Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin in the public "I"

It's amazing to this blogger that when folks get in the "public eye" (be they celebrities, politicians, or some poor schmuck that does something that makes the evening news) all of a sudden every Tom, Dick, and Jane feel like they know the public person intimately and feel qualified to judge them and opine on everything from their clothes, to their looks, to their parenting skills, and even their worth as a human being. Most of this based on the flimsiest of information (a headline or two, a tall story, a rumor that they heard, something that someone told them, and on and on...) and backed by their preconceptions and prejudices.


Swing by the Huff Post and see that Sarah Palin is a bad mother. Revel in the unholy glee being taken in the fact that that her (unmarried) daughter is pregnant. See how this morphs into a policy issue - surely proof positive that 'abstinence only' programs never work (bzzt, a non-sequitor); proof that Palin doesn't give her daughter a choice and, simultaneously, proof that Palin gives her daughter a choice that she withholds from poorer, less fortunate women (not exactly sure how these two can be true at the same time, but consistency and logic don't matter, especially when it gives critics two attacks for the price of one); and so on...

Karl Rove says something negative so it must be true and his quote brandished as an "aha, gotcha" - forget that for the last eight years the exact same people who now quote him approvingly have reviled him as a lying scumbag (which incidentally he is - Ed. note)

Throw in some sexual innuendo... (e.g. see #5 and #9 - she's a woman isn't she); something inconsequential (#3 - who actually gives a hoot what Diddy has to say); toss in a suggestion of scrofulous behavior (#7); and finally some gratuitous ridicule (#6, #8). Stir, mix, decant, and throw at target (at least some should stick!)

Various HuffPo headlines from a single visit:

1. Palin Downplays Mayoral Experience That McCain Touts: "It's Not Rocket Science, It's $6M And 53 Employees
2. Rove: Palin "Not A Governing Decision But A Campaign Decision"
3. Diddy Goes Off On McCain For Picking Palin: 'Are There Even Black People In Alaska?'
4. Sarah Palin increased operating budget by 27 percent over two years
5. John McCain's Casting Couch
6. Palin's Family Provides Photo Of Her In 'Busty' T-Shirt
7. Sarah Palin Has Chosen to Exploit Her Own Daughter's Pregnancy!
8. Anyone Can Become President
9. Fox News Rides Sarah Palin To Ratings Victory

Some of this spills over into the "mainstream press." This makes it a "story" so it's OK to ask for a reaction, a clarification, or even to go so far as to insist on proof that the allegation is untrue. Obama/Biden supporters go crazy, the campaign keeps at a distance for plausible deniability, after letting this roil a number of days Senator Obama quietly makes a high-minded statement somewhere then gets quiet again while supporters a) laud his high-minded, principled stand as proof positive of his superiority, b) while continuing the exact same behaviors unabated. This is what is known as "win - win."

Wow! This is a nation where overwhelming majorities of people tell pollsters that they believe in God, read the Holy Bible and believe it is the inerrant word of God, go to church regularly, etc., etc., all while breaking the Ten Commandments, breaking the "golden rule", looking for motes in the eyes of others while ignoring the beams in their own, judging, etc., etc. Perhaps this blogger should have titled this post "The Pharisees among us." All in all, a very unedifying spectacle... More often than not people's reactions say more about themselves than they do about the subject at hand (hence the "I" in the post title).

Note: just for background, this blogger is agnostic. He also thinks that while John McCain heroically endured torture and terrible treatment in Vietnam, that does not make him a hero for all time, and in fact that the glow wore off ten to fifteen years ago. So, this blogger is not a McCain partisan, the above is just a reaction to the sad and unedifying spectacle that is the reaction to the Palin choice!