Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sarah Palin: Thin-Skinned Cretin, or How I Get Banished From Message Boards

Groucho Marx once said he wouldn't belong to any club that would have him as a member. When I took part in such things on a more regular basis, I got thrown off a lot of message boards, discussion lists, forums. It isn't that I'm particulary mean or unfair. I just have a low tolerance for stupidity and a poor track record of holding my tongue when confronted with some of the more extreme manifestations of it. I should probably know better, for example, than to go into a forum full of fellows who openly lust after Sarah Palin, to the point of posting lots of photoshopped images of the Alaskan governor's head transposed on to the nude bodies of porn stars for wanking purposes. I should know better. And I should definitely know better than to go there and post one of my modest, reasonable estimations of said governor's intellectual capabilities in the wake of her public fight with yet another comedian. But I did it anyway. And--big surprise--it was deleted by the Palin fan who runs the joint and who characterized it as inflammatory, while he replaced it with yet another of those much more respectable threads devoted to Sarah porn (to which no one could possibly object).

Such is life. I've sort of adopted an informal zero-tolerance policy toward this sort of thing, so I won't be back to that particular board and I suppose I can add it to the list of clubs from which I have, in effect, been excluded. Here, for posterity, is the post that did the deed:

I know it must be difficult to be as cretinous an imbecile as Sarah Palin. She's forever trapped in a world she can't understand. The simplest things appear to her to be great, unsolvable mysteries. That is no bar to success in the Republican party though, and she's made very clear she has ambitions. Can't she at least hire some handlers who, if incapable of explaining the facts of life to such a dullard, could at least tell her to stop when she's embarrassing herself so badly in public?

That's what she did during the election and that's all she's done since. Her interview with Katie Couric last year became a nationwide story when, asked what news sources she read, Palin was incapable of naming a single one. As bad as that is, she's then spent the last year whining about it, lying about it (describing it as a "gotcha' question") and trashing Couric personally. She dumped on Tina Fey for Fey's dead-on caricature of her on Saturday Night Live. She explained that she was a victim of these people, exploited by them. She's whined about her press coverage! A few weeks ago, she jumped into a public fracas with the father of her grandchild. Then, she became involved in a stupid public dust-up over a Republican fundraiser in Washington. And now, she's back to whining about yet another comedian, this time David Letterman.[*] Even after it was clear she was just embarrassing herself further, she kept right on, dragging the matter out for more than a week. In an attempt to diffuse the situation, Letterman has even apologized. Twice. In response, Palin issued a statement that sounds like some government press release from a Third World dictatorship, praising the brave American soldiers who defend the right of someone like Letterman to make jokes.

That last is interesting in another way, as Palin set forth her own, um... unique view of "free speech" during the campaign, when she said that press criticism of her amounted to an attack on her right to free speech.

It's one of the cardinal rules of politics that, when you want to pick a public fight, pick it with someone bigger than yourself. Palin has chosen a reporter, a teenager, and some comedians. Since she was picked by McCain in a vain, misguided effort to attract Hillary Clinton voters, Palin has been as incredibly popular with the Republican base as she has been a consistent embarrassment to them, their party and U.S. politics in general. Is this really what the Republican party has come to? Is this what American politics have come to?



[*] And contrary to her claims, the joke wasn't even aimed at Palin's family. It was aimed at Alex Rodriguez. Palin falsely asserted it was aimed at her 14-year-old daughter, who, in reality, hadn't even been mentioned, and went around telling the press Letterman was a dirty old man making jokes about the sexual exploitation of underage girls.

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