Friday, January 7, 2011

The Unreality of 'Sarah Palin's Alaska' -- UPDATED!

Nick Jans, an Alaskan writer and outdoorsman, has written an intereresting article, "What Palin's show says about us," which states, in part:

... Those of us who've actually lived off the land are less than impressed by Palin's televised exploits and, more important, by what they tell us about her. Tentative, physically inept, and betraying an even more awkward unfamiliarity with the land and lifestyle that's supposedly her birthright, Palin deconstructs her own myth before our eyes. ...

... From the opening credits, Palin's not actually leading, as the show's stirring theme song (Follow Me There) suggests. Instead, she's tucked far under the wings of professional guides, friends, or family members — in a curious subtext, almost all males.

They instruct and coddle her along, at one point literally hauling Palin uphill on the end of a rope. ...

And The Anchorage Daily News' "Always on the hunt, Palin shown what to do," by Paul Jenkins, elaborates on the idea of Sarah Palin as frontierswoman front woman:

... But the story is in the story. All but Dowd seemed to miss the boatload of delicious allegory about Palin's life and politics wrapped up in the [hunting] episode. It was Palin on the hunt; on the hunt always. First, it was small-town politicos in Wasilla who befriended her, then GOP Chief Randy Ruedrich, then Frank Murkowski, who appointed her to a cushy job, and finally, a shot at Barack Obama. Older white men carrying her guns, loading them and handing them to her, advising her, telling her when to shoot, showing her how to do the job. Letting them do the work. Out of her element. Indoor girl in an outdoor world. Missed shot after missed shot after missed shot. Blaming someone or something else when it all goes south. Killing a scrawny little caribou to sell the image. Jumping the ship of state after only two disinterested, unengaged years, going for something bigger. Out of her element. Peddling the lie. The mama grizzly. Sarah the Sniper.

Jenkins' article uses the words disinterested and unengaged to describe Palin while she was governor. Was she governor in name only? Who made the decisions while she was governor?

Jenkins' article appeared about the time that Alaska Dispatch's "Palin's record vs. Palin's Facebook" appeared, which is concerned with the discrepancies between Palin's record and what she has since claimed she did as governor. An explanation of those discrepancies could simply be that she doesn't know what she did, because someone else acted as behind-the-scenes governor.

Maureen Dowd's column, mentioned by Jenkins, is here.

Update: Andrew Sullivan wrote (more than) a few words about the USA Today article and noticed that where it appeared (USA Today) is important. Sullivan's title is "Levi's Vindication: The Self-Exposure Of Sarah Palin."

My co-blogger, snowbilly, wrote "It Was Fact-checked," which surmised that because one critical part of Levi Johnston's Vanity Fair story, "Me and Mrs. Palin," was clearly fact-checked all of it must have been fact-checked.

Sullivan's point is different than mine -- that Sarah Palin may have been Governor of Alaska in name only -- but is a valid point, nonetheless. Jans' article (and Jenkins' (and Dowd's)) are a rich source of insights into who Sarah Palin was (or wasn't).

By the way, Jans' point, although he deconstructed Sarah Palin's myth, is that many politicians strive to create a narrative, or myth. Remember George Bush? Clearing brush in Crawford, TX? Well, as soon as he left the White House, George got out of Dodge Crawford and moved to Dallas. He was really a city-slicker at heart. And didn't the Reagans (Remember the wood chopper? At the ranch?) really live in Pacific Palisades, CA? Sarah Palin's myth is, in some respects, easy pickins, but someone like Jans, who has articulated something we "know," so that we really do know it, is worthy of our praise. When a politician's myth gets busted, he or she will soon exit the stage.

The delicious irony of it all is, as Jans wrote, "Palin deconstructs her own myth before our eyes." She's done herself in.


Joie Vouet said...

Interestingly, palingates has awakened from its slumber and made a rambling post about Jans' article. Their post may be pleasing to either palin-bots or antipalin-bots. When will they admit that their cash cow, Sarah Palin, is finished? They seem to be striving to keep her going.

That's right 'bots: send your money to palingates, just like the 'bots who send theirs to Sarah's PAC and legal defense fund.

And if a "professional researcher" and "german attorney" won't show you their credentials, you're entitled to a refund.

Did you know that Andrew Sullivan has a troubled soul? Palingates: "Even Andrew Sullivan’s troubled soul is soothed by Sarah Palin’s self-destructive behaviour."

Jesse Cornish is a An Impotent Weirdo said...

As a long-standing Palin hysteric, I have to confess a mite less concern in 2011 than at any time since she has been farcically commanding the attention of the political class.

The allusion to Sullivan's "troubled soul" is clearly a tongue in cheek reference to his self-identified angst about her status as an obvious potential front runner to secure the 2012 Republic nomination and not an attempt at psychological and/or spiritual diagnosis.

And while I suspect you know that, why let logic infringe upon your rather bizarre fixation?

snowbilly said...

Interesting post ...

After thinking about it some more, could it be that the other characters in Levi's Vanity Fair story were contacted during the fact checking but declined to comment?

If so, I suppose that is their [the Palins'] problem.

snowbilly said...

I've checked my dead-tree copy of Vanity Fair. Meghan McCain's pushback is all there is. Nowhere do they mention that anyone else was contacted and pushed back, so I am assuming, assuming that the fact-check was thorough, that someone from the Palin camp confirmed Levi's story.

If you want to search the online version, the editorial remarks are in square brackets, so search for ']'.

Joie Vouet said...

Jesse as ..., You seem to have the typical palingates vocabulary -- check you profile -- like "Wasyphilis." Didn't that originate at palingates? Bandit Brasheert? A "friend of the blog?"

Actually, Jesse, being generous, it's a grammatical error. Didn't they mean to refer to Levi Johnston's "troubled soul?" In any case, it's doubtful that either Levi or Andrew have troubled souls.

Jesse Cornish is a An Impotent Weirdo said...

How and/or why is that relevant? Two-thirds as your 15 subscribers comment at Palingates on a regular basis.

I object to selective outrage; hence, my disesteem with your obsessive, if not omnipresent, fixation on the failings or excesses of one site to the exclusion of others.

Joie Vouet said...

Jesse as ..., I am quite relieved that you recognize that palingates has "failings" and "excesses." I'd write about other bad blogs, but I haven't found any.

There are actually more than 15 "subscribers" to the blog. Aren't you only looking at the "Followers" on the left sidebar? Your "research" is incomplete :) And -- sob -- there are far fewer "subscribers" than readers.

Be gone, troll!

snowbilly said...

Joie, your new "fan" sure likes to read the blog. Last night at 18:46 she found a smoking gun. Did she (he? it?) look at the screencaps? 32 page loads later, she quit for the night, but came back today for another 25.

You might try some front-page palingates exposés. There is even more damning info.

Joie Vouet said...

That's evil, snowbilly :)

I was content with a little payback, but, you know, they might learn about real "research" and spend their days poring over the site. They might even get the idea that there is a conspiracy against them and play "victim," just like Sarah Palin! They would call us "lamestream," too!