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Sarah Palin’s America

[ 27 ] January 21, 2011 |

Some amusing nastiness from James Wolcott, on the development of the next hit reality TV show, tentatively entitled Reality.

Like soul brother Beck, Sarah Palin has moonshot herself into a zero-gravity zone that is beyond parody, where brazen self-caricature takes on the bold outlines of cartoon stardom and nothing she does perturbs her fan base. They have adopted her as their mommy savior and the ridicule and criticism she receives only endear her more to the faithful, proof of how much she gets under liberals’ prickly skin. With each new iteration of herself (tweeter, best-selling author, Fox News political analyst, Facebook avenger), Palin becomes more of an infotainment fembot, an irresistible force impervious to the political rules that hamstring lesser phonies. Had Al Gore or John Kerry made the gaffe Palin made over the Korean conflict (“Obviously, we have got to stand with our North Korean allies”), it would have been pin-the-tail-on-their-donkey-butts for weeks, whereas for Palin it’s just another dot in the pointillism of her ongoing cavalcade. Palin’s worst enemies have never been David Letterman, the “lamestream media,” or Katie Couric but her own insatiability for attention, a narcissism with no Off button or volume knob.

Wolcott cites David Seaton for the interesting idea that the bug-eyed craziness of Beck et. al., is a (conscious?) strategy on the part of the Lords of Capital:

A blogger named David Seaton provided the keenest insight into the tactical superiority of Beck’s home-brewed surrealism. “To understand what Beck is doing, to understand him, you must suspend your capacity for rational thought and just let the emotions wash over you and try to take note of them as they assault your endocrine system,” Seaton wrote. As America enters the downward slope of empire—its debt mounting, the disparity between wealthy and poor continuing to chasm, the environmental ravages becoming irreversible, high unemployment becoming the cruel norm—the Richie Riches have a vested interest in misdirecting people by blaming the powerless for the sins of the powerful. Incoherence isn’t a bug in Beck’s software program, it’s the primary directive. Seaton: “That is what the Tea Party, Fox, etc is all about: keeping people from thinking straight. The idea is to play on people’s emotions: fear, hate, racism, xenophobia, just to keep them from doing the math. The Teabaggers, Beck, [Gingrich] and Fox [News] are often criticized for not making any sense This is not a failure of communication or an error on their part That is the object of the exercise: to make rational thought difficult or impossible due to emotional overload.”

As is so often the case in this postmodern world, what was once satire is now sociology:

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O’Brien’s heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out ‘Swine! Swine! Swine!’ and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein’s nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic

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Comments (27)

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  1. WrongfulDeath says:

    Fun Stuff!

    The only reason the liberal/socialist academic types are talking about these people is they are wildly popular….and of course, the VOTERS ARE JUST STUPID and need the gentle guiding hand of people like Scott, Paul and Dave to guide them to make ‘right’ decisions.

    Let’s be real, here. These people are popular because they reflect, not direct, the popular feeling of this administration’s subjects. Few take them head on and discuss issues. I’m not sure how productive that would be for Paul.

  2. WrongfulDeath says:

    I listen and I’m here to learn. It’s very interesting to me to see how liberals handle and explain the world around them. I don’t get these viewpoints on hard right conservative blogs.

    But because I don’t always agree with Scott/Paul/Dave et al, I expect to be shut out at some point even though I have been discussing the issues brought up. No tolerance for diversity of thought.

    It seems to be standard operating procedure. Don’t engage, just try to shut down any opposing views. I won’t be surprised when it happens and neither should anyone else.

    • dave says:

      The thing is, if you don’t think that Glenn Beck is an incoherent clown, and Sarah Palin a monstrous politico-religious grifter, then you are, prima facie, pretty dam’ stupid. If, further, you actually buy into their mixture of racist, occasionally antisemitic, conspiratorial hoodoo, then you’re not just stupid, you’re nasty, too.

      The only reason to take these people seriously is that they’re dangerous, which means taking them seriously the way one takes a wild animal, or a virus, seriously, not the way one takes a rational political interlocutor seriously – because, time and again, they show by their own words and deeds that that’s not what they are. You can’t debate someone who’s so detached from reality that they are, in the canonical phrase, not even wrong.

    • DocAmazing says:

      Ah. This is an interesting blend: it swirls together the “you’re intolerant of my intolerance” distraction with the “your failure to respond to my cloud of micro-points indicates that you have no argument” dodge, then drizzles that mixture over the classic “but what about that?” troll standby.

      Someone interested in engaging wouldn’t bother with the transparent fiction of not having gotten opinions from hard-right blogs (you use their phrases whole, WrongfulDeath; you should at least wipe your shoes if you don’t want people to think you’ve been walking in the mud) nor would they lead off with “I expect you to ignore me”, as that is a bald attempt at a sympathy play.

      If you’ve got an argument, make it.

      Oh, and it helps if you’ve kept up on current events: the Lott reference in the previous thread was just embarrassing.

      • Uncle Kvetch says:

        This is an interesting blend: it swirls together the “you’re intolerant of my intolerance” distraction with the “your failure to respond to my cloud of micro-points indicates that you have no argument” dodge, then drizzles that mixture over the classic “but what about that?” troll standby.

        DocAmazing: noted connoisseur of fine whines.

        • John Protevi says:

          An excellent taxonomy, Doc! Must be your medical training!

          I’m waiting for the Lofty Tone Farewell, with a little Jab at the Elitists, and False Jocularity (“Well, it’s been instructive to see how stereotyped and predictable your answers have been. But unlike you libtards, I have to work for a living. it’s been fun, and I appreciate the dialogue.”)

          Followed of course by the Return in Five Minutes to Resume Trolling!

    • Brian says:

      If you are “shut out” of the debate, it will be because you consistently use “facts” to support your arguments that have been widely discredited. After your climate change and gun control twofer of the last few days, I’m looking forward to what’s going to complete the trifecta of dishonest (or, more charitably, misguided) thought.

      • c u n d gulag says:

        Brian,
        Real ‘fact’s’ are myths, they have their own numbers, remember?
        No fact, no empirical evidence, no statistics, nothing, will sway them from what they “believe.”
        Real thought requires reading, judging, and weighing facts, and they are incapable of that. Belief trumps all.
        ‘The planet isn’t warming, it’s cooling, because it snowed today.’
        Tax cuts for the rich trickle down and create jobs,’ and myriad of other lies and works of political fiction they create to confuse the stupid, or as they’re known – their base.

        I’ve given up on trying to ration with them.

        You may as well try to explain Quantum Physicis to a Bible Scholar, or String Theory to a Klansman.
        They’ll see only what they want to see, if they see anything at all.

    • Jeremy says:

      “I don’t get these viewpoints on hard right conservative blogs.”

      “No tolerance for diversity of thought.”

      Uh-huh.

    • mpowell says:

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Do you think LGM is going to ban you for being stupid? Do you actually have evidence of them doing that? Generally speaking, this blog doesn’t get enough exposure to make banning necessary for a readable comment section. But if you expect people to continue to ‘engage’ with you if nothing you say is anything but nonsense, well, sorry. That’s not really worth anyone’s time. And if you want to claim off-handedly that we don’t tolerate diversity of thought like it’s a fact… well you’ll understand that you won’t get a very friendly reception for coming in here and insulting everyone that way. It’s like if you started calling everyone a fuckhead, would you actually expect them to ‘engage’ with your ideas?

    • hv says:

      $100 to the other person’s favorite charity says that you quit this blog before anyone bans you or fails to engage with any serious arguments you raise.

      Or were you just whining?

      We don’t mind if you are a troll, but skip the whines. Also, the pre-whines. Ewwww.

  3. In other words, Beck is re-running “IT’S THEM DAMN N!GGERS/JEWS/IMMIGRANTS FAULT!”

    Um … we kinda knew that.

  4. Jon H says:

    What’s the difference between Sarah Palin and Jersey Shore’s JWOWW?

    JWOWW finished college with a skill.

  5. Pooh says:

    Seaton’s point mirrors one I’ve been making (in my darker moments) for years, that the whole freakshow/cable news/controversy of the day thing is a feature designed to keep the “thinking rubes” occupied while the looting continues apace.

  6. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gustaf Erikson and Sandy , paulbeard. paulbeard said: Incoherence isn’t a bug in Beck’s software program, it's the primary function. http://bit.ly/fgNT4c | what was once satire is now sociology? [...]

  7. Davis X. Machina says:

    As Dave C. pointed out at Balloon Juice, Palin isn’t trolling a message board, or a blog’s comments — she’s trolling an entire country….

    Gotta give her some points for sheer scale.

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