Saturday, November 22, 2008



My fowl lady [Mark Steyn]

The rondeau a la turkey goes on. A British reader writes to chide me of my enthusiasm for Governor Palin's blood-soaked photo op:

I'm afraid you and everyone who sees things the same way as you do are completely missing the point about this story. You may be doing so deliberately, because you're a very bright guy. But you surely have a responsibility to your more doltish readers.

The point isn't that turkeys shouldn't be slaughtered, or that it's somehow news that they are, or that Palin ought to have been more delicate for the sake of the frigging turkeys.

The point is that it's unbelievably ill-judged to stand in front of something that is more interesting than you are when giving a TV interview. That, my friend, is the joke. It would have been funny whichever pol stood there. That and the sheer, apolitical comedy of those images. Get it? Course you do.

That first principle is particularly important when you have nothing, nothing whatsoever, of any interest to say. Although maybe the opposite applies - at least we had something to look at whilst SP dispensed the usual stream of incoherent platitudes which presumably you hear as folksy wisdom of the hills. I mean, do you really? God help us. Or you.

Well, you're right that it might be "unbelievably ill-judged" to stand in front of something distracting when you're announcing, say, a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. But in this case Sarah Palin was merely indulging in the wearily obligatory annual leaden cutesiness of issuing a gubernatorial pardon to some designated Thanksgiving bird in order to provide the local news shows with their traditional unfunny "funny story" for the "And finally..." closing item. Viewers owe her a debt of gratitude for choosing to perform this dreary ritual in front of a backdrop that entirely undermined it.

And, while you're right that "it would have been funny whichever pol stood there", ask yourself whether the media would even have noticed had Joe Biden done such a thing. That's what upgraded it from mildly infelicitous to side-splitting hilarious - not the footage, but the po-faced huffing of the shrieking nancies at MSNBC and the portentous plonkers at The New York Times:

You don't have to be a huge animal lover to question why Governor Palin chose to be interviewed — while issuing a traditional seasonal pardon of a turkey — while turkeys were being executed in the background.

And that's Sarah Palin's real stroke of genius in these difficult times for the global economy. For, in an age when the government picks which banks to nationalize and which banks to fail, and guarantees mortgages that should never have been issued, and prepares to demand that those taxpayers with responsible and affordable pension plans prop up the lavish and unsustainable pension programs of Detroit, Governor Palin has given us a great teaching moment and a perfect snapshot of what my Brit reader would recognize as pre-Thatcher "industrial policy":

When the government decides it can "pick winners" and spare them from the realities of the market, everyone else gets bled to death.

Thank you, Sarah. It's the first election ad of Campaign '12.

22 NOV 08

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