Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thumbs down: The idolatry of Sarah Palin

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's not exactly original to call Palin "the American Idol candidate" -- I've heard it before and thought it myself -- but Roger Ebert, who's been here in Toronto for the film festival (one of the greatest things about this great city), does just that, and does it well, explaining Palin's populist appeal and rightly slamming her pathetic anti-elitism, a celebration of the lowest common denominator in American life.

Read the whole piece. Here's a sample:

I think I might be able to explain some of Sara Palin's [sic] appeal. She's the "American Idol" candidate. Consider. What defines an "American Idol" finalist? They're good-looking, work well on television, have a sunny personality, are fierce competitors, and so talented, why, they're darned near the real thing. There's a reason "American Idol" gets such high ratings. People identify with the contestants. They think, Hey, that could almost be me up there on that show!

My feeling is, I don't want to be up there. I want a vice president who is better than me, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq. Someone who doesn't repeat bald-faced lies about earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere. Someone who doesn't appoint Alaskan politicians to "study" global warming, because, hello! It has been studied. The eturns are convincing enough that John McCain and Barack Obama are darned near in agreement.

Ebert's criticism of Palin's glasses in the penultimate paragraph is silly, but his conclusion is solid:

I trust the American people will see through Palin's facade, and save the Republic in November. The most damning indictment against her is that she considered herself a good choice to be a heartbeat away. That shows bad judgment.

I'm just not sure I share that trust. Bad judgment goes a long way in American politics, as does the appeal to the lowest common denominator.

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