$150,000 gulf between Palin fans and the rest of us
Update: Don Surber explains that the $150,000 is a reasonable amount to spend, because women require so much more work to be allowed to leave their homes, presumably because women are just nastier than men au natural and have to be expensively detoxed before men can associate with us. Women, of course, are out of control bitches if we suggest, as I might, that the amount of pride that Surber takes in his lack of personal hygiene makes me feel pity for anyone who encounters him when he emerges from his basement. It’s this sort of thing, by the way, that might just be a factor in the intensely annoyed emotions that a lot of women are feeling about this Palin thing.
Sorry I’ve been out all day. Working on more video stuff, but am here and ready to blog. Jesse already wrote a definitive blog post on the debacle over the media discovery that the McCain campaign has, in 10 weeks, purchased Sarah Palin a brand new wardrobe and has spent $150,000 overall on making her look good, so that Bill Bennett can accuse all the women in the country who find her offensive of wishing we too could have Bill Bennett think dirty thoughts about us. (Please don’t throw me in that briar patch, Bill! Please don’t think feminism makes women too ugly for sexual attention from the likes of yourself!) I have no idea how this news will be received, because I don’t think most people understand the value of money once you’re talking huge sums, and so maybe the news won’t hit home. But really, that’s a lot of money to spend on clothes. Probably not to the McCain family, but I’ll bet it is to Sarah Palin.
For most people, therefore, it’s going to be annoying to repulsive. But to the rabid Palin fan base that’s emerged, it’s probably just going to be further evidence that they’re living the dream through her. Getting $150,000 to spend at Saks and Neiman Marcus on clothes is like going on “What Not To Wear” and getting a whole new wardrobe, except you get 30 times as much money and you don’t have people make fun of the clothes you picked for yourself to your face. You do have to go on “Saturday Night Live” and called a good sport. The entire appeal of that show is the fantasy that it could be you. Imagine what people who project themselves onto Palin are thinking. Probably putting together the paperwork to run for dogcatcher of their small towns with hopes that the Republican party feels the need for more down home appeal in another 4 years. One thing the appeal of Palin has confirmed is that the shallow but energizing drama of reality TV shows and the shallow but energizing drama of evangelical Christianity draw the same audience.
Women don’t like Sarah Palin, it turns out. I mean, some do, but as a rule less than men (and men don’t exactly love her as a group). I’d like to say it’s mostly the issues, but while I think that’s most of it, it’s clear that a lot of women dislike Palin on a visceral level that intensifies their dislike of her. And it’s probably for the same reason that Texas liberals want to shit a brick when George Bush yee-haws his way through press conferences. He’s playing up a demeaning stereotype to appeal to someone else’s fantasies so they let him off the hook for what he’s really saying. Palin just reminds one of those women who play up being dumb and cute to make women who insist on having their intelligence respected look threatening. If that card is played right, such women can benefit from men (at least sexist men) defending them, though of course the high status you get from being dumb and cute depends pretty much entirely on your ability to be a tool to bash threatening women with. Without other women to contrast you with, you then become the object of scorn yourself. Escaping misogyny by playing along is not an option.
Unsurprisingly, right wing pundits are taking the bait, and using Palin as a tool to bash feminism with, and frankly putting feminism up as a voting issue, as if you can just vote it out of existence by voting for McCain/Palin. I think, though, that these tactics are being deployed in a media environment where the concept of what a woman can be and what she can be motivated by has changed rapidly in just a few years. In the past, when right wingers carried on about harridan feminists who picked on sweet little right wing women who fulfill your fantasies, said feminists were also a fantasy—few had a real face or name to the public that would provide decent counter to the accusation. But now the evil feminists being accused of jealousy by Bill Bennett and others are women like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, who certainly can’t be accused of having such shallow motivations. And hell, those feminists are Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who’ve made Sarah Palin a massive target of their biting satire, and they can’t be accused of being dried up harridans who are taking out their own manless and childless frustrations on our political environment. Hell, one of the pleasures of seeing a very pregnant Poehler rip into Palin on “SNL” was that her body silently rebuked the accusations being peddled out on right wing talk radio day in and day out, that feminists are these inhuman beasts who hate Palin because she’s not in the avoid-motherhood-through-frequent-abortion club that many right wingers seem to believe in, despite the utter lack of evidence for such a club.
By the way, “MILF Island” is a fake show from real show “30 Rock”, if you don’t get the reference at the top of the page.