they mention "poo" in their music, which is sad because they are also brilliant, intelligent musicians. You demonstrate a serious gap in your knowledge in regards to the purpose of challenging social standards and conventions (I'm not trying to say Palin is doing this, far from it, but your equating Zappa with Jackson/Palin is ridiculous). You come off somewhat reactionary along the lines of the reactionary conservative pundits and politicians Zappa debated in the 80s (google Zappa debate)

"Teddy Roosevelt's hunting penchant aside, I just cannot abide someone who has a stuffed bear corpse in her office. A poor dead bear positioned as an office decoration smacks of The Beverly Hillbillies protagonist Granny Clampett inviting folks to eat vittles and swim in the cement pond."

Why do you feel it necessary to engage the gross stereotype of the Beverly Hillbillies (perceived by some as offensively negative on the level of ethnic slurs)? Ironically, the stories always prove in-the-end that they are much more intelligent than the so-called intellectuals who make fun of them. Perhaps you might not want to engage with this cultural stereotype, because, on one hand, you offend many progressive people who have grown up in the Appalachian region, and, on the other hand, you speak to the reactionary people who think that those same people are country bumpkins (do you think this?).




Please do not think that these are PC rantings, instead I seek justifiable critiques of this ridiculous candidate that are supported by legitimate critiques of her inadequate qualifications and her dangerous beliefs.

Only forty more days (approximately)

Thivai


ELM from 98801 writes:
September 30, 2008
Cheers to the writer that sees the light amidst the fog!!! Excellent portrayal of Sarah Palin!!! McCain's choice for vice president validates concerns about his impaired judgement. McCain's feeble tissue-paper thin attempt to influence voters by canceling out of the presidential debate cause he was so needed in Washington was a pathetic political ploy. One that fell flat and reasonable people and reporters saw through. McCain wants to appear as an influencial figure in matters of a crash? Like asking the fox who stole the chickens? McCain blows smoke and tells tall tales but his past is not so savory; at home, abroad or in the Senate. John was deeply entwined and entenched in the Keating Five Scam, crash of Savings and Loan and those indictments. Now, expects us to forget and believe he can to lead us out and into the promised land. John pretends to be the Savior. Either John has an overinflated ego, has lost it, is plain stupid or takes us all for fools. Cindy McCain's history is not so savory either. Neither is Sarah Palins. Administering some truth serum to the TRIO would prove very interesting!

Where voter apathy exists, liars, cheats and thieves reign. It is vital that unsavory well recorded pasts (not rumors) ~ not be ignored or glossed over. Have no doubt, neither John McCain or Sarah Palin are fit to answer the red phone at 3AM. If a president's health gives out, the VP becomes Commander-in-Chief. Palin is a female Dick Cheney. McCain voted 90% of the time with Bush.

The only intelligent thing for America's voters to do ~~ is to learn from the PAST. One's past is the best predictor of the FUTURE!!!!! America's future depends on concientious voting!!! And, why I wholeheartedly support Obama/Biden.

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