I basically agree with Melissa about the most recent Vanity Fair profile of Sarah Palin, which is almost as devoid of content as the last one. If you were feeling really charitable you could say that in this particular case the obsession with trivia was a more important factor than sexism. Certainly male politicians — including Bill Cinton, Al Gore, and John Edwards — have been the targets of similar hatchet jobs, although I do think it’s true that women are more likely to be attacked for their child-rearing or for showing anger around their staff. But whatever role of sexism per se — and I think it’s pretty evident in the article’s focus — the anecdote about Piper being used for an applause line gives away the show. The way modern political campiagns use children as campaign props might be distasteful, but as a criticism of any individual politician it’s about as devastating as pointing out a politician dressing more formally in public than they do puttering around the house.
What’s especially frustrating about this is that there most certainly is a good long negative profile to be written about Palin for a general audience. Calling her followers to “refudiate” tolerance and religious freedom in lower Manhattan is just the latest example of her being an extremely pernicious public figure, and her claims about her accomplishments and stands have been mostly lies and half-truths from the beginning. An article that detailed this type of information in a high-circulation monthly would be useful. An article that discusses her low tips to bellboys, twitter ghostwriters, and the similarity of a the nickname of a supporter’s blog to an adult swinger’s site haha — not so much.