I hope that you all have a nice and relaxing weekend, and as usual, many things are going on in Palinworld at the same time. Let's take a closer look at some of them. Did you ever hear of "Palinman?" Well, to be perfectly honest, I haven't really heard much of him up until now, but this has changed. ;-)
So, who is "Palinman?" Well, he calls himself Gary and he has a website, which has been registered anonymously, on which he declares:
Palinman represents the everyday woman and man; an icon for all Americans who believe in the healthy principles and conservative beliefs on which our great country was founded...
These principles were structured to deliver ordinary people like us a voice in the public forum, and a system to have that voice make a difference.
Palinman is asking all fair and reasonable thinking Americans like you to join this cause and help restore those conservative ideals.
Here's to a swift return of Judeo–Christian principles, conservative core values, and a much stronger United States of America!
But there is more. He even has a "tour", and he proudly proclaims:
Palinman's complete tour schedule can be found at the official Sarah Palin facebook site with locations and addresses!
Of, course, the "Palinman-Gear" is "coming soon" as well.
But, can he be "real" and not a parody? YOU BETCHA!
So why am I "excited" about "Palinman?" Because this guy manages "instantly" to "bring out the stupid" in Sarah Palin, as can be seen in the following clip. Look the future President of the United States of America in the eyes, Ladies and Gentleman:
Sarah Palin's stare very much reminded me of THIS clip.
But Palinman doesn't only "bring out the stupid" in Sarah Palin, but also in Palin's followers:
So where does "Palinman" come from? You would think that "Gary" might be a guy who successfully "punked" Palin, but apparently that's not the case. From the "Columbus Dispatch":
Palin laughed when she beheld Gary L. Chiero, decked from head-to-toe in Palin garb -- from a baseball cap announcing that he was a "Palin Man," to "Palin Posse" painted on the tip of his tennis shoes, to the "Top 10 reasons to stay up all night to meet Sarah Palin" on the back of his shirt (No. 1, "To hear her say 'You Betcha!' ").
Chiero had put employees in his screen printing business to work: "I got here at 8 o'clock last night and spent the night -- and I'd do it all over again," he said.
Thank you, Palinman! Good work! ;-)
Sarah Palin's "star-struck" fans undoubtedly love her reality show "Sarah Palin's Alaska" as well, and in a soon to be aired episode, there will be a special treat: Sarah Palin meets Kate Gosselin and her family! Woo-hoo! Palin not just "meets" Kate, but also wants to "protect" her, because Kate Gosselin apparently has never seen a forest from the inside:
I cannot wait for Leadfoot's and Bella's review of this episode! ;-)
Let's move to the more serious topics. One of our most favorite publicists is Frank Schaeffer (link to his website), author of "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back."
Frank Schaeffer on the Rachel Maddow show in November 2009:
Frank Schaeffer is about to publish a new book, and this one promises to be equally interesting and important. It's called "Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway."
From the description on Amazon:
From the author of "Crazy for God and Patience with God", this is the third book in Frank Schaeffer's one-of-a-kind trilogy about God, religion, growing up evangelical - and living the life that came after. With laugh-out-loud scenes from his childhood and youth and acidic ruminations on the present state of an America he and his fundamentalist parents help create, Frank Schaeffer asks what the Becks and the Limbaughs and the Palins and the paranoid fantasies of the 'right-wing echo chamber' are really all about. Here's a hint: sex.
The author's far-from-prudish evangelical mother sweetly but bizarrely provides startling (and hilarious) juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual during his childhood and youth. As the author himself explains: 'I'm a novelist and storyteller. So my way of telling the Big Story of what the religious right did to America is to fold it into the individual story of my life. I do this for two reasons: first, it's (I hope) entertaining and provides insight into the evangelical right-wing mindset. Second, it so happens that my father and mother (Francis and Edith Schaeffer) and I became leaders in the far religious-right movement and so had a big impact on America. My story is a window into millions of similar lives but also the (somewhat scandalous and controversial) story of one life and family that touched millions of others. 'Dip into my life and learn why certain folks have a perpetual chip on their shoulder over imagined grievances to the point where they hate their (own democratically) elected government and-curiously, in the name of 'patriotism' - are thoroughly anti-American.
Hang out with the Schaeffer clan for a bit and discover why the religious right is rooting for the Apocalypse while also regarding themselves as victims of the liberal elite and all the while mired in perpetual sexual dysfunction and weirdness that creates a self-loathing culture that lashes out at the rest of us. And they do it all in the Name of Jesus.
This seems to be a book that nobody should miss. Unfortunately, it will still take a while until we can get our hands on it, as it will only appear on May 31, 2011, according to Amazon.
On another topic, I would like to point out that the "Alaska Dispatch" continues to receive more and more attention. The "American Journalism Review", the people who should really know something about the "who, what, where, when, and why of reporting", published a special report about the Alaska Dispatch, which is worth reading, called "Dispatches from the Last Frontier." Excerpt:
Like most of its predecessors, the Dispatch's genesis stems from the decline of the traditional media. Big stories across the state were going uncovered, Hopfinger says. The Dispatch exists to fill that void.
Hopfinger's staff is small: 10 in the newsroom. More than a dozen paid and unpaid contributors also provide content, but most of the editorial heavy lifting is left up to the Dispatch's four reporters, all seasoned journalists. Hopfinger describes the site's focus as a mix of daily journalism and deep-dive projects that other media outlets lack the money or manpower to pull off.
I find this very fascinating, as we now see the creation of online papers, which at some point could be a real threat to the established press, in case this business model succeeds. Make also sure to read Phil Munger's post about the "Alaska Dispatch" with more background information.
The Alaska Dispatch gives me a lot of hope that critical and investigative "mainstream reporting" is still possible in Alaska, although the "real journalistic test" for journalists in Alaska, Sarah Palin's run for President, hasn't even started yet.
CNN has to be commended to try to "bend the rules" in order to avoid Sarah Palin's media blockage:
Once inside, customers were required to present receipts for their books as a proof of purchase. They waited patiently as country music wafted through the box store, and several customers told CNN they had trekked all the way from Georgia or North Carolina for a moment with Palin.
That was until a store employee told the reporter that press were not permitted to speak with customers inside the store, or leave the roped-off cafe area that had been designated for them.
"It's a Sarah rule, not our rule," the employee said, apologetically. Another store representative told reporters that the strict rules were handed down via Palin's publishing house, HarperCollins.
I think that CNN should hire Palinman! He apparently doesn't have any problems to talk to customer and to take footage of Sarah Palin...!
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the article by Kathleen Kennedy in the Washington Post from Friday, titled "Sarah Palin is wrong about John F. Kennedy, religion and politics." It's one of the best commentaries yet which were written about Sarah Palin, an exquisite take-down of Sarah Palin's extreme political views. Kathleen Kennedy explains why Sarah Palin is nothing but a dangerous and self-righteous demagogue:
Palin writes that when she was growing up, she was taught that Kennedy's speech had "succeeded in the best possible way: It reconciled public service and religion without compromising either." Now, however, she says she has revisited the speech and changed her mind. She finds it "defensive . . . in tone and content" and is upset that Kennedy, rather than presenting a reconciliation of his private faith and his public role, had instead offered an "unequivocal divorce of the two."
Palin's argument seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office. A careful reading of her book leads me to conclude that Palin wishes for precisely such a test. And she seems to think that she, and those who think like her, are qualified to judge who would pass and who would not.
If there is no religious test, then there is no need for a candidate's religious affiliation to be "reconciled." My uncle urged that religion be private, removed from politics, because he feared that making faith an arena for public contention would lead American politics into ill-disguised religious warfare, with candidates tempted to use faith to manipulate voters and demean their opponents.
Palin's book makes clear just how dangerous her proposed path can be. Not only does she want people to reveal their beliefs, but she wants to sit in judgment of them if their views don't match her own. For instance, she criticizes Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), a Democrat and a faithful Catholic, for "talking the (God) talk but not walking the walk."
Who is Palin to say what God's "walk" is? Who anointed her our grand inquisitor?
This is a woman who also praises Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural, even though Lincoln explicitly declared, "But let us judge not that we not be judged." The problem for those setting up a free-floating tribunal to evaluate faith is that, contrary to Lincoln, they are installing themselves as judges who can look into others' souls and assess their worthiness.
Kennedy did not and would not do that, but not because he was indifferent to faith. In fact, unlike Romney or Palin, in fealty to both his faith and the Constitution, he promised on that day in Houston that he would resign if his religion ever interfered with his duty as president.
My uncle was a man who had his faith tested. His brother and brother-in-law were killed in World War II, and his sister died in a plane crash soon after the war. He suffered from painful injuries inflicted during his Navy service when his PT boat was cut in two by a Japanese destroyer. His God did not make life easy but did require a commitment to justice.
But will Sarah Palin's fans be impressed with that? No. They couldn't care less. Sarah Palin is a "star", she is a "hockey-mom", she "loves America", she is "hot", so what more do you need to know.
Sarah Palin is a demagogue who will do everything to get elected in 2012 - and so will her fanatical followers. The problem in my opinion is not necessarily her shrinking base of hardcore fans, but this, as published today by Andrew Sullivan:
Extremists and demagogues are usually elected when a country is in a terrible economic mess. There will be a growing number of voters in the USA who will be desperate for a "saviour", who will believe that all other politicians and "elites" have failed, and that radical change is needed. That will be Sarah Palin's "ticket."
Adolf Hitler came to power not because a large part of the population thought that it was a good idea to exterminate all Jews (only a tiny minority held those extreme beliefs), but because they were desperate for a change of the terrible economic situation and also desperate for jobs. The Nazi Propaganda exploited this situation, for example in this famous propaganda poster from 1932, claiming that Adolf Hitler was "Our last hope":
That's why it's so important to fight against extremists like Sarah Palin, who under normal circumstances would never really have a chance to get into a position of power.
In terrible economic situations, many people become increasingly irrational. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that Sarah Palin will simply "go away." She won't. However, I do believe that serious reporting about Palin's various dirty secrets will damage her mass appeal "beyond repair." Let's hope that the media will finally get their act together.
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