Leadfoot_LA, Bella, and guest reviewer "Papahio"
This week, we have a guest reviewer, my dad, who Bella calls "Papahio," because he lives in Ohio. He is visiting for the holidays. He is a card-carrying Republican, watches Glenn Beck, is part of the religious right, often complains government is "too big" and thinks Sarah Palin is hot. He falls within the 22% of the population that would consider voting for her for president. I know all this, but I confirm it once again before we start. He likes Sarah. "She is tough."
I should also say while I disagree with him on nearly everything political, I don't think my dad is stupid. He is well educated and travels a lot. He reads the newspaper and Internet news every day. He knows what is going on in the world and is very plugged in. But since he watches Fox News and listens to Rush Limbaugh, I do consider him misinformed. He considers me misguided. We mostly just agree to disagree.
And so we begin. On this week's episode of "Sarah Hates Treehuggers," raising teenagers is hard. The family will go to Afognak Island to explore the logging industry. Then Willow will learn to drive, in a race car. Excellent. Not only is my dad a Republican, he is also a former race car driver. He sees the clip and says, "there's no way that was her driving that car." I see a glimmer of hope.
Inside the Palin home, Tripp is standing on the table in his sweater PJs, and is quite possibly the world's cutest baby. Willow wants to go to the DMV. Todd says "later" and says that the older kids make more noise than the babies. Sarah says raising teenagers is way harder than raising babies. Piper wakes up and comes downstairs. Sarah says she needs her to help wrap presents for the families at the logging camp. Piper looks at Sarah like "are you crazy, bitch?" But after much prodding, both she and Willow help.
Todd is a "motor head and has always wanted to check out the Kodiak Island raceway." Since it is near the loggers, they will stop there too. Sarah blabs on and on about how it will be good for Willow to tag along so Sarah can help her experience as much as she can to help her find her path in life. Since her mom is worth upwards of $25 million, I doubt she will become a logger or a race car driver, but I bite my tongue.
Trig is standing on the landing of the stairwell looking through the glass and Todd asks him, "where's your muscles?" Trig lifts up his arms and flexes his biceps. SO CUTE! Bella says she loves Trig.
They leave, saying goodbye to Piper, Trig and Tripp at the door. I say, "Piper is staying home alone to watch both boys!?" Bella points out there was an "old grandma lady" sitting on the stairs. I rewind and see that it is that same nanny we saw with Bristol at Target last summer is there. Whatever, it wouldn't have surprised me if Piper were left in charge.
On the drive there, Sarah says, "OH JEEZ!" and then explains the whole refudiate incident. "I pressed an F instead of a D" No, Sarah, you pressed an F instead of a P. God, she STILL can't get it right. On her own damn show! (I laugh out loud because as I type refudiate, it gets underlined with a red line. Thank you, Steve Jobs.) She says, with extreme venom in her voice, that "the English language is a living, breathing, evolving art. I can invent a word." Dad says, "No, you can't. That means you are changing the rules."
Clip: Sarah Palin talks about the "refudiate" tweet
I point out that first she says it was a typing error, then in the next breath, says she did it on purpose to invent a word and evolve our language. A great example of a Sarah contradiction. My dad just nods silently. Todd and Willow do the same. They have no interest in what Sarah is whining about.
They get in a small plane to head off to logging camp. Dad says, "I wonder how many old Beavers are out there like that." Thinking he is talking about Sarah, I look at him like, WTF? He explains that the beaver is the plane. LOL! Oops.
At the logging camp, Sarah is wearing a shirt that says "Fight Like a Girl." She is amazed at how beautiful this part of Alaska is. The hosts pick them up and show them the cook house. Tim is the logging camp chef. Sarah tells him "Willow is available to help." Willow is texting on her iPhone. Probably something along the lines of "My mom is nuts. Send help!" They are led to a junky cabin that Sarah says is "beeee-oooooh-ti-ful." Willow has to stay behind while Sarah & Todd go to the logging site. Sarah tells her to stay off her phone and help out Tim. Dad says, "boy, Willow sure is a gorgeous girl." Bella agrees. I still prefer Bristol, but can't disagree that Willow is attractive too.
The lumberjack guy teaches Sarah how to use a chainsaw. "Stepping into any area where there is a potential to get hurt makes me nervous," she says. The logger says, "when you hit a knot, that chainsaw will come right back at ya and hit you in the face. A chainsaw can take your life faster than a Colt 45." I say, "Oh please let that happen." Dad is not amused. He gives me that, "I raised you better than that" look.
Sarah cuts down the tree and says "that was stressful!" Then the fallen tree needs to be cut into smaller pieces to be shipped. Sarah wants to do this part too. She says, "this is really hard work. I was ready to go home after cutting down one tree." There is a variation of this in every episode. It is hard work, I wanted to quit, I have respect for those who do it. It is a metaphor for her life, though I don't think she realized it. The logger asks her to sign his chainsaw and she does. He says he is proud of it and will retire that chainsaw. Dad says that Sarah is "continually euphoric." He means this in a positive way. I tell him we call that "manic" on the blog. Bella looks at us and seems nervous that we might fight.
They pick up Willow to go replant trees. She is explaining that trees are a renewable resource so the industry is great for America. Willow looks bored. "She is always trying to convince her kids to go along," says Dad. He says that my sisters and I were very adventurous and never had to be convinced to go along with our parents.
They are replanting saplings when Sarah calls Willow over and Willow ignores her. Sarah says that sometimes Willow has selective hearing and that as a parent you have to remember that you are not your teenager's friend, you are their parent. She "wants her kids to obey and to make the right decisions, so you have to be a parent first." I know my dad agrees with the "obey" philosophy, so I leave it alone. He does too, but asks what type of vernacular that is. I say "annoying." Bella laughs.
Sarah takes Willow to the beach for a mother-daughter chat. Sarah says that she has to get Willow through the next 10 years without rolling her eyes. I remember, during the filming of this very series, that it was SARAH who rolled her eyes at the teacher in Homer. Guess you can't ask your kids to "obey" when you set such a bad example, can you Sarah? She tells Willow, "you will learn something from these people! You know what wood is used for?!" Willow tells her that she is concentrating on skipping rocks, so stop talking. Sarah says she has to help Tim in the mess hall so she learns some job skills because "what will she do if she can't cook food for herself and others?" Willow says, "frozen microwave food." I think "breaking and entering" -- which Willow was involved in just weeks before this was filmed. Sarah says, "I am throwing away your cell phone. You are impossible." Of course she does not actually do this.
Sarah says the number one one lesson she wants to impart upon Willow is work ethic. Before I can stop myself, I yell out, "Bitch, you quit your JOB!" Dad says that is a good point and asks, "if she gets elected president, will she quit halfway through?" I tell him to remember that when it is time to vote in the Republican primaries.
Sarah tells Willow to step out of her comfort zone and Willow rolls her eyes. HA! Sarah says that Willow is going to drive her crazy. Willow says her mom is driving her crazy, but "I guess that is her job."
On the commercial, my dad says "You have to admit, she'll try anything. She's a real man's woman." I say "you think she's REALLY like that?" And he says, "yes, she wasn't squeamish around the fish." I say, "wait just a minute...you have watched this show before?!" He admits that he has. He explains that he could never see my mother cutting down trees like Sarah. Fair point. But my mother isn't trying to make money from a fake political ad reality show.
Sarah kisses Willow goodbye and Willow has a look on her face that says, "Mom, you never kiss me. What the hell are you doing!?" Sarah tells her to stay off her cell phone and help out in the mess hall. See, I knew she wouldn't really throw it away. Sarah = no follow through. Willow, who just stares at her, always looks guilty.
Sarah runs the shovel log machine and she says she she is scared because she has no clue what she is doing, and it looks like a very expensive piece of equipment. Gee, just like running the government of a large state, or say, a country! She is able to run the machine and move logs. She has to swing the log onto the pile and jokes, "I'm not much of a swinger here, so I want to go slow." I remember that the Wasilla rumor mill said she and Todd used to be exactly that -- swingers. Ironically, right at this moment, Dad notices that Sarah is not wearing a wedding ring. I tell him she threw it in lake Lucille.
Sarah calls Willow on the CB to check on her. Willow says she didn't help Tim cook at all yet, but she did go to the mess hall to eat. LOL. Sarah tells her again to go help. On the drive back, Sarah says, "all those conservationists write me nasty letters because I support an industry like this. They write their nasty little letters with their little pencils on their pretty little stationery without ever realizing where that pencil and paper came from -- wood." Dad says, "that was pretty condescending. She has no national political potential at all." Wow. I feel all hopey and changey inside.
Clip: Sarah Palin talks about the "conservationists"
Todd drives a boat to move the logs out of the water onto cargo ships. He explains that the controls were awkward. My dad says, "that is the first time I've ever heard him speak." LOL! Now Sarah has to try it and rams it into the log pile. They return to the camp, walk into the mess hall, and find
Willow is in the kitchen, chopping lettuce. "Holy Jeez," says Sarah. She is very proud because Willow was actually "hearing" her. "Willow is not happy at all," says Bella.
They go to the recreation center at the camp and play a game of Eskimo Bingo to distribute the gifts. Basically, there are 10 minutes on the clock and you have to roll dice. Whomever rolls doubles gets to pick a gift. Sarah is wearing a coat that says, "Sarah Palin, always a warrior." What the hell?! I ask dad, "Doesn't her voice bug you?" He says no, not at all. Ugh.
Now they're off to Kodiak island to visit the race track. Todd takes the first lap as my dad points out how crappy the track is. "It's covered with gravel!" Willow gets in her car and he says, "what junk." They are going to compare lap times. The person with the fastest lap is the winner. Todd runs a 25-second lap, then a 23-second lap and a 24-second lap. Now it is Willow's turn. She feels a bit claustrophobic. Sarah says "BE CONFIDENT!" Sarah tells Todd, "I want her to go fast. I want her her to have a competitive bone in her body, I want her to win. I want her to beat you." I want her to just let Willow be a kid and not demand that she be just like Sarah.
Sarah waves a checkered flag to get Willow to start (instead of the green flag). I did not notice, but my dad picks up on it right away. He is disgusted. Hahaha. He looks at me with astonishment, like, "how can Sarah not know the difference between racing flags?! I mean, EVERYONE knows that!!"
Willow runs a 30-second lap, and is screaming the whole time. Then a 23-second lap. I think, "man, Todd sucks!" Willow can't find the brake and drives the car into a dirt pile to stop. Dramatic music. Commercial. Bella says, "She didn't hit that hard." My dad says "and obviously she is ok because we would have heard about it if she weren't." Sarah goes on about how she couldn't bear it if one of her kids were hurt, and the mama grizzly in her came out Willow crashed. A fire truck rushes over, and people go running to help her. Inside the car, she is laughing and 100% fine. She is grinning ear to ear, which is nice to see.
They go to Frasier Lake to go bear watching. Willow actually asks the guide questions and listens to his answers. I am proud of her. She still looks like she would rather be at the mall, but at least she wants to learn.
We close on a long shot of the Palin home. I pause it on the screen and show my dad the 14-foot fence and the windows from the sports complex. He says he heard the author who moved in next door might be a creeper who wanted to spy on Sarah's kids. Oh lord, her messaging actually works.
Sarah says that she understands that the mother bear will protect her kids when they are being challenged. I assume she means buying Willow's way out of the $30,000 in damage she did to the home she broke into, partied in, and destroyed, so that Willow would not have to face criminal charges. I'm not sure the grizzly would have done the same. She says she is confident that Willow will find her way, because Track has found it, and Bristol has found it, so Willow will too. I guess that depends on your expectations for today's youth. This woman honestly just leaves EVERYTHING up to a roll of the dice.
They go home and are greeted by the two boys. Todd carries Trig inside, Sarah carries Tripp. Willow says, "Can we go to the DMV now?" Todd says they can.
The episode ends and I ask Dad, "so? What do you think?" He answers, "she is basically just an over exposed homemaker with an adventurous side." I say, "Yep, and she is not smart enough to be a politician." And he says, "No, not at all." I say, "so would you still vote for her?" Without even hesitating, he says no.
Tonight was a big night, Gaters. You know that fable about the people walking on the beach, seeing a starfish, picking it up and throwing it into the sea? The woman says, "but there are tons of starfish, you can't possibly save them all." And the man says, "but it made a difference to that one." That is what I feel like tonight. We changed one mind. It might be a drop in a very, very large bucket. But we did manage to change one (very strong) Republican mind.
The week after next week: The 2-hour finale!! (Next Sunday, January 2, is only repeats)
UPDATE (by Patrick):
Many thanks to Leadfoot and her illustrious guest reviewers! ;-)
I think Leadfoot completely outdid herself again. What a pleasure to read! I am now hoping for a second series of Sarah's "self-love-fest" just so that we can read Leadfoot's reviews again.
Also many thanks to Kathleen for putting the post up while I was away.
Our trusty reader sleuth again captured the chat which was going on at Palingates during the broadcast, with 31 members online - it can be downloaded here.
What else happened?
Well, the "New York Daily News" doesn't agree with Sarah's recollection regarding the usage of her immortal creation "refudiate." It's a very good article - but it won't stop the "Sarah the saviour" personality cult which seems to be more rampant than ever, filling the alternate reality of the Palinbots.
Judging by the frantic twittering of Palin's unwavering fans, Saint Sarah is about to be anointed straight away. This is a random tweet amongst the new "flurry" of "cult tweets" I just picked up:
So what did "USA Today" actually write about Sarah Palin?
Sarah Palin continued to punctuate many paragraphs in her books and speeches with references to God. The ex-governor, maybe-presidential-candidate could be nudging out other voices on the religious right in political influence (although she has one of its most conservative and inflammatory voices, Rev. Franklin Graham, on speed dial.)
Well...it does sound a bit different than in this tweet above, doesn't it...?
But then we have a poll at the end of the article! Halleluja! No poll is ridiculous enough that it cannot be rigged by a Palinbot! Sarah, the holy spirit of Alaska, CLEARLY is more important than the pope, isn't she? Sarah, we PRAY to you!
Last episode next week.
It anticipates the theme for 2011:
I almost forget to mention Robert J. Elisberg's spot-on post on HuffPost - excerpt:
Surely it's just an oversight that Ms. Palin, the former half-term governor, forgot to blast some other politician's wife, Laura Bush, four years earlier for promoting literacy. Or complaining about Hootie Owl telling kids to "Give a hoot, don't pollute."
This isn't just ridiculous, it's ridiculous and ignorant. It doesn't just ignore the serious reality that one-third of American children are overweight or obese which risks damaging diseases, like diabetes - but it presumes that the First Lady has actual governing powers, and that her issue (like ALL issues by America's First Ladies, ever) is legally binding.
It's further evidence that our national crazy, goofy uncle Ms. Palin is limited to whining. Stamp the name "Obama" on it, and she'll complain. And since she's far out of her depth with the president, she's left with snarking on his wife. Mind you, Ms. Palin is the same hypocrite who whines whenever her own family is addressed (despite herself using them as circus props) -- now she's saying that another public figure's family member is fair game. It's a dangerous game for her to play, because that ice she's skating on is painfully thin.
But then, Sarah Palin is pretty much out of her depth on everything. She bizarrely complained about President Obama because North Korea attacked South Korea, getting our "North" ally wrong in the process, while even that other famed Obama complainer, Liz Cheney, acknowledged the blame belonged on the Bush administration. She's whined about bloggers, David Letterman, Newsweek covers, being asked what she reads, and on and on.
This is a person who even complained about lack of privacy while getting paid to have her life filmed for a reality TV show.
Also, "Salon" did a very good job in publishing an impressive number of quotes from the "chorus of criticism" which is directed at Sarah Palin by - Republicans.
The game now seems to turn into "Saint Sarah against virtually everyone else." Can she win it? Can she crush the competition? Will she strike down her enemies? Will she become more popular than the pope and Glenn Beck combined?
I don't know. Ask your nearest Palinbot. In any case, let's conclude with some more brilliance by Robert J. Elisberg:
She's never been outside the U.S., except for one speech in Hong Kong and a photo op in Haiti. She told Glenn Beck that her favorite Founding Father was "All of them." She struggled to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with. She couldn't name a newspaper or magazine she read. Being able to see Russia from Alaska was the answer a clueless third-grader would give. She cowardly runs from serious interviews. She doesn't even have expertise in her sole area of self-professed "expertise" -- oil, never having actually worked in the oil industry, but serving on a state board, briefly.
She's your crazy, goofy uncle -- who your crotchety grandpa John McCain asked to be his traveling companion, shocking the relatives.