Sarah Palin is officially running for president. Sarah Palin!
That is all.
I was reading an interesting article recently. Some magazine had given a copy of Bob Dylan’s career retrospective Biograph to ten hipsters under the age of twenty-two. Most of the sample group did not know who Dylan was. A few had heard of him, but couldn’t name any of his songs. The magazine asked each hipster to listen to the set all the way through and then write down their impressions. Every single one of them hated it. They belittled his voice, his arrangements, his style. The comments were brutal, ranging from bored dismissal to outright loathing.
I did not find their reaction particularly surprising. Here’s what I did find surprising: the next issue of the magazine was full of outraged letters to the editor. Mostly from boomers appalled that a column would solicit the opinions of such insipid young people. Could they not find a more educated (less ethnic/urban) and well-spoken sample group? There were broad denunciations of video games, Lady Gaga, vampires, reality TV, and the breakdown of popular culture. There were encomiums to the genius of Dylan, vociferous defenses of Subterranean Homesick Blues, hand-wringing about the digital age, and a general anger at the magazine itself for so irresponsibly giving voice to (those who should probably remain voiceless) an ill-shaven, overly tattooed assemblage with clearly limited perspective and absolutely no future.
You don’t remember Berkeley Square in ’69? Well, then, my young friend, you’re an ignorant douche.
These poutraged letter writers were so invested in the soundtrack of their own foundational experiences that they couldn’t see the irony in damning something Bobby Zimmerman supposedly stood for above all else. Dissenting opinion. Which seems to have a lot less to do with music and more to do with protecting a particular lifestyle investment. They prefer to be surrounded by (or even read about) those who already agree with them, who share their references and tastes, and who confirm all that they already know to be correct.
Which is essentially what a Sarah Palin campaign will not only embody, but celebrate unrepentantly. It will be a love affair between an angry skirt and those clutching a metaphorical copy of Biograph (or in this case Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom) to their concrete hearts, never to entertain, let alone accept, a version of events that doesn’t wholly buttress who they already are.
In truth I don’t think it matters much if Sarah Palin runs or not. There’s no way a walking punchline can get elected in 2012. Beneath the flaky partisan scab both sides have picked at over the last three years, most of the country lays hurt and raw, with an unspoken understanding that things are far too dire to elect the dimmest bulb amongst us. Obama, even if you hate him, has undeniably demonstrated a velvet ruthlessness. It turns out, much to the surprise of Hillary Clinton’s media fixers, that Barry is exactly the person you want answering the phone when it rings at 3 a.m. Abstinence, boilerplate homilies, and lipstick are not going to sweat him much in crucial swing states. Now you may say “but Ronald Reagan was a constant national punchline before he was elected, and now he’s considered throughout Realm Murdoch to be the greatest president ever, essentially the embodiment of the conservatism orgasm,” and you’d be right. But the difference is that Reagan sported (presumably) a cock. America is just not ready to elect a female punchline as president. That will not always be true. In fact, eight years from now we might well elect Tracy Chapman in a surge of love for gay black women (she’s got my vote–in fact, Shirley Chisholm is probably my favorite candidate of all time) but right now gender lines and old prejudices will hold firm. Palin will entertain. She will do her dancing monkey act, for which she will be tossed quarters and peanuts. She will provide the requisite headlines and the usual magnetic polemicism, but will ultimately founder, face down in brackish water, on the shoals of the South Carolina primary. And with any luck her lifeless body will quickly get sucked through the intake turbine at Savannah River and be used to cool plutonium control rods before slowly disintegrating into a puddle of harmless neutron-rich slough.
At any rate, the Republican nominee will almost certainly be Mitt Romney, even though there’s probably only eight people in America who genuinely like him, because the Grand Old Party believes in nothing so much as orderly ascension. Romney came in second to McCain, and so, despite his standing for absolutely nothing, he will be nominated. And then he will be forced to kiss the feet of the infidel Obama, despite the best efforts of his campaign manager, J. Angelus Moroni.
You know who would really be dangerous? Governor Rick Perry of Texas.
Palin is nothing but a sock puppet. Rick Perry is a Bruce Willis meteor-pocalypse waiting to happen.
And it’s not really that farfetched.
I can’t figure out if this story is about jizz or payback. What guy who has spent his entire life in front of the media, is extremely savvy, and who runs a trillion dollar company is so stupid he thinks he can get away with raping a maid? I mean, seriously. Was Dominique Strauss-Kahn set up, or what?
Okay, so here’s this French quasi-presidential candidate in a three thousand a night Manhattan hotel room, and he’s horny. He also just so happens to be the head of the IMF. He’s a fat, white glop of privilege, who prefers, when having an erection lasting more than four hours and needing to call his physician, to tuck his knob into something weak and helpless. He’s about to hop a flight back to Paris and would love to rub one out before dealing with the stress of airport security and seatback trays. What luck! While stepping out of the Cararra-tiled shower, there’s a knock at the front door. All he has to do is loosen the towel from around his prodigious waist and unfurl little D’artagnan, because the gods have favored him with a maid. Now, this particular maid is an immigrant from Guinea (once known–ha ha, how ironic, as French Guinea!), one of the poorest countries in the world, tucked safely away in Equatorial Outtasightouttamind, where the IMF can manipulate it with impunity. And she has the misfortune to walk, arms loaded with fresh soaps and pillow-chocolates, right into the loving arms of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The alleged events are thus: the head of the International Monetary Fund grabbed the first horrified West African maid at his disposal, forced himself into her mouth in a live reenactment of one of the lamest colonialist metaphors since the fall of Batavia, left a wet Lewinsky signature across her shirt, and then whistled a tune of happy release while getting dressed and hopping into his limo, a modern Chevalier.
As it turns out, servitude (affordable labor/voiceless flatbacking) and raw materials (bauxite/women’s bodies) are the IMF’s grist. Loans given with unfavorable terms in exchange for impossible policy and governance commitments are its stick. Spread-legged international markets for laissez faire western corporations are its purpose. Cheap plastic shit at cheap discount prices are our eventual Big Box reward.
The Dust’s Sad State of the World Today Moment: a fairly honorable idea evolves from Bretton Woods to rapacious commerce to groping maids in less than three generations.
But more importantly, was Dominique Strauss-Kahn set up? Well, as you point out, Rich, they seem to have found incriminating DNA-match semen on the maid’s shirt. Allegedly. Where could this DNA have come from? Almost anywhere, really. It could have gotten on that shirt in a hundred different ways. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, as has been pointed out repeatedly, has many enemies in France who would pay dearly to discredit him. Not to mention all the countries the IMF is currently fucking over. They would all love to smear his good name (actually not that good, since he’s well known not only as a womanizer, but an aggressive and annoying letch) and what better way to do so? Send in a blond maid? A Dane? Some redheaded American pinup? No. Only a Haitian maid would have stretched credulity more. If you were writing a spy thriller vehicle for Angelina Jolie, spending late nights at your laptop with gallons of espresso and cartons of cigarettes trying to pound out an even marginally believable script, don’t you think having your European Economist Bad Guy (I’m seeing Brian Dennehy) rape an African Maid (I’m seeing Thandie Newton) might be the perfect ironic twist? Then Angelina could get in a really great one liner, like “Take your capital infrastructure preconditions straight back to hell where you belong, corporate dog!” before roundhouse kicking him off the roof of the IMF penthouse in the final reel, thus making the world safe for foreign investment (and a sequel) again.
Yes, Rich, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was almost certainly set up. No way a guy that powerful and savvy would allow his entire career to be ruined by the trembling urges of his Chauve a col roule.
Gary Hart, in a recent essay posted on Slate from his Bimini compound, says “No way.”
In the end, it is not Nicolas Sarkozy (who 57% of French citizens think is the likely culprit for a DSK set up) that stands to benefit the most here. The clear beneficiary is Marine Le Pen, whose mix of Palin-style economic populism and bluntly stated distaste for the growing number of unassimilated North African residents in France, will almost certainly make her the next French president.
Unless, of course, she attacks an Algerian bell boy at the Marseilles Hilton, forcing her National Front twat into his unwilling mouth.
It could happen.
But if it doesn’t?
Fear Le Pen.
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Talk Shit. Be Vulnerable.
Go ahead, I know it hurts.
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