Friday, November 05, 2010


There's a clip of Sarah Palin's new reality series up at the Huffington Post, accompanied by the headline "Sarah Palin Complains About Invasion Of Her Privacy On First Episode Of Her Reality Show." Yeah, yeah, feel the irony ...

But I'm not sure that's how it's going to play in Peoria. Even I, a Palin-loather, assume that she has near-total control over this reality series, while the "invader" she's complaining about, Joe McGinniss, is doing something she and Todd can't stage-manage. Which wouldn't bother me a bit -- Sarah, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the klieg lights -- except that McGinniss has been a bit of a jerk, and that house he moved into next door to her (I was never quite sure of this until I saw the clip) seems really close. Thus, McGinniss's presence is likely to elicit sympathy for Palin -- which is something no right-thinking person should ever do.

But I'm more interested in how Palin is presented in the clip, and in a Time magazine slideshow of images from the broadcast. In the clip, we first see her out on her patio with a book, then Todd approaches and asks her, "Get some work done?" This is just shamelessly staged -- it's obviously an attempt to rebut the notion that she's an illiterate bubblehead.

Nearly every photo in the slideshow is like that, too -- either an image meant to dispel the notion of unseriousness or an image meant to be iconic. Iconic: Palin with a hunting rifle! Palin riding an ATV in camo! Mama Sarah serving dinner! Serious: Palin at a desk preparing for a Fox interview! Palin reading a briefing book!

There's friction these days between Palin and Karl Rove, but Rove had George W. Bush creating iconic images like this of himself -- not just the brush clearing and the wearing of uniforms but the conspicuous carrying of books, accompanied by talk of book-reading contests with Rove.

Another guy who did this? Saddam Hussein. As I said a few years ago, during Saddam's reign, murals of him were all over Iraq,

each ... focused on a unique aspect of Saddam's alleged greatness: Saddam the giver of life. Saddam the war strategist. Saddam the devout and powerful Muslim leader.... Saddam the rifleman in a bowler hat. Saddam the who-the-hell-knows (a gaucho?).

Palin as Saddam? Let's compare and contrast:

You be the judge.

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