Monday, February 9, 2009

SEXIST BEATDOWN: Now With Extra Palin!

Ladies, gentlemen: the Internet is a wondrous place. It can, for example, allow you to speak with people you like! It can deliver to you big chunky nuggets of Palin, for your consumption! It can totally break down and make Sexist Beatdown a little bit late, sorry.

However! It has arrived! THE SINGLE GREATEST AND MOST CULTURALLY RELEVANT CROSS-BLOGGING INTERNET EVENT OF ALL TIME, in which the insanely brilliant Amanda Hess of The Sexist and I speak about the ladybusiness of the day, has returned. In this installment: Sarah Palin still exists! And gets interviewed by Esquire! We shall therefore navigate the Proverbs of Palin, and determine whether or not they make any sense. (Spoiler: hahahahaha, Sarah Palin making sense, that's a good one, hahahah, ugh, no).

Illustration: Sarah Palin's personal brand

We had flutes and trombones around the house. For my siblings and me, music was important to give us some balance. If it weren't for music, our entire social life, our avocations, all would have had to do with sports.

SADY: And so: she had flutes and trombones around her house. She was born to believe in the inherent goodness of flutes and trombones. Also, maybe, sports. With her love of music, it is a shame that the music she likes ("Barracuda," for example) loathes her and wants her to go away. A tragedy, really, in the purest sense.

Everything I've ever needed to know I learned through sports.

AMANDA: Whatever.

Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me.

SADY: This is interesting, because Sarah Palin strikes me as both bored and somewhat pathetic. Also, given the "palling around with terrorists" thing, kind of a liar! I will give her credit for not being anonymous, however. However much I WISH I had never heard the name of Sarah Palin, it will be engraved on my brain forever.

I'll tell you, yesterday the Anchorage Daily News, they called again to ask—double-, triple-, quadruple-check—who is Trig's real mom. And I said, Come on, are you kidding me? We're gonna answer this? Do you not believe me or my doctor? And they said, No, it's been quite cryptic the way that my son's birth has been discussed. And I thought, Okay, more indication of continued problems in the world of journalism.

AMANDA: I love that Sarah Palin's problem with journalists is that they attempt to check their facts, instead of spreading unsubstantiated rumors about major political candidates without confirming them. Still, I bet it is actually very annoying to have reporters calling you asking about your children and your children's children. Still, I bet it is even more annoying to be Sarah Palin's child and have your teen pregnancy and---surprise!---impending marriage outed to reporters days after your mother's debut on the national stage. Thanks, mom.

Even hard news sources, credible news sources—the comment about, you can see Russia from Alaska. You can! You can see Russia from Alaska.

SADY: Sarah Palin, who is in NO WAY ANONYMOUS, I hasten to add, is very upset about the fact that people do not believe this to constitute foreign policy experience. She advises herself to "let it go," presumably by bringing it up in every interview she ever gives for the rest of her life.

I would think we all tear up during the national anthem at the beginning of a baseball game, don't we? That's an alikeness between Alaskans and New Yorkers.

AMANDA: Most New Yorkers would call that a simple "likeness," but, yeah, I bet most New Yorkers couldn't find any more substantial ground with Sarah Palin, either.

If I were giving advice to myself back on the day my candidacy was announced, I'd say, Tell the campaign that you'll be callin' some of the shots. Don't just assume that they know you well enough to make all your decisions for ya.

SADY: This, I... weirdly agree with? I mean, the Vice-Presidential candidate is usually given more chances to explain or prove herself than Sarah Palin got due to the McCain freakout and lockdown. I don't know that all of her choices would have been wise, necessarily, but it does strike me as sexist that she was shut off from the public in that way. I get the sense she was deployed to bring in certain demographics, rather than given a chance to participate fully in the campaign. Boo!

Maybe it's like when someone says, "I love you, you're perfect the way y'are, now let me change you." And I'm sure Senator McCain had to struggle with some of that, maybe early on in his campaign.

AMANDA: And now, my "wisdom" registry includes this horrible vision of John McCain telling Sarah Palin he loves her.

I'd been a fan of SNL for decades, and I have a lot of respect for the present talent. I knew it would be a good thing to be a part of. And also, of course, to let Americans know that I can laugh at myself, too.

SADY: Blah blah interview commonplace blah. Then Tina Fey may or may not have given her a mean look and Palin offered babysitting services and we all got to talk about "catfights" forever, the end.

My favorite place in Alaska is on a cold winter day in my own house, with fat snowflakes falling. In my nice warm home.

AMANDA: Does it count as "wisdom" to move to an area of the earth that is totally unfit for human habitation, then compensate by employing helicopters, snowmobiles, and probably your own personal oil rig to live there comfortably?

Illustration: Actual Palin

I eat, therefore I hunt. I want to fill my freezer with good, clean, healthy protein for my kids. That's what I was raised on.

SADY: That and trombones! What's weird in the hunting discussion is that she never mentions the effect on the environment. The whole frontierswoman schtick loses its charm when you realize she is killing things from helicopters while drinking white chocolate skinny mochas, which is not, I think, comparable to the hardships of the settlers. Then you start wondering whether it is really advisable to kill every living thing in your path just so you can have some chili.

A courageous person is anyone who loses a child and can still get out of bed in the morning.

AMANDA: Yeah, this one is a bummer. I can't really disagree with this.

This is what I've been telling Bristol, before she gets married, is, Bristol, there are definitely gonna be tough parts in marriage. You have to look at those tough times and remember that you have essentially a business contract with this person. You've signed an agreement: You're going to be together.

SADY: This is ominous and terrifying for so many reasons, chief among which is that Palin seems to think a slip-up in birth control is a legally binding contract which condemns one to an eternal and loveless marriage. There's a difference between committing to someone and BEING COMMITTED to someone. I use "committed" in the "locked up in an institution with no hope of escape" sense, which is the feeling I would have were I to be forced into intimate domestic relations with Levi Johnston for a period longer than three weeks.

Fleece, lots of fleece, and skinny white-chocolate mochas. That's the best way to stay warm.

AMANDA: Elitist.

Oh, yes, I pray. I talk to God every day. I've put my life, so I put my day, into God's hands, and I just ask for guidance and wisdom and grace.

SADY: My mom does this too, so I can't poke fun. Palin's life actually has to be pretty hard, considering I get hurt when people point out I have barbecue sauce on my jeans; she's got a lot to deal with, and I empathize. I don't really trust a lot of Palin's public statements, but this religion thing is one thing I've never questioned. Whether God should be her primary consultant on matters of policy, or is totally cool with charging people for their own rape kits: that, really, is another matter.

The secret to chili is you gotta have good mooseburger in there. I don't know if you can get moose commercially in New York. You'd have to come up here and visit me in my home, and I'll prepare it for ya.

AMANDA: Umm, actually, I would really, really love to eat Sarah Palin's Secret Recipe Mooseburger Chili, The Secret Is The Mooseburger! I think there are real marketing opportunities here, especially in the most remote areas of the country, such as New York City, where moose access is severely limited.

Carmex. I'm addicted to Carmex. I don't go anywhere without Carmex.

SADY: Also, Palin is addicted to Carmex. I did not know what Carmex was! Imagine my surprise when I Googled it, found its web page, and was subjected to a graphic with a confusing font describing a product that is either "Strawberry Tube" or "Strawberry Lube." It is for your lips, Carmex! It is a lip balm. This is therefore irrelevant to my personal knowledge of Sarah Palin. Are you getting anything more interesting, Amanda?

The first place was an ice-cream store called Ferina's, in Wasilla. In a fishing village called Dillingham, I worked waitin' tables at a bar. Serving people, you learn patience. When someone's mad at you 'cause you're not serving them in the manner that they want to be served, and you've gotta be tempered and graceful.

AMANDA: Dude, I would not wish the fate of waiting tables at a bar in Dillingham upon any woman. I'm glad she got out of that, honestly, but I'm not sure that being "tempered and graceful" in a fish bar really translates to being tempered and graceful in a national campaign. I'm betting there's a pretty low bar for "graceful" in a fish bar.

Two meanings in Bristol's name: I worked at the Bristol Inn, and Todd grew up in Bristol Bay. But also, Bristol, Connecticut, is the home of ESPN. And when I was in high school, my desire was to be a sportscaster. ESPN was just kicking off, just getting off the ground, and I thought that's what I was going to do in life, is be one of the first woman sportscasters. Until I learned that you'd have to move to Bristol, Connecticut. It was far away. So instead, I had a daughter and named her Bristol.

SADY: This, again, is enlightening. People do name their kids after things that have meaning to them. Sarah Palin is no different, even though the kids sound like their names were randomly generated by the Syllable-O-Matic 5000. The number of "Bristols" with significance in Palin's life is kind of ominous, though. It's like "The Number 23!"

Hot? If only people could see me as I come in from a run early in the morning without a trough full of makeup on, I think that they'd have a different opinion.

AMANDA: Okay, first of all, I think it's really funny that she employs the phrase "trough full of makeup" here, because I think it's really on-point. Second, I think a lot of people find it endearing when people lack a self-awareness about their own attractiveness. You know, "Oh, she doesn't know how beautiful she is," etc. The problem is that Sarah Palin lacks a self-awareness about seemingly everything, except for how much makeup she wears. A trough full!

After a long day, if the weather's good, I like to take a long, hot run to unwind. Otherwise, lately, I take a bath with Trig, and I answer e-mails, and then we all fall asleep in my big bed while we listen to Piper read her Junie B. Jones books out loud. She's learning to read and she'll read for hours on end. It's idyllic. It's amazing.

SADY: So, she works out, and she spends time with her kids, and she answers her e-mail even at home. Those e-mails are the only real nod in her interview to the actual work she does, governing Alaska. Her private life and her domesticity and her motherhood and her praying, that's what we hear about. Which is weird: if she believed she was qualified to be VP, shouldn't she be more comfortable with discussing the actual stuff she does at work? Or would that be kind of unwomanly? Or is that all this interviewer wanted to know about, hot domestic Palin action? I get the sense that what we want from this woman is so paradoxical and weird that she herself doesn't know how to make sense of it. I am feeling empathy for her! What is this? Damn you, Esquire!

I bite my lip when I'm tempted to wisecrack, because I'm always thinking of something that I'd love to say but know that I better not say it because of the position that I'm in.

AMANDA: Sarah Palin's greatest problem may be how tragically calibrated her filter is for the shit coming out of her mouth. She won't tell Katie Couric what newspaper she reads, but she'll usher "palling around with terrorists" into the national discourse?

There is one America,
but there are different priorities reflected in individual Americans that certainly can stand in stark contrast with — I'll give you an example. Some people, money is the be-all, end-all to them. Money and power, prestige, a title next to their name is the be-all, end-all. Other people, the highest priority would be their character, their reputation, their word, and money has nothing to do with that. The beauty of America is that individuals making up this great country do have different priorities. And that's the contrast that I would point out.

SADY: True enough. And it's easy to just photoshop someone's head onto a bikini model holding a gun, just dismiss them that way: pretty girls are brainless, rural people are hicks, etcetera, that's a nice little way to cordon off areas of experience you can't engage with. I agree! Yet, there are a lot of things wrong with Sarah Palin's policies, and we discussed them endlessly during the election, and the biggest one was that she never seemed to have any respect for "priorities" or perspectives that were not her own. Which, if you're in the position to potentially run AMERICA, don't you think you'd want to work for the common interests of all Americans, period?

We pulled out of some states that I believe we should have continued to campaign in and sent a stronger message that those states really mattered, regardless of the number of electoral votes there. The people mattered. I would have loved to have had more influence on where it was that we campaigned.

AMANDA: But Barack Obama is our president now and we don't care about this.

Running is my sanity. Sweat is my sanity. And that was a frustration of mine on the campaign trail, when we couldn't carve out a half an hour or an hour a day to run. The day never went as well as it would have had I had that time to go sweat.

SADY: Oh, dude. Not knowing the basics of your job, or being unable to demonstrate that you know those basics, is a problem that no amount of running can solve.

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