Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How Sarah Palin Made Stupid a Franchise and Took It to the Bank: New York Magazine on the "Palin Industry"

Palin took stupid and made it cool--all to the tune of 12 million dollars.

The New York magazine piece on Palin is well worth a read in its entirety. For the time and energy challenged here are some pithy excerpts that tellingly describe Palin's Svengali-like hold over the confederacy of dunces, the intellectually challenged, and the mediocrity laden fools who pray at her cult of personality:

  • "Palin is a fund-raising machine and a turbocharger for the right-wing base. The party knows she is a possible bridge to the fractious and suspicious tea-party crowd. But Palin’s conspicuous lack of depth—and the sheer joy she takes in what she doesn’t know—is a source of angst among Republicans who see larger brand risk if Palin comes to define the party."
  • "Fox News has turned a disaffected segment of the populace into a market, with the fervor and idiosyncratic truth standards of a cult. Wingnut-ism has been monetized, is one admittedly partisan way of looking at it. Palin stokes the disaffection of her constituents and then, with the help of Fox, offers to heal them, for a price."
  • "Here, as everywhere, the tea party is a carnival where politics and commerce commingle...Then Palin took the stage. “Thank you, tea-party America!” she yelled. “Do you love your freedom?” Palin primed the crowd. “My husband, Todd, is here … I was gonna ask Todd if I could borrow his sunglasses, but I’d have to take these off, though, and it’d make it really rough for me to see the teleprompter, and then I realized, ‘No teleprompter, time to kick it old-school!’ ” She raised her palms marked with pen. “Good thing I remembered how to use a poor man’s version of the teleprompter!” The crowd exploded in cheers. For the next nineteen minutes, Palin worked her true believers into ecstasy."
And yes Virginia, at every tea party there is indeed a slave catcher (or two) in the bunch:
  • A young woman named Bethany Owens was sitting at a small table, pulling bills from a leather satchel. The 20-year-old daughter of black conservative entrepreneurs William and Selena Owens, Bethany had spent the morning at her parents’ booth selling books and CDs, like her mother’s title The Power Within a Conservative Woman ($9.95) and her dad’s motivational CD Answers Beyond the Rhetoric ($19.95). Bethany began stacking up bills, doling them out like a Vegas dealer...“One hundred, two hundred, three, four, five hundred,” she counted. “Ugh! I gotta start over.” “Five, six, seven, eight, nine hundred. Okay, that’s $3,300,” she said, piling bills into neat rows. “Are there corn dogs here, somebody?” yelled Melanie Morgan, a blonde conservative talk-radio host sitting nearby. Just then, Russo informed her that he’d heard Palin had agreed to speak alongside Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh at Morgan’s upcoming charity event for the troops, which would mean more care packages. “Oh my God! This is fabulous. Sal, brilliant. I could cry I’m so happy,” she said. “That’s gonna be so many hundreds of thousands of dollars more.”
I guess, at least in Palin's case, there are indeed second acts in American life.


macon d said...

Yeah, i read that whole thing, and highly recommend it, all sorts of revelations of venality. She really took it to the bank, and it looks like her quittin' ways (the governorship) were simply all about the money. I wonder what so much money is going to do to that whole clan of hers.

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Thanks for linking to this article, it's a great read. I loved the guy on unemployment selling anti-Obama shirts because he thinks the president is a communist. Ugh.