Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sarah Palin - Proving She's Queen of the Zinger

Yesterday I rented up Sara Palin's new book America by Heart from the library. I just couldn't help myself. I've promised myself I'm going to read it with an open mind. With that in mind, I offer up the following:

We all know Mrs. Palin has an absolute gift for distributing zingers. Like, say, at the Republican Convention where we were introduced to her and she offered up this one:

Before I became governor of Alaska I was mayor of my home town. I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer except you have actual responsibilities.

Youch, that one stung. Or this one from a few days ago:

Where are the s'mores ingredients? This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.

Not quite as potent as the zinger above, but still, a pretty strong jab at the First Lady. And of course there have been many between those two examples.

Quick test - how many pages in do you think you need to go in Palin's new book before you get to her zinging someone?

The answer: 0.

That's right, on the very first page she manages to come out with a real gem:

[She opens the book by talking about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - a touching film about an outsider making a difference in Washington, DC]

Most of all, it's a movie about the timeless truths of American handed down to us from our forefathers and foremothers.

[Wait for it...wait for it...]

In other words, it's a movie Hollywood would never make today.

Bam! She goes on to explain about Hollywood:

No doubt, most of today's Hollywood hotshots think movies like Mr. Smith are sappy and uncool, foolish sentimentalism about a country they seem to prefer to run down rather than build up. During the Iraq War, Hollywood produced a whole slew of movies that portrayed the United States as motivated by vengeance and oil, with the troops as mindless pawns.

Yeah, so there!

I used to think I was bothered by these comments because they came across so mean spirited. But if I'm honest with myself, when one of my guys lands a juicy one, is my first thought that it's being mean? Of course not.

No, my problem with statements like these is that they just don't hold up under thoughtful examination.

Consider the first comment. When Sarah Palin resigned her position as Governor of Alaska, one of her explanations was as follows:

She said leaving office is in the best interest of the state and will allow her to more effectively advocate for issues of importance to her, including energy independence and national security.

Essentially, she left job as Governor so she could do a more important job: be a community organizer (albeit one of a more virtual community). Yes, just a few months earlier, she was mocking community organizers, and now she is one (and does a great job of it too).

As for her comment to Michelle Obama - try flipping it around. Imagine Palin was advocating for a serious childhood condition that affects 1 in 3 children. Do you think Michelle Obama mocking her for doing this would have been appropriate? Of course not. Michelle would have been branded as cruel and ignorant.

And the Hollywood comment, I'm just not sure what the heck she's talking about. Which movies is she referring to? When I think about serious Hollywood movies about war, I think about Saving Private Ryan or The Hurt Locker. Sure, these movies aren't pro war - but I'd say they capture the hell that war is, and the valor of our troops serve with. How would she like war portrayed?

And what does she mean by "run down versus build up" our country? Sure, many in Hollywood lean to the left - maybe very far to the left. But does that mean they want to tear down their country? Of course not. You may not agree with their methods for making this country a better place, but surely you can at least agree they're trying to do something to that end?

I get that she's good at delivering these lines. And I get that these lines make perfect sound bites and Twitter chatter. But I for one, hope that I find out she's more than just a zinger factory in this book. I'm really hoping that along with these clever one liners there are actually nuanced thought content.

As you can imagine, I'll be reporting my findings.


  1. Keith Blackman12:34 PM

    Really good post, Ben.  Just to add to the irony -- when Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was released in 1939, it was widely attacked by politicians as anti-American and pro-Communist, due to its depiction of corruption in the Senate.  Now Pain cites it as the protypical pro-American movie, supposedly hated by the left wing.

    Anyway, I liked the movie, and think it's probably better than any of the apparent multitude of films portraying US troops as mindless pawns (BTW, she's clearly referring to the Van Damme/Dolph Lundgren classic -- and ivory-tower-elitist-communist-socialist-liberal staple -- "Universal Soldier")

  2. Thanks Keith - That is a delicious piece of irony!