But like an open-mouthed motorist both fascinated and repulsed by a particularly gruesome accident, I feel like I can't ignore some of this absolutely pure, undiluted stupidity on display.
"I did see that Tina Fey was named entertainer of the year and Katie Couric’s ratings have risen," Palin said in the interview. "I know that a lot of people are capitalizing on, oh I don’t know, perhaps some exploiting that was done via me, my family, my administration--that’s a little bit perplexing, but it also says a great deal about our society."
Katie Couric was already the CBS anchorwoman before Palin sashayed on to the scene. There is no way Couric or CBS "exploited" Palin. They didn't make her look dumb; Palin did that on her own. And as for Fey, well....did Sarah Palin actually watch any SNL before McCain decided to pluck her from obscurity? And you can hardly fault Fey for milking the impersonation, since it was 1) hilarious 2) deadly accurate (half of her dialogue was direct quotes!) and 3) Tina Fey had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your perspective) of being Palin's spitting image to begin with.
And it doesn't say anything at all about "our society." You had several pratfalls in front of the entire world, and Couric and Fey had nothing to do with it. If they hadn't been on the scene, you'd have tripped over your tongue in front of somebody else. Like Charlie Gibson.
The Alaska governor was particularly upset with an SNL skit during which Fey's version of Palin said, "I believe marriage is meant to be a sacred institution between two unwilling teenagers."
The line was a clear reference to Palin's 18-year-old daughter Bristol and her fiancé Levi Johnston. The two announced shortly before the GOP convention that they were expecting a baby and had plans to marry.
"The mama grizzly rises up in me, hearing things like that," she said of a skit. "Here again, cool, fine come attack me. But when you make a suggestion like that that attacks a kid, it kills me."
1) Only a Republican would miss the joke in that line.
2) "Mama grizzly"? Didn't we have enough animal metaphors for Palin in the campaign?
3) By publicly complaining about being the butt of jokes (you're a politician, not royalty) you are ensuring your place as a permanent fixture on late night TV.
In the wide-ranging interview, Palin also faulted the McCain campaign for agreeing to a series of sit-downs with Couric after the first one appeared to go so poorly.
"I knew it didn’t go well the first day, and then we gave her a couple of other segments after that," she said. "And my question to the campaign was, after it didn’t go well the first day, why were we going to go back for more...going back for more was not a wise decision either."
During one of those follow-up interviews, Palin took heat for appearing to be unable to name the newspapers or magazines she reads: "Um of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years," was the Alaska governor's response.
In the interview with Ziegler, Palin called that answer "too flippant" and suggested the question itself offended her.
"To me the question was more along the lines of, ‘Do you read, what do you guys do up there, what is it that you read?’"
"...Katie, you’re not the center of everybody’s universe," Palin added off-handedly.
More finger-pointing and blame-dodging from the party of personal responsibility.
The "what do you read?" question was as soft a ball as you will ever find in an interview two months before a Presidential election without an incumbent running. Sarah, honey, baby, sweetheart, nobody knew who the fuck you were or what you thought about anything and we needed to learn very quickly. The question was designed to give you a chance to hint at your relative conservatism and/or centrism. If you came out and said "Weekly Standard, National Review, Wall St. Journal, and FOX News," that would have told us one thing. If you'd instead mentioned the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and CNN, that would have told us something else.
Instead you froze up like spit on Christmas in Anchorage and nervously stammered that you'd read all newspapers and magazines, at which point millions of people winced simultaneously. The question was not intended to put down Alaskans; the question was intended to reveal something about yourself. Which you certainly did.
Blaming Team McCain....well, they were dumb or desperate enough to shove you out there in front of the cameras, so I guess they can be faulted for that. But once you were on the air, Palin, nobody put your foot in your own mouth for you. You did that. You will have to live with that for the rest of your life, and I'd feel bad for you if you weren't, you know, such a sanctimonious fool.
And in case we haven't had enough chutzpah yet, we get the following:
Palin, who has long criticized media coverage of her campaign performance, also said she is interested to see if reporters are equally tough on Caroline Kennedy as she pursues the appointment to the likely-vacant Senate seat in New York.
"I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled, and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope," she said.
"It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here, also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be," she also said.
Uh-huh. Caroline Kennedy is trying to get appointed to the Senate. You tried to get elected to the Vice Presidency. Kennedy will indeed face less intense national scrutiny, and it won't be because of some mystical liberal media bias, it's because the election's fucking over and she's not trying to be Vice fucking President. Jeez.
And in any event, after an initial honeymoon, Kennedy no longer appears to be the smart money favorite (that would be Cuomo). So maybe she did get some scrutiny after all, eh?
As for this clown Ziegler....where to begin.
In 2005 Ziegler was the subject of a David Foster Wallace piece on right-wing talk radio. Ziegler seems like he's about par for the course as far as conservo radio shouters go, but he was very unhappy with his portrayal by Wallace. As I read it, and from the other horseshit that Ziegler has spewed over the years, I thought DFW was quite a bit more charitable than he might have been. And in any event, Wallace's writing has a tendency to focus on the flaws and warts as a way of illuminating the entire subject, no matter how uncomfortable. (Actually, if Wallace's writing does not make you at least a little uncomfortable you're probably too distracted with the footnotes.)
Ziegler's blog post noting Wallace's suicide in September was characteristically repugnant, petty, and ego-centric. It begins like this:
On Friday, acclaimed writer David Foster Wallace hanged himself. The literary world was rocked by the news. I was neither as surprised, nor as upset by this tragedy as the many in the elite realm of reputable literature seemed to be.
and gets worse from there (including bold proclamations of Ziegler's own ignorance, and a pronouncement that Wallace was a hack, which is an opinion shared by basically nobody).
As if picking a fight with one genius wasn't bad enough, Ziegler managed to start a very public feud with stats wizard Nate Silver, who was already famous for inventing PECOTA, an eerily accurate numerical simulation used for predicting the future performances of baseball players. Silver applied that expertise to the world of politics and came up with the renowned 538, which provided very good and very timely statistical analysis of opinion polls and did a solid job forecasting the election returns.
Ziegler has decided to leave talk radio (whew) and become a documentarian. (I think the righties are still feeling stung by both the accuracy and the financial success of Fahrenheit 9/11 and An Inconvenient Truth, because the conservative documentary genre has exploded in the last few years. Good luck with that.) In pursuit of that aim, Ziegler commissioned a push poll in the wake of the election that was criticized by Silver.
Silver followed this up with a heated interview of Ziegler that justly became well-known in the blogosphere for revealing even more of Ziegler's over-the-top douchebaggery.
(The general flavor of the interview can be summed up well by how it ends:
NS: Thank you, have a good day.)
JZ: Go fuck yourself.
Anyway, I say all this to note that Ziegler has done well to rise above being yet another grumpy right wing radio zombie wallowing in mediocrity; he has managed to humiliate himself with two completely different intellectual heavyweights while at the same time kissing up to someone who makes GW Bush look comsopolitan, well-informed, and in full command of the English language. Quite an acheivement, I'd say.
OK, that's enough of that for now. Feeling a bit under the weather today. Perhaps there will be some more music blogging later....