Paglia for Palin and phony baloney

Camille Paglia, in the November Salon.com issue, has this to say about Sarah Palin in a lengthy piece that also deals with Barack Obama and a lot more:

I like Sarah Palin, and I’ve heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is — and quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn’t speak the King’s English — big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns — that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee — what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry’s nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama’s pick and who was on everyone’s short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin’s. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.

The U.S. Senate as a career option? What a claustrophobic, nitpicking comedown for an energetic Alaskan — nothing but droning committees and incestuous back-scratching. No, Sarah Palin should stick to her governorship and just hit the rubber-chicken circuit, as Richard Nixon did in his long haul back from political limbo following his California gubernatorial defeat in 1962. Step by step, the mainstream media will come around, wipe its own mud out of its eyes, and see Palin for the populist phenomenon that she is.

Years ago, I read Paglia’s books — blogged about her version of feminism here. Paglia almost always takes the devil’s advocate position on issues — which always stimulates heated (but worthwhile) discussions.
While I don’t really agree with Paglia’s assessment of Palin’s political potential, I understand that there’s always a possibility. Who really knows what fuels Palin at her core; she was played and used by her party and the press.
And, it turns out, it wasn’t just Palin who was played. According to the New York Times, both the press and the public were played into believing the lies about Palin put forth by a fake expert and phony think tank.

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

There you have both the power and the terror of the Internet.
Given Paglia’s comments and the hoaxers’ success, I’m much less inclined, now, to look at Palin as a bubble headed hockey-mom. Granted, she was not ready to be vice-president. But, if she really has any smarts, she has learned from the fiasco of her campaign, and she has learned something about whom to trust and not to trust. Certainly, she had all kinds of cards stacked against her this time.
Meanwhile, here are some links to articles about the phony baloney web site and the tricksters who pulled it off.

Huffington Post

The New York Observer
And don’t forget the Times article link above.
The hoaxers’ website is here. When you go there, you will see that “Einstadt” claims that he really exists and is not a hoax.
And so we’re confronted with the dilemma of whom to trust out there on the Internet.
Whom do you trust/believe of those you read on the Internet, and how do you know their trustworthy?
Maybe it’s all just phony baloney. Like the stock market.

6 thoughts on “Paglia for Palin and phony baloney

  1. I know what you mean about Paglia. She’s caused me to reconsider some thoughts I’ve held and to solidify others. Your post you linked was fun to read as were the comments on crone/sage, etc. I like all that!

    About Palin, she reminds me of one of those stereotypical “mean girls” in high school in all its implications.

  2. It isn’t the stories about Palin (banning books in the library, etc.) that bother me. It listening to her live. She is unable to put a coherent sentence together and rambles on without actually saying anything. That, plus her Pentacostal religion turns me off.

  3. Thanks for the link to Paglia’s article. I am a Canadian who recently drove across America, through both red and blue states, in the last week of October ’08. I listened to A LOT of local radio call-in shows. The thing that struck me most was the number of women who felt that with Sarah Palin, finally they felt their voices heard. I gained a new respect for her, as I had formerly believed she was a huge Republican bad joke. My trip was most edifying, I realized there is a whole other America that really does feel that Palin speaks for them. Whether I agree with those folks is immaterial, they are there and they deserve to be represented. Let the voters decide.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m also very happy about your election results, and look forward to the beginning of Obama’s term as President of the USA. His election represents to me all that is inspirational about your country.

  4. Although I like Paglia, I liked your assessment of her Palin comments more. We have to keep in mind that she is like a man writing about Palin given she is openly and proudly a lesbian who is often interested in intriguing women from a perspective that other women might not totally understand. I love reading her profiles on women like the Brazilian singer, often follow up on her links; but I felt when I read what she said about Palin, that it fit with her fascination with other beautiful and complex women– which I feel Palin is.

    When it came out, I took the Africa thing with a grain of salt to begin but whenever I listen to Palin talk, trying to put together sentences and paragraphs that make sense, I think– yes, she’s beautiful but not sure about that smart part! Palin’s religious views don’t encourage her to be curious about other viewpoints. That might change but who knows. To me curiosity about life is something that matters more than IQ.

    Paglia came out this week with a questioning of the Ayers and birth certificate fuss which made me wonder about her all over again. Does she pay attention? I remember she has been a favorite (might not be now) of Rush Limbaugh; so am reading her a bit more critically at the moment– but still look forward to reading anything she writes.

  5. Once again: The hoax was that this guy was claiming to be the source of the Palin stories when he wasn’t.

    The hoax was NOT the stories themselves. Those were real.

    This guy is doing Palin a world of good, confusing people into believing the STORIES THEMSELVES were lies, when the only thing that was a lie was the hoaxer’s involvement.

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