10.31.2009 0

Political Pornography

  • On: 11/25/2009 09:18:32
  • In: Sarah Palin
  • by David Bozeman

    Today I bought the now infamous Newsweek edition featuring Sarah Palin, clad in running shorts, on the cover. The political junkie in me thought it a great piece of memorabilia. The regular guy in me thinks she looks awesome, and I can’t stop looking at it.

    Typical of some men ashamed of purchasing skin magazines, I sandwiched it between an aviation monthly and a newspaper, hoping the cashier, twenty years my junior, wouldn’t notice. Thanks for the awkward moment, Newsweek. Ironic, since you used to be one of the legitimate publications. And yes, their analysis of Sarah Palin is as substantive as a skin rag and about as relevant.

    It doesn’t end with the out-of-context cover (taken from Runner’s World). The contents page inexplicably features a full photo of Levi Johnston, Playgirl model and the father of Palin’s grandson. He, as a subject, barely fills a single paragraph in one of the Palin hit pieces, though he briefly opines on the Perspective page that Playgirl is not porn and may even be art (ahh, wisdom beyond his years). The contents page for the Features section shows the back of candidate Palin’s legs at a 2008 rally, with three young men’s eyes locked in a hypnotic gaze. Inside, among various photos, is one of a Palin doll, clad in a naughty school-girl uniform: high socks, short skirt and a tear-away top with a sexy red bra underneath.

    Nice work. Start dusting off your mantles, editors, I smell a Pulitzer.

    The cover story ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah’ doesn’t even aspire to objectivity. Apparently, even studmuffin Johnston merits more space than a pro-Palin conservative. Evan Thomas warns that Palin and the right are attempting to purge the GOP of its moderate wing, much to its peril. Nothing new here, and the fact that self-professed conservatives tend to outperform such mushy moderates as Bob Dole and John McCain says more about the American electorate than it does about Sarah Palin.

    The acerbic Christopher Hitchens tried to debunk Palin as a populist, a notion recently advanced in The Weekly Standard. He “takes care of the lazy charge” that liberal hatred of Palin is predicated on disdain for people who don’t live in big east coast cities. He writes that FDR’s appointee for governorship of the Alaska Territory in 1939 was, in fact, highly regarded. Ernest Gruening, a war veteran, spent fourteen years at the post and went on to serve honorably in the Senate for about a decade. One small fact decimates Hitchens’ argument — that he had to reach back seventy years to find — is that Gruening was once an editor for The Nation magazine. An impressive legacy, but far-leaning leftists, wherever they come from, will always be hailed by one another. Whether they win the affection of average citizens is another story.

    Hitchens concludes — and I’m paraphrasing — that for the US to stand tall, science, technology and higher education must advance. This will happen in big cities and on the east coast. There will always be groups who feel disrespected and left behind. We must reason with such people and not act as their ventriloquist or megaphone.

    Excuse me! Do you think I’m some illiterate hayseed? Middle-class Americans in the South and West don’t feel left behind — we’re leading the way! Because of repressive taxation and regulation, America’s most productive are leaving the eastern urban centers in droves for the Sun Belt. We don’t shun technology and advancement — we wish government would get out of the way and allow more of it. Sarah Palin inspires Americans to rely not on demagogues of any stripe but on themselves, thus the leftists are terrified of her.

    While Hitchens’ arguments are not pornographic, they fail to revive what used to be a respectable publication. He is famous for attacking none other than God and Mother Teresa, and while Palin is not in their league, she, at least, stands in good company. Too bad Christopher Hitchens, by collaborating with purveyors of soft political porn, can’t say the same thing.

    David Bozeman is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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