Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Lady Blah Blah
I'll make this quick.
I brought this up in the comment section awhile back, but given a couple of new developments I think it's worth mentioning here. As you probably know by now, Sarah Palin's latest grasp at the straws of complete world domination -- a Fox News special called Sarah Palin's Real American Stories -- debuted late last week to a lot of silly fanfare and entirely expected controversy. What you might also know by now is that the ratings for the show were pretty lackluster. It's not that nobody watched; it's that the combination of Palin and Fox News, two surefire right-wing juggernauts, somehow paradoxically failed to bring in anything approaching the number of viewers that you would've expected.
Within the past 24-hours, both Jed Lewison at Daily Kos and Jason Linkins over at HuffPo have posited theories as to why what should have been a ratings bonanza simply wasn't. Lewison thinks that the anemic showing proves that red-meat conservatives love the idea that Sarah Palin represents more than the reality of Palin herself -- and that the more exposure she gets on TV, the less even the right is willing to tolerate her.
I'll actually go one step further.
Let's take politics completely out of the picture -- in other words, let's not make it about whether you agree or disagree with the hardcore conservative values Palin claims to stand for. The truth is that Sarah Palin has willfully chosen a singular career path for herself -- one we've watched unfold dozens of times over the past 15 years or so. It's the new model of "celebrity" as embodied by reality TV stars and drunken heiresses, and it follows a very specific trajectory from which there's almost no deviation: you accidentally wander into fame or have it thrust upon you through no real effort of your own; you find that you enjoy that fame so much that you literally take any project that comes your way that might enhance and perpetuate it, basically striking in all directions while the iron is scalding hot; you saturate the market with your "brand" until your image is inescapable, a culturally ubiquitous hydra that dominates every form of media; people ultimately grow tired of you -- and so you burn out. This is how it's been for everyone from Paris Hilton to Speidi to Tila Tequila to Lindsay Lohan -- people who became famous simply for being famous. And really at the rate she's going, seeing as how despite the devotion among her many fans there's really no meat under all that bread, is Sarah Palin anything more than the Kim Kardashian of national discourse -- the face of TMZ Politics?
She purposely set out to seed the pop culture landscape with Brand Palin -- and we all know how that story eventually ends. We've seen it all before.