I have never drunk a curdled glass of half-and-half. Neither have I read Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue. I’m definitely sure that I wouldn’t feel good after doing either one.
It is neither secret, nor negative, that Utah is a staunchly conservative state. There are drawbacks to living in a subculture where a dominant ideology is omnipresent in both government and society; if you agree with the ideology, your views remain unchallenged, but if you disagree with the ideology, you’re instantly fighting an uphill battle.
Palin, who became the face (and body) of the contemporary conservative movement through her nomination as Republican vice presidential candidate, should find an easy homerun with a conservative Utah audience. But will she?
In a word: No. Palin’s public image and identity is defined not by what she is, but by what she is not. She is not a man; she is not a feminist; she did not terminate her pregnancy when she learned the child had Down’s Syndrome; she did not build the so-called “bridge to nowhere;” she was not elected to the office of vice president; she did not finish her only term as governor.
So why is this woman, who is about as qualified for political office as the moose that she so proudly hunts, being validated by our cultural attention? Why are we encouraging her to go on by acknowledging her presence in our state, let alone in our national consciousness? By writing this I am clearly as guilty of this as anyone, but still, there is this fascination that so many have with this odd representation of a political party that is quickly regressing into irrelevance.
Fear of a strong woman is a large part of why we hear more about Palin than we do, say, Hilary Clinton. Clinton has a law degree, a long history of civil service, a great deal of executive experience, and is currently operating under the radar as our Secretary of State. Clinton, however, is demonized for not being feminine enough and for cuckolding herself to considerable libido of her husband. Yet we turn our heads toward Palin, who has become a minstrel show of feminism, a woman who embraces and aggrandizes subjugation by a political system dominated by parties of white men afraid of a threat to the status quo.
What’s clearly more important, though, is that we should all ignore Palin’s signing. I’m still not sure why it’s at a place better known for selling toilet paper and frozen pizza in bulk than, you know, a book store, but when you remember that a great deal of people paid hard-earned cash during a recession for a book “by” this beacon of nothingness, a lot of things stop making sense.
If you do go, though, pick me up a gargantuan jug of salsa for this chip on my shoulder.