Monday, September 01, 2008

Maureen Dowd’s shameless Palin screed

The NY Times’ Maureen Dowd surely meant her latest column – “Vice in Go-Go Boots?” - to be a witty parody of Governor Sarah Palin’s public career and family life, with a few barbs aimed at people questioning some of what Sen. and Mrs. Obama have said and done thrown in.

But what Dowd wound up producing is a shameless screed oozing nastiness, sexism, condescension and unintended self-parody.

The self-parody begins right at the head of her screed:

"The guilty pleasure I miss most when I’m out slogging on the campaign trail is the chance to sprawl on the chaise and watch a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick."

"So imagine my delight, my absolute astonishment, when the hokey chick flick came out on the trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime."

"Instead of going home and watching 'Miss Congeniality' with Sandra Bullock, I get to stay here and watch 'Miss Congeniality' with Sarah Palin.

"Sheer heaven." ...
Dowd surely thought her opening was a big mock of Palin, but it's just the latest example of why her critics say she's a lightweight.

They must have howled when Dowd used the Times editorial page to tell everyone her "guilty pleasure" is to “sprawl on the chaise and watch a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick.”

A friend joked that if she were the contest judge, Dowd would be her choice for Miss Most Vacuous Chick Flick Fan.

Dowd's opener reminded me of Nixon's "I am not a crook" and Duke President Dick Brodhead's 60 Minutes excuse for supporting the frame-up attempt of three transparently innocent Duke students. Remember Brodhead whining: "The facts kept changing?"

Nixon and Brodhead didn't realize what they were telling us about themselves; neither does Dowd.

It too bad there wasn't a Times editor willing to tell Dowd: “You might want to think about that opening. It's not witty. It just makes you look foolish.”

Now, what about Dowd's condescension?

I'll cite what is Dowd's most offensive, racially-tinged condescension which she aimed at millions of Americans who love this country and want it to flourish in the face of attacks from without and within.

The example occurs when Dowd says:
"Americans, suspicious that the Obamas have benefited from affirmative action without being properly grateful, and skeptical that Michelle really likes 'The Brady Bunch' and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show,' reject the 47-year-old black contender as too uppity and untested."
Dowd and her Times sponsors have that wrong.

What concerns so many of us has nothing to do with anything "uppity" about the Obamas. They have a perfect right, for example, to go to a church of their choice and say anything they want about this country.

What concerns so many of us repeatedly smeared as racist is that we don't know why, for example, the Obamas attended a church where the pastor preached from the pulpit racist and anti-American hate such as “God damn America” and “KKK-America.”

We take those racist, anti-American slimes as seriously as we would if the Obamas pastor had filled his sermons with hate about “God damn gays” and “Gay, Gay, Gay- America.”

The Obamas' silence about their relationship with Wright - what attracted them to him and his church, why they did so much to support it, why Senator Obama claims he never heard the sermon and why Mrs. Obama has never heard any of his "snippets" either - is an extraordinarily important matter.

None of the people I have in mind would support a church where the pastor spewed "God damn the gays and lesbians at the New York Times" and "Gay, Gay, Gay - America" or "God damn America" and "KKK-America."

It's a sure bet Sarah Palin and her husband would not have stayed in such a church, either.

But the Obamas stayed in Trinity until Wright said publicly the Senator was 'just another politician."

We need to know why the Obamas stayed all those years in Trinity UCC.

Dowd and the Times should know we don’t care what Michelle Obama thinks about the Brady Bunch.

We think Michelle Obama was sincere when she said America was “a downright mean country.”

We think she has ever right to say that and believe it. We just want her to tell us more about how and why she came to feel that way.

We also notice Team Obama and MSM Obama flacks approve when Michelle Obama goes on The View and talks about her pantyhose, but get upset when she speaks about America.

Then they turn around and accuse us of resenting her for being "uppity."

But that's not right. They're the ones trying to manipulate Michelle Obama; most Americans want her to be herself and speak candidly to us.

Dowd's column is laced with shameless sexism as this excerpt illustrates:
The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait.

Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. “Back off, Commie dude,” she says. “I’m a much better shot than Cheney.”
Will Dowd’s sexism draw criticism from NOW and other women's organizations which would be outraged if Dowd ever treated a Democratic woman Vice Presidential candidate as she's treated Palin?

I doubt it.

Dowd is often nasty, but in “Vice in Go-Go Boots?” she sinks to a new low when she uses the Palin children in a column trashing their mother:
Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The “First Dude,” as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids — Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)
Is there anyone left at the Times to say to Dowd: “We have some decency?”

I’ll close with an excerpt from Alaska’s KTUU TV's Apr. 18, 2008 story announcing Trig Palin’s birth:
…A press release from the governor's office says Palin and her new son are both "doing well and resting comfortably."

The Palins released the following statement:

"Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives."

"We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

Just yesterday, Palin was in Texas at a forum on energy with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and executives from four other states.

Palin was asked at the forum whether or not she would accept an offer by Republican presidential candidate John McCain to share the national ticket as vice presidential nominee.

She said she would accept, according to reports from a Texas newspaper.
The governor's water broke during the energy conference but she stayed and gave a 30-minute speech before boarding an Alaska Airlines plane home to deliver the baby.

Gov. Palin's parents, Sally and Chuck Heath, visited with their new grandson Friday afternoon.

The grandfather says Trig is named after his great uncle, a Bristol Bay fisherman, while the name Paxson comes from the well-known snowmachining area.


Anonymous said...

Dowd writes well but she's condescending and her bitchiness reminds me of the diva.
Always thinks she's the smartest person in the room.

JWM said...

To Anon @ 1:40,

So often it's the lightweight who thinks h/she's the smartest person in the room.


Anonymous said...

John -

I think that your description of Dowd as a lightweight does a disservice to lightweights. She's beyond lightweight.

Jack in Silver Spring

Anonymous said...

This is nastiness personified.mrs Palin has accomplished more than I (and I've certainly acc0omplished more than MO DO).It's hard to think of a late middle aged person who still reacts like a girl who has lost her boyfriend and lashes one insult after another.
In the words of one almost as bright as MMO DO,'The world will little note nor long remeber" her.