A truncated version of the following was published in the December 7th issue of the UVU Review; you can read it here.
I know this is sort of fish in a barrel (moose in a tundra?), but hey, do what the editor asks.
Former Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin will be offering her artificial version of homespun, folky pseudoideology at Costco on December 9th to promote her new, probably ghost-written book, adorably entitled Going Rogue. For the sake of disclosure, I have not nor do I plan to read Mrs. Palin’s book. Some may say that this invalidates me from being able to offer an educated opinion about its “author.” To one extent or another, this is not inaccurate; however, I have never drunk a curdled glass of half-and-half, but I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t feel good after doing so, either.
Utah is a staunchly politically conservative state. This is not a secret, nor is it necessarily a negative thing. There are certainly drawbacks to living in a subculture wherein a dominant ideology is omnipresent in both government and society at large; if you agree with the ideology, your views remain unchallenged, but if you disagree with the ideology, you’re instantly fighting an uphill battle. Palin, who became the most valid face (and body) of the contemporary American conservative movement through her nomination as the Republican vice presidential candidate, will find an easy home run with a conservative Utah audience. But should she?
In a word, no. She should not. Palin’s public image and identity is defined not by what she is, but by what she is not. She is not a man, she is not a feminist, she did not terminate her pregnancy when she learned the child had Down’s Syndrome, she did not build the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” (which itself would have existed in a state of absence), she did not finish her college degree at a single institution (she attended four different universities before graduating from the University of Idaho with a degree, fittingly, in communications), she was not elected to the office of vice president, she did not finish her term as governor, and I cannot imagine that she was actually the sole contributor to her new supposed “non-fiction” book that accused her of being the author.
So why is this woman, who is about as qualified for any political office as the moose that she so proudly slaughters (although not nearly as hot), even being validated by our cultural attention? Why are we encouraging her to go on by acknowledging her presence in our state, let alone in our national consciousness? I, by writing this, am clearly as guilty of this as anyone, but what is this fascination that so many of us have with this odd representation of a political party that is quickly regressing itself into irrelevance? What makes her worth discussing?
I think that the fear of a strong woman is a large part of why we hear more about Palin than we do, say, Hilary Clinton. I am no fan of Clinton either personally or politically, but she does have a law degree, a long history of civil service, a great deal of executive governmental experience, and is currently operating under the radar as our Secretary of State. Clinton, however, is demonized for not being feminine enough and for cuckolding herself to the considerable libido of her husband. But we turn our heads from Palin, who has become a minstrel show of feminism, a woman who embraces and aggrandizes the subjugation by a political system dominated by two parties full of white men afraid of a threat to the status quo.
What’s clearly more important, though, is that we all ignore Palin’s signing. I’m still not sure why it’s at a place better known for selling toilet paper and frozen pizza in bulk than, you know, a book store, but when you remember that a great deal of people paid hard-earned cash during a recession for a book ostensibly “by” this Hot Librarian beacon of nothingness, a lot of things stop making sense.
But if you do go, pick me up a gargantuan jug of salsa for this chip on my shoulder.