Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sarah Palin: Comedienne

Iconic imagery from Twitchy
You know, everyone has to have a special talent, we've just long misjudged what Sarah Palin's is. Her political acumen rather sucks. Her extemporaneous responses are terrible. She's not particularly good at keeping her cool, or managing family scandals. But she is an excellent performer. We made a lot of fun of her mastery of the "pageant answer," the art of responding without exactly answering a question. And her word salad speeches are legendary. But this woman knows how to play to an audience, and more than that, to her specific audience.

In this "greatest hits" montage from Palin's CPAC performance, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell really displays her abilities. Her jokes aren't particularly good, but her delivery is, and her knowledge that these jokes will thrill this crowd. It's really a special kind of talent (though I don't doubt she had help), to wring "humor" out of the tired subjects that right wing world likes to rage about. She even made Mayor Bloomberg's soda ban part of her double-barreled assault on liberals, even though Bloomberg isn't a liberal! Even her sips of soda were well timed. Don't get me wrong, I still think she's a clod and a simpleton, but she does have talent.

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Where right-wing world went wrong in their lionization of Palin is in their misguided notion that what they see in her translates to a general audience. It doesn't. The "sly" reference to Obama's citizenship is only funny to this small slice of the electorate that actually believes there's something to that. The mean-spirited jabs are only comedy gold to the mean-spirited right.

It will be interested to see how much further Sister Sarah can drag out this peculiar and limited brand of celebrity.

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