Friday, October 17, 2008

Foaming at the Mouth about Sarah Palin

Fox News reports that Sarah Palin will appear on SNL this Saturday night.

Now, I'm as much in favor of a good joke as anyone else and Tina Fey is supposed to be hilarious. I'm sorry to say that I haven't seen her myself because the speakers on my computer have been busted for a while so I haven't been able to hear the You Tube clips my friends have emailed around and/or posted on myface. And as it happens, I haven't watched Saturday Night Live since Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin were on it. I saw some reruns with old buddies from Girl Scouts in the Midwest who sat around drinking beer and watching episode after episode on the VCR. They were so boring (the people and SNL), that I never watched SNL again. Ergo: I have no personal experience with Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin. For the purposes of this post, I will assume she is as funny as everyone says.

The trouble I have with Sarah Palin going on SNL is that it's a PR coup for McCain-Palin. Appearing on Saturday Night Live with Tina Fey is just the sort of thing that could convince a ton of undecided voters that NRA Barbie is a great sport, cute as a button and worth voting for just because she can take a joke.

I'm sure her friends in the Alaska Independence Party will agree she's a lot of fun after a couple of drinks. Maybe she was with some of them when she called Obama "Sambo."

Given that NBC is owned by notorious arms manufacturer GE, it only makes sense that they would do their bit to help The Party and simultaneously rake in a few million extra advertising bucks. The joke won't be very funny anymore if McCain-Palin win on Nov 4. Tina Fey can share in the blame when Roe v Wade is overturned and when, if the conservative Christians get their way, we can't even get birth control pills anymore. Conservative Christian, Right Wing Republican Straight White American Males (a very funny song by Todd Snider) with the help of Plucky Little Sarah, will make sure the Ten Commandments and Jesus himself are in every court room in the land. Creationism in the classroom will be a moot point because most of the white people will send their children to private Baptist academies using vouchers which will assure the public schools have no money to survive. And there will be lots of extra little people running around because schools will advocate for abstinence when discussing sex in health class.

We see how well that lesson plan worked in the Palin household.

Just because Obama was on SNL doesn't mean that SNL is giving equal time to all candidates. This thing with Tina Fey is larger than a simple skit or an opening bit like Rudy Guiliani used to do. Those kinds of obligatory appearance for political candidates may increase ratings a little, but they aren't particulary interesting because those bits are so familiar and expected.

Sarah Palin with Tina Fey is different because Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin has already gotten a lot of media and You Tube coverage. Tina Fey's skits may have been a good joke in the beginning, but there is a distinct danger now that undecided voters will be pulled in the direction of the plucky beauty queen.

Bill Clinton was trailing in the polls when he went on Arsenio Hall and captured America's imagination by playing "Heartbreak Hotel" on his saxophone in shades. Good PR at the right moment can change the political landscape, and as those cronies of Tom Delay showed when they invited Stephen Colbert to speak - we're not always dealing with a bunch of geniuses with the TV viewing public. They're just some of the folks who believed The Colbert Report was serious.

It makes sense that an arms manufacturer would have a vested interest in having someone in the White House aiming her personal shotgun at Iraq and Iran thereby assuring weapons for everyone for who knows how long. If I were a giant, greedy arms manufacturer, I'd put Sarah Palin on SNL, too. Business is Business.

We can always let NBC know that we're not buying into this bullshit. Boycotting SNL works for me because I never watch it anyway. Or simply call Rebecca Marks, NBC's Executive VP for Publicity, and tell her what you think of Sarah Palin in Real Life. She might even agree.

Rebecca Marks
Executive Vice President, NBC Universal Television Group Publicity
(info good as of 2/08)

"I'm voting Republican just so Tina Fey will keep impersonating Sarah Palin," New Yorker, October 13, 2008


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