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.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping.

Elizabeth said...

I predict a sex tape in the offing.

chenry said...

Brand Palin sounds dangerously close to something she'd actually name one of her kids.

Narbe said...

Andy Samberg was concise, when doing his Rahm Emanuel apology bit on SNL, of calling her a gimmick.

One of the other penguins guys said...

I think you're absolutely right, but I think there's another element at work here: Palin (and FOX) made the mistake of thinking political celebrity equals actual celebrity. Millions of voters does not mean millions of viewers.

We may all be willing to cheer for our favorite politicians, especially when they're skewering the other side. But when the rallies and elections are over, most of us want them to shut the hell up and get back to work. Nobody wants to see them hosting puff piece news specials.

The best part is it looks like the good folks at Discovery have made the same very expensive mistake. They must be repeatedly crapping themselves over this.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

I think your penultimate paragraph nails it. Rang true to me.

Thing is people aren't idiots all the time, consistently. Most right-wing people I think have been more blinded by emotion, and by fooling themselves, than by actual long term stupidity (not talking about the strange teabag wahoos there).

So she'll soon be a completely spent force. Betcha some Dems will be disappointed at not having that easy target to shoot at and laugh at, come next presidentials.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

Ya know, in the LL Cool J thing, they finish the letter by saying that, at his request, they'll cut his part out and that they "wish him the best with his fledgling acting career."

Meeeeow!

"Fledgling": just have a look at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005112/ , however briefly...

(Maybe they were thinking about Palin, deep within their black souls. Freudian slip thing.)

Chez said...

Yeah, that's the traditional douchey Fox kiss off.

Chris said...

In Lohan's defense, at least some of her early buzz was actually earned with legitimate acting talent.

Sheriff Bart said...

Next step is a panty-less crotch shot stepping out/off a boat/limo and a bikini oops and she will be all ready to run in 2012.