Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sara(h) Smiles, Part 18: Singin' and Commiseratin'

Why I am not surprised by how very little the lamestream media have had to say about the debut of the retooled Sarah Palin’s Iowa on Sunday night? Never mind that it was uniformly excellent — certainly the best program of its kind since The Carol Burnett Show went off the air in 1958. That Sarah and her producers were able to get both Eminem and Paul McCartney as musical guests was remarkable, but no more remarkable than how beautifully Sarah sang with them, on "The Real Slim Shady," in Em’s case, and a medley of “Rocky Raccoon” and “Let It Be” in Paul’s. Who’d have guessed that she’d sound so much like Stevie Nicks? I, for one, can hardly wait until next week, when her musical guests will be Lady Gaga and Pete Seeger.

What a lot of talent in the family Palin! We knew already from Dancing With Unwed Teen Moms that Bristol is a wonderful hoofer. And now we discover that her big brother Track is a wonderful impressionist, though I think his performance would probably have appealed to a wider demographic had he…done someone more familiar — Jack Nicholson, say, or John Wayne, or even Beavis or Butthead — than a bunch of guys with whom he served his country in Iraq. To be honest, I thought husband Todd’s stand-up comedy routine could have used some tightening up, as some of the material felt over-familiar. Does anyone really need to hear another joke about the difference between the sexes as it’s manifested in their positioning of toilet seats? And I won’t deny that I put my hands over my ears when one gag began, “I’m not saying that Eskimos are terrible drivers, but…” That said, The First Dude's anecdote about the hunter who fell in love with a moose had us in hysterics. A moose! Can you imagine?

I found extremely poignant the segment in which Sarah, holding the twins Trig and Calculus on her lap, chatted via video hookup with Angelina Jolie and Mel Gibson about being a parent to many children. I gained new insight into the pain that’s presumably inspired some of the latter’s more notorious recent acting-out when he recounted his then-13-year-old second daughter, Lucy, confessing that she is Jewish and a lesbian. Sarah’s telling him with misted eyes that she wished she could give him a great big hug made very clear the sort of woman — and person — she is. It was a lot more compassion than that stuck-up rhymes-with-witch Jolie — whose primary interest seemed to be in promoting her forthcoming film Waco — in which she plays former Attorney General Janet Reno, unglamorously, in an obvious attempt to get another Oscar nomination — was able to muster.

Predictably, there’s been much hoo-ha in the lamestream media the past several days about the FBI’s recent busts of might-have-been terrorist bombers. According to the so-called progressives, we shouldn’t be heartened by these arrests because FBI operatives recruited, funded, and guided those arrested. Your tax dollars at work!

As usual, the lamestreamers are missing the point. It isn’t especially heartening that the FBI is foiling terrorist bombings it in fact masterminded, but that their doing so keeps a lot of patriotic Americans employed, at a time when so many federal employees are begging in the streets. Would we rather have these agents standing grimly in line in the unemployment office, having no money to spend online or at local restaurants, taverns, bowling alleys, garden centers, sporting goods stores, and delicatessens, or seeking out delusionial homeless people to pay to become jihadists? Call me old-fashioned, but I’ll choose the latter every time.

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We must also consider that we have a rich tradition in this country of trying to buoy the populace’s spirit through flim-flammery. Many readers will recall how, in the summer of 1969, an America at which the whole world was laughing because it had elected Richard Nixon president was made proud again by Neil Armstrong’s walking on the moon. That he was later revealed to have been walking on a soundstage in Burbank, California, was of relatively small consequence. Comparably, an America reeling from the popularity of disco music and the rampantly vapid Farrah Fawcett’s elevation to the status of national sweetheart was hugely heartened by the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who was unmistakably an imbecile, but an imbecile with an engagingly avuncular manner and good microphone technique.

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