We have largely forgotten how George W. Bush basically made our country look like Kearney from The Simpsons in the eyes of the world. We have largely forgotten that Dick Cheney was probably at best a war profiteer, and possibly at worst an advance man from some parallel dimension where people have evolved beyond the nuisance of morality. We have totally forgotten that Bill Clinton penetrated an intern with a cigar in the Oval Office, and that he and his wife, our nation’s current Secretary of State, were investigated for what might or might not have been shady real-estate dealings.
We can’t even remember what Paris Hilton looks like.
In six weeks, we will forget that Toyota imperiled thousands of lives by manufacturing and installing faulty automotive parts. In six months, the earthquake in Haiti will have been replaced by a more recent and equally forgotten far-off tragedy.
We are Americans. We are blessed with the shortest attention spans and the most constantly inward-turning tendencies toward self-absorption that birthrights and exposure to jump-cut culture can buy.
So why, oh why, in the name of all that is normal and expected and short-term and disposable, are we still talking about Sarah Palin?
(This is different. This isn’t talking about Sarah Palin, this is talking about talking about Sarah Palin. Different.)
Is it because she accepted a large sum of money in exchange for speaking in front of a group of people who believe the same things she says she does, and who would all be Libertarians if they thought for a second there was any real power in it? That’s what failed politicians do–get paid to preach to the converted about past and future glories.
Is it because she might or might not have read crib-notes off her hand during the aforementioned speaking engagement? Who cares? Such accusations only compliment the former governor of Alaska with reading skills her tweets do not imply.
Is it because she constantly says ridiculous things? These days, that seems to be the prerogative of every single person who gets a camera pointed at him or her, and isn’t a professional performer.
(The president is excepted for membership in the aforementioned group.)
Is it just because she managed to keep a giant iceberg with, like, 15 people on it from catching fire for three years? Seriously, is being the youngest person and first woman to be elected governor of Alaska that monumental an achievement? People don’t move to Alaska to get the sort of hands-on big-government intrusion they didn’t find in Massachusetts; I imagine the best way to get elected governor in Alaska is to promise the people all the guns, dynamite and silence they want, then shut up and maybe become known for some sort of prize-winning jerky.
I guess I just don’t understand why, given our treasured slash-and-burn tradition regarding news, Sarah Palin is still afforded such a bright media spotlight. She just seems too obviously out of her depth to be either a martyr for the right or a serious problem for the left. And anyone who seriously thinks she’ll appear anywhere on the 2012 presidential ticket is shrooming.
So, please, people, let’s move along, shall we? There’s nothing to see here.
I think what makes Sarah Palin is the way she wraps the media around her little finger–a little like Paris Hilton–in an apparently endless feedback loop, with the media ending up hypnotized by its own power, in a vacuum of meaning.
I like your mix of mythology and technology, Narcissus being the original feedback loop, yes? But what does that say about the media? Have we reached the point where the medium is more enamored of itself than the message? I’ve thought so for a long time, but what’s the general consensus?