Sunday, October 19, 2008

Silent Sarah submits to SNL skewering

Sarah Palin acquiesced to her own humiliation on Saturday Night Live last night. In two skits, the central trope was her refusal to say anything. She played right along and allowed the show's creators to write all over her. Not only did no one on the show have any substantive verbal interaction with the potential-president-in-purdah. No one really even looked at her.

In the opening skit, Tina Fey conducted a Palin press conference with her signature goofiness. The consistent theme is to mimic (and only slightly exaggerate) the you-can-see-Russia logic characteristic of the McCain campaign's Palin scripts. In this case, the line was, the American people are angry, and in the debate McCain was angry, so McCain won the debate, q.e.d.

Of course, Sarah walked in on Tina. You'd expect that the candidate would highlight the absurdity of the caricature with an ostentatious display of brilliance. You'd think that the McCain people would have insisted on something like that skit in which Hillary Clinton (I think on the Daily Show), walked a technician through a fix of an equipment failure. Instead, she simply chased Fey off the stage and announced that she would take no questions.

In the same skit, the real Palin watched Fey on-screen with Lorne Michaels. Alec Baldwin walked up and, mistaking Palin for Fey, told Michaels, You can't let Tina go out there with that woman. She goes against everything we stand for. I mean, good lord, Lorne. They call her...what's that thing they call her?" Palin responded "Caribou Barbie."Baldwin briefly glancing a Palin and realizing his mistake, said, "Forgive me, but I must say this, you are way hotter in person." He stared straight ahead as he said that. There was no real interaction, no contrition, no "I was wrong" recognition of her humanity. It was a sexual dismissal, a reinforcement rather than repudiation of the Caribou Barbie image.

The second skit was more of the same. Joining the anchors on Weekend Update, Palin announced that she would not do the planned routine because "It might be a bad idea for the campaign." Instead, she sat silently bobbing and gesticulating while Amy Phoeler launched a derisive rap highlighting McCain's creepy smile, Russia porch sightings, Todd's snowmobiling, Palin's Ayers and prospective Wright attacks, and Alaska's otherness generally -- loudly punctuated by repeated rifle fire as (and after) Phoeler felled a moose mascot with a rifle finger. It was harmless enough in itself -- except for the peculiar spectacle of the would-be-veep herself, silent again, letting the lampooners speak for her -- rocking in her seat, waving her arms as the rappers sang, "all the mavericks in the house, raise your hands," and saying nothing. Nothing!-- except a farewell "you betcha" and "good night." How could the McCain camp, which has controlled every venue in which Palin speaks since the Katie Couric disaster, have allowed this appearance without at least partly scripting it?

The SNL crew doubled the decibel level of Palin's silence -- and made moosemeat of the McCain-Palin campaign.


  1. That is right on the money. What harebrained person on her staff allowed her to do that?

  2. "...the central trope was her refusal to say anything." The show is scripted. Produce a contract showing a refusal of anything.

    "You'd expect that the candidate would highlight the absurdity of the caricature..." It's a comedy show. That doesn't need to be pointed out.

    "[Baldwin] stared straight ahead as he said that." He was reading and relying on cue cards.

    "The SNL crew doubled the decibel level of Palin's silence -- and made moosemeat of the McCain-Palin campaign." Then you entirely missed the point of her just being there in the first place.

    Your entire entry lacked any true insight.

  3. I fully agree that it was another not so bright move in an already sinking ship campaign. What are they thinking? Most people I have spoken with , the numerous posts I've read,and my own reaction was shock that she let SNL rag on her while she gladly absorbed all the jokes on her.While I guess it does say something about her good sportsmanship,it at the same time also shows that she,by not defending herself is almost realizing the jokes have validity.Not a smart move for the already down McCain/Palin ticket. I hope they keep it up and continue to help Obama win this election. OBAMA IN '08

  4. My daughter is in sixth grade and the first thing she said after seeing the rap skit was, "why would she go along with that?" Pretty crazy, when even an 11 year old can see the obvious.

    Even Hillary Clinton was FUNNY when she was on. Palin couldn't even pull that off.