She's covered about every possible base of wrong in this tour de force of wrongitude that Salon, for some unknowable reason, chose to publish. (Side note to Salon: please don't send me any more requests to renew my subscription until after Paglia's contract runs out and you stop publishing her.) She hits pretty much every right-wing meme as far as President-elect Obama is concerned, from the question about whether he'll be dragged to the left by Congress (if only!) to questions about his birth certificate (I'm not kidding!) to his association with William Ayers.
But it's her fawning adoration for Sarah Palin that is the grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth down by three that really makes this cycle a wonder to behold.
But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.Where to begin? Liberal Democrats disliked Governor Palin's position on abortion, no question, but it hardly started or ended there. After all, there are Democrats in position of great responsibility who oppose abortion--Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for example. No, it was her delusional suggestion that being a small town mayor and a governor of a low-population state for less than two years--and that is the sum total of her experience in government--made her more qualified to be President because it was executive experience than either Barack Obama or Joe Biden that had a bit to do with it. There was also her attitudes toward science in general, as shown by her stances on global warming and evolution, her open desire to ban books that challenged her ideology on gays from local libraries, her lack of understanding about geopolitics and so on that gave Democrats pause. Abortion was just one item on an all-you-can-eat buffet of do not want.
How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows....
I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.
And what's with the comparison of Palin's speech patterns to bebop jazz saxophonists? This is something that really grates on me as a lover of jazz and an (admittedly crappy) musician of sorts. There's this belief that jazz, because it is filled with improvisation, somehow lacks logic and structure, or that it trades structure for, as Paglia put it, "jumps, breaks and rippling momentum." The truth is that jazz, particularly bebop, is incredibly logical, that the jumps and breaks make sense and that the underlying melody--the argument of the song, you might say--can always be picked out. But Palin's sentences don't do that--her sentences jump and break, all right, but there's no underlying argument that can be parsed out of her sentences half the time. Sit down with the transcripts of her interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric and try to figure them out sometime. That's not bebop jazz--that's Ferris Bueller squealing on the clarinet and then saying into the camera "never had one lesson."
One last thing--it is not possible to be both anti-choice and a feminist. The two are mutually exclusive. Now it is possible to hold the personal belief that you would never have an abortion and be a feminist, but once you cross over the line into advocating that women don't have choice, you've left feminism behind, because the basis of feminism is that women should have autonomy. So no, Ms. Paglia, Governor Palin will not save feminism. She won't kill it, and neither will you much as you seem to be trying, but she certainly won't save it.