Walter Rhett


In Perlo on December 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

An irony in the interconnected world of the internet is that the world of names in politics has shrunk like nothing before. Sarah Palin has benefited from and helped craft this shrinkage. She is viral deja vu. Click your remote and there she is, on every channel, wearing the same outfit, speaking the same words, broadcasting the same twitter post, picking the same daily fight with somebody to re-establish those who challenge her brand of American cred.

But to discuss her in political terms is to ignore that she is a media creation. Think and reflect carefully, there are 15 or so faces that occupy air time; they are the top 2% who grab media minutes. Is it deserved? It seems more ordained; a collective zeitgeist seems to decree new members of the patheon, sa diverse array of familar faces, discussing other familar faces in soft ways that take bets about the future and chuckle over the faux pas of the past, and debate the merits of the meritless. Media simply enlarges our insigificance and Sarah Palin is a perfect fit for the role. Three minutes in the round table, never an hour with Charlie Rose.

Thinking of her politically is a misdirection, a sleight of mind that misleads us to merge categories that shrink into our collapse. She is a brand, a wealth producer taking advantage of the social media bubble, a voice that appeals to emotions that resonate against the grain of our truth. There was a time when American exceptionalism meant reaching out to help others, sharing resources to help the less of these. Now faith seems to be based on the “benefits to me.” The endless discussions and evaluations of Palin’s role in politics take away from the trends concealed by her dominating the conversation. Texas now has only one Democratic woman in the House and the Senate. Alabama has a very sharp new African-American freshman woman representing a deep South district. Palin is a trend that blocks discussions of more important trends.

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  1. Brilliant: “ordained.”

    Yes, “ordained” as the logical coronation from a senseless news cycle…A news cycle that cannot be 24/7 and stay logical. It has to have down time, just as the people whose very histories it attempts to document…Palin is the logical fruit of an internet with no beginning, middle, or end…mere puffs of data clouds whose algorithmic clustering of hits and paid advertising too often succeeds at driving the search for knowledge away from a virtuous cycle of truth into a vicious cycle of profiteering…

    I do not Twitter, I have never texted, I only comment on _The New York Times_ site, though I read the online versions of many periodicals, but their lack of moderators, and the trollishness people accept in themselves, makes me believe anarchy, truly, reigns the earth…

    I do none of the above because the truncation of language is emblematic of the truncation of ideas, which stunts ideals, whose lack of nourishment ultimately wither Democracy, and civil rights movements, and all meaningful freedoms….Neither the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, nor Bill of Rights would have been written by text or twitter….and now our generation is so busy doing the above, they shall not be the architects of humanity’s next revolutionary texts….

    And the logical outcome of this withering of truth leads to a profound, startling blog (? is that the right term anymore?) such as yours having no comments…presumably because this format is a dinosaur one, and people reply to you via text or twitter?

    But I cherish the long, thoughtful comments on the Times site, which are still far shorter than _Light in August_ or _Anna Karenina_ or _War and Peace_….
    Few of us do, however, which is why rude demagogues like Palin are recycled ad nauseum, because no one pays attention to her long enough to see how uneducated she is, and apparently Katy Couric’s (no intellectual heavyweight herself, non?) interview is now long-forgotten history…

    I tend to rebel by returning to long print books on paper, though I hate to admit I am drawn to the Times site probably as teens are to their iphones…
    but it does not solve the macabre spectacle of the Palin App apparently being on every electrical device with no delete function….while, as you note, real people of substance, to whom I would add Bernie Sanders, get completely missed or intentionally buried in an avalanche of money-guzzling which is not to be confused with news, even though it cleverly uses that name…

  2. p.p.s….Indeed, the revolution _is_ happening right now, and that is that there will no longer be “revolutionary texts,” because no one will read them or be swayed by them…if people join together for a common vision, it must be one that can fit on 2 cm of screen, which means it must be low on the visionary scale, but high on spectacle…thus leading to the natural consequence of rock fans coming to a concert to see their virtual star on a screen (now, ironically I cannot find the Times link, but it is “real”! I think it is a Japanese creation, and the concerts were in Japan)…Palin is the equivalent of rock star/football player morphing in Avatar-like fashion to President, aided by President Obama appearing on Jon Stewart and Leno, enhancing and legitimizing the blurring between infotainment, politics, and bloodsport…

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