lundi 15 novembre 2010

Do you honestly think I'm going to watch "Sarah Palin's Alaska" when "Dexter" is on?

Yes, I know I have not one but two bigass DVRs in the house. But one is filling up rapidly with episodes of Levi Roots' Caribbean Food Made Easy, Spice Goddess, Futurama and movies like Coco Before Chanel and Young Victoria that Mr. Brilliant would rather have hot metal spikes shoved into his eyeballs than watch, and the other is almost full of Daily Show and Colbert Report reruns, Boardwalk Empire, concert programming from Palladia, and the aforementioned Dexter so Mr. B. can watch it when he gets home on Monday.

But seriously...I've just spent an entire weekend sitting in fromt of a computer getting a project ready for a review tomorrow, and I'm not about to spend time watching Sarah Palin turn the campaign finance system on its ear by getting PAID to do a one-hour presidential campaign commercial every week. Whatever happened to the days when candidates had to pay for their airtime? What's next -- Christine O'Donnell's Rehoboth Beach?

I have a day job that often takes up 60-80 hours a week of my time. Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon gets paid to watch this stuff. So I'll let her weigh in:
One telling scene shows Palin and members of her family fishing near a bear and two frolicking cubs. Cut to the Tea Party darling and her self-sufficiency speech. For months, Palin has referred to strong Republican female candidates as "mama grizzlies."

"I love watching these mama bears," Palin tells the TLC camera. "They've got a nature, yeah, that humankind could learn from. She's trying to show her cubs, 'Nobody's gonna do it for ya. You get out there and do it yourself, guys.'"

Translation: Stop relying on government.

That scene and others are sure to suggest to some viewers that the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is positioning herself for a 2012 presidential run.

There are other messages that seem to conflict with those ambitions, though. Palin talks about her love of wild Alaska, offering in one well-known homily, "A poor day of fishing beats even a great day at work."

In a promo for the show with a montage of outdoor scenes, she says, "I'd rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office" and "I'd rather be out here being free."

Then come the snippets that easily could fill in as campaign slogans, particularly with Palin's very political tweets, Facebook postings and other media forums. Her Alaska landscapes also loom larger than life.

"What all this suggests is that she's crafting her lifestyle and her biography as typifying a person who's independent, rugged, resilient, in touch with nature and has learned life lessons that she can bring into governance if she moves back into governance," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a University of Pennsylvania communications professor who studies political rhetoric.


If the series is about more than Palin's love for the state, it would be hard to overlook the irony of a former governor who abruptly resigned in July 2009 with 17 months left in her first term. Take the footage of Palin struggling to climb a steep rocky slope in Denali National Park.

"About halfway up the rock, I did not know if I was going to be able to finish the task," she tells the camera. "But I didn't want to quit. I didn't want to quit in front of other people."

That may be perhaps the only time in her life when Sarah Palin didn't want an audience. I'll give her this much, though -- the woman knows how to work the system to her own advantage. If only she were interested in using this shrewdness for the benefit of all instead of just her own ego and pocketbook, perhaps she might even be considered to have leadership ability.

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