Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin Comparison

SPIVEY
Well, it's a well-run campaign, midget'n broom'n whatnot.
ECKARD
Devil his due.
SPIVEY
Helluva awgazation.
JUNIOR
Say, I gotten idee.
ECKARD
What sat, Junior?
JUNIOR
We could hire us a little fella even smaller'n Stokes's.
Pappy whips at him with his hat.
PAPPY
Y'ignorant slope-shouldered sack a guts! Why we'd look like a buncha satchel-ass Johnnie Come-Latelies braggin' on our own midget! Don't matter how stumpy! And that's the g**damn problem right there - people think this Stokes got fresh ideas, he's oh coorant and we the past.
--O Brother Where Art Thou?

Wikipedia and Google are working overtime this holiday weekend. I refuse to go there, just yet (well, once to find the proper pronunciation so I can go with my own cheesy play-on-name title). It's enough that few of us knew who this person was until a few hours ago. That seems to be the issue here, though I suspect it will quickly cycle through the weekend news programs before they settle in, running the same few video loops over, and over, and over, searing some absurd image into our brains to God-knows-what effect; parsing down to absurdity the always overestimated electoral implications, desperately trying to factor in the tangibles of hairstyle and eye wear, speaking tenor and pitch, etc.


Everyone who is anyone seems by now in agreement that the presidency and thus the vice presidency should be about personality and perception, because that's what television media is calibrated to deliver. The resemblance of political news to celebrity news has gone beyond deliberate to become unavoidable. Soon there will be no dividing line, and the non-telegenic will be barred from public service as if bound by physical deformity. We are now into our second and third generations of television journalists who deliberately feed the public superficial pulp; they are no longer capable of making the distinction themselves. This might explain their bemusement and occasional outrage at the blogs. Journalists don't ask tough questions of leaders because they don't want to get the public started. We could start asking tough questions of them.


Any contrarian voice against this order of things is probably the sort of eccentric character that still talks of enumerated constitutional powers and congressional declarations of war. Cut to Chris Matthews assessing how the new gal looks cradling an AR-15. At moments coverage may resemble fetishistic soft-core guns & girls pornography. This is the zeitgeist. We really deserve whatever deprivations come at this point.


As when George H.W. Bush chose the ill-prepared Dan Quayle (doing him no real favor in the process), John McCain has demonstrated a disdain for the office he covets and disregard for what might become of it, and the nation, in his absence. The process by which a VP pick is decided upon must resemble that much-parodied one by which film producers pitch to executives ("it's 'The Godfather' meets 'Driving Miss Daisy' "): "we need to counter the other studio's, er, party's historical drama...it's The Vagina Monologues meets Deadliest Catch." At least Chris Matthews can swoon over a woman for a change.

Whatever may come, none can say it's either unwarranted or surprising.

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