Still More Paglia On Palin

Camille's back:

"How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World."

(Illustration by Terry Shoffner)

Au Revoir, Sarah

"NEW PARIS, Pa. — Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska was swiftly working the rope line Friday at an apple orchard in southwestern Pennsylvania when she met a supporter who brought her to an abrupt stop.

Amber Brown, 23, held a poster that read: “I have Down syndrome and I’m voting for you. I’m a fighter too!”

Seeing Ms. Brown, Ms. Palin wrapped her in a tight hug.

“I love that poster,” she said. “You’re a fighter and you’re beautiful.”

Then Ms. Palin hugged her again. Before climbing back on her campaign bus, she circled back to Ms. Brown and hugged her a third time."

No matter how you feel about her politics and her values, she is not going to go away anytime soon -- unless she chooses to do so.

Anyone with her ability to connect viscerally with so many people on a national stage would find it difficult -- if not impossible -- to walk away from all the opportunities that will come her way.

It will be most interesting to see what choices she makes about her future as a public person outside of Alaska. This excerpt from today's New York Times account of her return to Alaska contains a glimpse into what might be her future:

"Last week, after Senator Ted Stevens was convicted on federal charges that he failed to disclose gifts and free home renovations he received, Ms. Palin joined Mr. McCain and other top Republicans in calling for him to resign. Yet while Ms. Palin lost her bid for the vice presidency, Mr. Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, holds a narrow lead in his bid for a seventh full term.

Asked Wednesday whether she still believed that Mr. Stevens should resign, Ms. Palin was circumspect, saying only that the people of Alaska "just spoke" on the issue at the ballot box and that "they want him as their senator." She said Mr. Stevens should decide "what happens next." (Mr. Stevens could still be forced to step down, and Ms. Palin is widely viewed as a potential candidate for his seat if he does.)"

Men Being Sheep

On this last weekend before Election Day 2008, it's worth noting that men have been showing up in large numbers at McCain rallies featuring Sarah Palin.

I don't think McCain, Obama or Biden (or Hilary Clinton, for that matter) ever had so many guys in the front row at one of their rallies. It has looked (and sounded, according to reports) at times like Saturday night at the Bada Bing.

So if "White Men" really were a major target for the Republican strategists, the Palin choice seems to have been an inspired one. Whether the sheep vote -- and in what numbers -- is another thing altogether.

(Reuters photo from a rally in Pennsylvania in October)

Remember $400 Haircuts?

If you've been worried about a major for your college-age kid, maybe he or she should seriously consider becoming a makeup artist or hair stylist -- so long as after graduation, they can network into the world of Cindy McCain and the senior advisers to her husband's presidential campaign.

Today's New York Times highlights (sorry) the $22,800 paid to Sarah Palin's makeup artist (who was recommended to her by Mrs McCain) for two week's worth of services. There was a separate payment of $10,000 to another person for two weeks of hair styling services.

It seems like it wasn't so long ago that John Edwards was severely criticized for the cost of his haircut.

I guess the cost of everything has just gone way up.

"Such A Shy, Sweet Girl"

“I kind of worried about how she would do up there on stage,” Ms. Osborne said. “You have to have a certain go-get-’em to get up there and stand up for yourself, and she came across as such a shy, sweet girl.”

Even if she and John McCain lose the election on November 4, I don't see Sarah Palin disappearing from the public eye anytime soon unless she chooses to.

I've been in Memphis Tennessee for the past few days, and I have noticed that whenever a McCain ad shows up on television, it's Sarah Palin doing the talking and getting the face time. John McCain has been reduced to a quick-cut in his own campaign ads.

Her performance last week on Saturday Night Live was very impressive, to the point where some television executives must have been thinking that she could have her own show if and when she wanted it. She's one of those people who understands how to use the medium to connect with people, even those who don't like her

More Paglia on Palin

"The next phase of feminism must circle back and reappropriate the ancient persona of the mother — without losing career ambition or power of assertion. Betty Friedan, who had first attacked the cult of postwar domesticity, had long warned second-wave feminists such as Gloria Steinem about the damaging exclusion of homemakers from their value system. The animus of liberal feminists toward religion must also end (I am speaking as an atheist). Feminism must reexamine all of its assumptions, including its death grip on abortion, if it wishes to survive.

The hysterical emotionalism and eruptions of amoral malice at the arrival of Sarah Palin exposed the weaknesses and limitations of current feminism. But I am convinced that Palin’s bracing mix of male and female voices, as well as her grounding in frontier grit and audacity, will prove to be a galvanizing influence on aspiring Democratic women politicians too, from the municipal level on up. Palin has shown a brand-new way of defining female ambition — without losing femininity, spontaneity or humor. She’s no pre-programmed wonk of the backstage Hillary Clinton school; she’s pugnacious and self-created, the product of no educational or political elite — which is why her outsider style has been so hard for media lemmings to comprehend. And by the way, I think Tina Fey’s witty impersonations of Palin have been fabulous. But while Fey has nailed Palin’s cadences and charm, she can’t capture the energy, which is a force of nature."

Some more reflections on Sarah Palin from Camille Paglia

Don't Misunderestimate Sarah Palin

"Repeating a stump speech is harder in a nationally televised debate, though, when moderators such as Thursday night's Gewn Ifill of PBS are likely to bore in and demand fuller explanations. Any apparent unfamiliarity with a topic also will prove problematic, and a glaring factual mistake will be difficult to overcome.

But Gov. Palin's telegenic gifts could help neutralize some shortcomings. Ms. Casey, the public-radio reporter, credits Gov. Palin's training as a TV sportscaster for her ability to connect with a broadcast audience at home.

In her debates during the 2006 campaign, Ms. Palin would often thank the reporters serving as debate moderators -- invariably addressing them by their first names, and adding a compliment for their insightful questions. She would then turn immediately to the camera to speak directly to a home audience.

"Like a sportscaster, she's learned to be good at dropping the g's, and relating to the viewer as a fan," Ms. Casey explains. "You know: 'It's a big game this weekend and it's gonna be tough. But we're all in this together.'"

I hope that Joe Biden doesn't fail to study her history in debates; we all know what happens when you fail to study history...


We were watching an episode of "Mad Men" last night and Gail, commenting on one of the characters, exclaimed "Updo!"

A few weeks ago, I spotted a sign in the window of a hair salon in Cambridge that read "Updos," and asked Gail what that meant. She explained it to me, but it wasn’t until a couple of days later, when Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, that I really got the concept.

This photo from today's New York Times of her recent "briefing" by Henry Kissinger interweaves the style (and bad memories) of the 1960s with 2008.

And Henry The K looks like he's just had a little bit of a Jill St. John flashback

Paglia on Palin

Camille Paglia on Sarah Palin (click on title for more):

"Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist."

"As a dissident feminist, I have been arguing since my arrival on the scene nearly 20 years ago that young American women aspiring to political power should be studying military history rather than taking women's studies courses, with their rote agenda of never-ending grievances. I have repeatedly said that the politician who came closest in my view to the persona of the first woman president was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose steady nerves in crisis were demonstrated when she came to national attention after the mayor and a gay supervisor were murdered in their City Hall offices in San Francisco."

"Feinstein, with her deep knowledge of military matters, has true gravitas and knows how to shrewdly thrust and parry with pesky TV interviewers. But her style is reserved, discreet, mandarin. The gun-toting Sarah Palin is like Annie Oakley, a brash ambassador from America's pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the Western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the Civil War -- long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal woman suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men did -- which is why men could regard them as equals, unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the Eastern seaboard, which fought granting women the vote right to the bitter end."

"It is certainly premature to predict how the Palin saga will go. I may not agree a jot with her about basic principles, but I have immensely enjoyed Palin's boffo performances at her debut and at the Republican convention, where she astonishingly dealt with multiple technical malfunctions without missing a beat. A feminism that cannot admire the bravura under high pressure of the first woman governor of a frontier state isn't worth a warm bucket of spit."

Change Agents

"For the first time since 1952, the party holding the White House has nominated someone other than the sitting president or vice president, someone without a vested interest in running on continuity, and at a moment when the party finds it difficult to defend its record from the last eight years.

But as a matter of history, it is easier to run as the opposition party if you actually are the opposition party."

"She gave a tough vice presidential speech, with maybe a few more jabs than necessary. Still it was stupendous to see a young woman emerge from nowhere to give a smart and assertive speech.

And what was most impressive was her speech’s freshness. Her words flowed directly from her life experience, her poise and mannerisms from her town and its conversations. She left behind most of the standard tropes of Republican rhetoric (compare her text to the others) and skated over abortion and the social issues. There wasn’t even any tired, old Reagan nostalgia.

Instead, her language resonated more of supermarket aisle than the megachurch pulpit. More than the men on the tickets, she embodies the spirit of the moment: impatient, fed up, tough-minded, but ironical. Even in attack, she projected the cheerfulness of someone confident about the future.

In those 40 minutes, the forces of reform Republicanism took control, at least for a time."
(Click on the title for the full texts from yesterday's New York Times)


Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Sarah Palin said in her acceptance speech last night that the only difference between a pit bull and Sarah Palin the Hockey Mom is lipstick. (Click on the title to watch the speech)

So that would mean the only difference between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin is…lipstick.

I don’t know how he feels about lipstick on his pit bulls, but I’ll bet Michael Vick will be watching the debate between the candidates for Vice President.