Sunday, August 31, 2008

MoDo on Sarah Palin

It's Sunday. That means the week's first installment of the Tragedy of Maureen Dowd is on display.

Bob Somerby always says that our national press corps works from scripts. Scripts as in novels. MoDo's continuing psychological disintegration gives us a glimpse of how the process works. Or, at least a bizarre image of how it works. In Vice in Go-Go Boots? New York Times 08/31/08, MoDo turns what's left of her mind to Sarah Palin:

The guilty pleasure I miss most when I’m out slogging on the campaign trail is the chance to sprawl on the chaise and watch a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick.

So imagine my delight, my absolute astonishment, when the hokey chick flick came out on the trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it's hard to believe it's not premiering on Lifetime. Instead of going home and watching "Miss Congeniality" with Sandra Bullock, I get to stay here and watch "Miss Congeniality" with Sarah Palin.

Sheer heaven.
MoDo's latest set of symptoms is on graphic display in the remainder of the column, as well.


MoDo doesn't seem nearly as alarmed about Republicans on anything as she is about Democrats. Though her inability to focus on empirical reality in preference to the voices she hears in her head is similar for both. But her wild anxiety about anything that violates the gender roles that a girl like MoDo learned growing up in a culturally conservative Roman Catholic home in the 1950s and 1960s does flare when she contemplates the woman newly prominent in national politics. The column, by Dowd standards, isn't hostile to Palin, however disturbing it may be to readers of comparative sanity. She's mainly obsessing about how Palin is more of a man than girlie Obama in her own view of the world.

To the extent there's are concepts here that somehow resemble corresponding entities in the real world, MoDo says: Palin is Cinderella and Miss Congeniality; she's "cute" and "cool" (just like girlie Obama); she's not black like Barack and Michelle Obama; she's a "fun, bantamweight" cheerleader; she's a "babe", Modo says, quoting Rush Limbaugh with apparently approval; Palin's undergraduate minor in political science and her stint as a sportscaster are much more impressive than Obama's academic accomplishments; Palin "was tougher on the basketball court than the ethereal Obama" (remember MoDo only fact-checks with the voices in her head); she was once nicknamed Sarah Barracuda (see previous fact-check caution); she is "a blind date with history"; McCain's pick of Palin is "refreshingly cynical" (cynicism is refreshing in MoDo's symptoms today); Palin became a hero when "she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old evolution thing" (no hint of irony that I detect); she is "spunky" and "relentlessly quirky", "a zealot" but "a fun zealot" (at least for columnists with disintegrating personalities who couldn't care less about women's right to choose); and, she wears "go-go boots"

Oh, and much to the approval of MoDo's symptoms, Palin "has a beehive and sexy shoes, and the day she’s named she goes shopping with McCain in Ohio for a cheerleader outfit for her daughter." (See caution on fact-checking)

How MoDo sees female politicians

MoDo's symptoms, as usual, don't even pretend to care what actually happens with public policy after the election. If she even realizes that any of this stuff is actually taking place outside the novel being recited by the voices in her head. The voices tell MoDo:

The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. "Back off, Commie dude," she says. "I’m a much better shot than Cheney."
The voices apparently are unaware that the Communists ceased running Russia over a decade and a half ago.

Referring to the vast history of female Vice Presidential picks (now totalling two), MoDo asks parenthetically, "Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It's a little insulting." Why she thinks Palin's choice is more of a "Hail Mary pass" than an impulsive decision by an egotistical man old beyond his years -and not in a good way - I wouldn't even begin to guess.

But it's not hard to guess what happens to a democracy when the leading lights of the "quality" press have major pundits who twice weekly write gibberish that a rural weekly would find too embarrassing and unprofessional to publish. Before you know it, we'll have a partisan Supreme Court selecting the President, who will then proceed to rule without regard to the law or the Constitution.

More info at Memorandum

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