AM just sent me this article from U.S. News and World Reports about a new book on Sarah Palin.
Palin Book: Feminists Jealous of Sarah’s Rise
By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Talk about timing. With former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin readying the release of her own 432-page campaign tell-all, Going Rogue: An American Life, now would be the perfect time to pop out another Palin book, and that’s exactly what Weekly Standard‘s Matthew Continetti has done with The Persecution of Sarah Palin.
With his 226-page defense of Palin and slap-down of the media coverage she has faced since being selected by Sen. John McCain as his 2008 veep, Continetti is likely to ride the next wave of Palin frenzy that will accompany her book release set for November 17. If you like Palin, it’s a good read. If you don’t, well, check it to see what the other side thinks of the potential 2012 presidential candidate. We won’t review it here because Whispers just received the book earlier today. But here are some highlights:
— The press, duh, didn’t like Palin and didn’t fact-check all of its stories on her. Worse, writes Continetti, the press had it out for Palin because she didn’t fit the image of an Ivy League-educated national candidate, just as former President George W. Bush didn’t. “The left recoils at a certain swagger, a manner of speech, and a lack of cultural embarrassment that the two share. Neither Bush nor Palin mind the fact that they are not part of this country’s cognoscenti. But until Palin showed up, one could have written off the liberal reaction to Bush as simply anti-Texan bias. That wasn’t it, however. Palin proved that at its root the reaction to these folksy Western politicians is a form of anti-provincialism; revulsion toward people who do not aspire to adopt the norms, values, politics and attitudes of the Eastern cultural elite,” he writes.
— McCain’s aides messed up her debut and campaign. First, the book says that the McCain press office had no biographical information ready when Palin was picked. Not only had the campaign not done its homework to defend Palin, but it wasn’t prepared for the media backlash. In their defense, aides note that had the campaign flooded the state with officials snooping for info on their veep pick, McCain’s surprise would have been ruined. Continetti does cite some press tactics that worked, such as the anti-Obama “Celebrity” ad.
— Liberal-leaning feminists, especially comic Tina Fey, the 30 Rock star who portrayed Palin on Saturday Night Live, were jealous of Palin. “Palin’s sudden global fame rankled those feminists whose own path to glory had been difficult. To them, Palin was less a female success story than she was the beneficiary of male chauvinism,” writes Continetti. He holds out Fey and her TV character for special criticism. “It was telling that Fey should be the actress who impersonated Palin. The two women may look like each other, but they could not be more dissimilar. Each exemplifies a different category of feminism. Palin comes from the I-can-do-it-all school. She is professionally successful, has been married for more than 20 years, and has a large and (from all outward appearances) happy family. And while Fey is also pretty, married, and has a daughter, the characters she portrays in films like Mean Girls and Baby Mama, and in television shows like 30 Rock, are hard-pressed eggheads who give up personal fulfillment—e.g., marriage and motherhood—in the pursuit of professional success,” he writes. “On 30 Rock, Fey, who is also the show’s chief writer and executive producer, plays Liz Lemon, a television comedy writer modeled on herself. Liz Lemon is smart, funny, and at the top of her field. But she fails elsewhere. None of her relationships with men works out. She wants desperately to raise a child but can find neither the time nor the means to marry or adopt. Lemon makes you laugh, for sure. But you also would be hard pressed to name a more unhappy person on American TV.”
So let me get this straight. This guy is comparing the real Sarah Palin to the fictional character of Liz Lemon and suggests that Tina Fey’s impersonation of Palin was due to jealously that the fictional Liz Lemon – not the real Tina Fey, who, you know, has a husband, and a daughter, and a thriving career – has about being single, childless, and struggling to succeed in show business. Is that right? Is that what he’s saying? Because that’s crazy. And now my head hurts.
Sarah Palin does add some positives to the feminist dialectic, I think. (And I realize I might be alone here.) She’s seemingly doing it all – she has a husband, kids, a career, was governor, and knows her way around a rifle. Oh, and she looks damn good while doing all of it.
Now, I’m not saying I want to shoot animals or anything, but she does present a very important vision of a woman into the world – she’s a mom and she shoots things. I like contradiction (to a point), and I like the idea that women can do whatever they want (that doesn’t break the law, of course). So, again, while I don’t want to shoot anything, I like the image.
But the problem with Sarah Palin is not with the choices she made as a woman or with the woman she is. The problem with her, to me, is two-fold.
First, in many ways, the problem stops and starts with her brand of politics. She is an ultraconservative. This brand of politics wants to further entrench traditionalism, a system that has been incredibly unfavorable to women for generations. A woman can be a wife and a mother and be a feminist. But what Palin seems to want to do is advocate the necessity of the traditional family – and all the traditional roles that go along with it, roles that necessarily have negative connotations for women – for all of us while allowing herself an escape from the confines of that reality. I don’t like the hypocrisy of that.
Second, Palin embraces mediocrity. By this, I mean, to Palin, a C average not only earns you a “Good Job!”, it’s what everyone should strive for. Because if you’re not folksy, you’re not real. If you’re not “average”, you’re an elitist. If you are well read or knowledgeable of the world, you just can’t relate to average Americans.
This is what kills me about her. Because in my brand of feminism, you can be a wife and a mother and a professional and an avid hunter and maybe even be anti-abortion. You can be pretty and wear make-up and be a fashionista and like boys (or girls) and do all those things. But what you simply can’t be is someone who prides herself on mediocrity. Not only is that not a way I want to live, it’s not the way I want any woman to live, and it is surely not the way I want the future generations of girls to be brought up. We, as women, as a collective, simply cannot tolerate the perpetuating of women dumbing themselves down just to be liked. Sure, you can like me because I’m funny, but not because I’m dumb.
Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe my biggest problem with Sarah Palin is that she’s not funny. Or, at the very least, I don’t get her jokes. Like AT ALL. And let’s be honest, if you’re not funny, there’s no chance I’m going to like you.