A good friend of The Contrarian named Nicolo (last name withheld to protect his dignity/employability) recently sent us an e-mail taking us to task for our ongoing broadsides of Sarah Palin and family. Here’s a slightly edited version of his message, reprinted with permission:
I think you degrade the quality of your blog by continuing to report on the Palins’ personal matters. During the election, maybe all was fair game. This stuff shouldn’t be part of our national dialogue, even though a lot of media has framed it as worthy of the public’s attention (do you really want to be like them?) When I see Sarah Palin as your number two cloud tag, it saddens me. There is something fundamentally flawed about continuing after her, and it’s against the values I voted for. It also doesn’t jive with the tone of the rest of your blog. Don’t get me wrong — she sucks, but she’s also been thoroughly defeated (maybe you think she’s coming back sometime). I don’t think she’s coming back, but if she does, go after her then, when she (and not her family) asks for it. The best of your blog has more weight without this tabloid crap.
Nicolo is a great guy, but I think his criticisms of our Palin coverage are a bit off the mark. Here’s my response:
1. Although it’s not in the “Music, Media, Metaphysics” header, satire is a major part of The Contrarian, and has been since the beginning. I see us as being like Bill Maher‘s inquisitive, chubby progeny. Sarah Palin and her family are therefore within target range – let’s not forget how she elbowed her pregnant teen daughter into the national spotlight while simultaneously shoving her own regressive morals down the throats of anyone within range of broadcast media.
2. As long as these weirdos keep voluntarily going on TV (Bristol Palin went on Fox WITH HER MOM; Levi Johnston went on Tyra Banks WITH HIS MOM AND SISTER) they are very much “fair game.” I’m not forcing these people to reveal their tragic-comic Jerry Springer-style family feuds on national TV, but as long as they do, I reserve the right to make fun of them relentlessly, and with extreme prejudice. I’m not Barack Obama, and I didn’t campaign on a “nice guy” platform. Sometimes compassion is a sharp blade.
3. You’re right that Sarah Palin isn’t coming back, BECAUSE SHE NEVER WENT AWAY. Though appalled by her politics, we satirists are delighted that Sarah, immediately after losing the election, started a national PAC to fund her inevitable campaign for the presidency in 2012. Alaskan media reports indicate she’s spending more time raising money outside the state (apparently in those pockets of the country where “Real Americans” live) than she is governing. She’s given numerous speeches to national right-wing bigot orgs in which she spouts her Christianist rhetoric and defames not only her ex running mate, but also the president. I’d say that makes her fair fucking game, indeed.
4. Like it or not, Sarah Palin’s candidacy for VP brought her to the national stage, and dragged with it the sundry political scandals of her native Alaska. That means that Troopergate is worth reporting, as is the her anti-environmental policies, sweetheart oil deals (and “redistributionist” taxpayer refunds), animal cruelty, etc. That the “executive” of the largest nanny state in the country makes such a display of not accepting federal stimulus dollars is both hypocritical and hilarious. And we think it’s worth pointing out publicly.
5. You might think that Palin is an “easy target.” Well, I see nothing benign about apocalyptic Christianist nutjobs like Palin. I think they’re dangerous, and the fact that we had one on the national ticket should frankly scare you to death (say what you will about Dubya, but his religiosity was seemingly a matter of booze-related convenience). The most effective weapon we have against these people is ridicule — demonstrating their unfitness to lead by repeatedly comparing their words and actions to those of sane human beings.
I think I’ve more than made my case here. But keep in mind that the reason she rates so high in the tag cloud is because we wrote about her a lot during the election cycle. Believe me, if I didn’t exercise editorial restraint re: Palin, we’d never have room for anything else.
Nicolo responded to that with a more direct question: “How seriously do you want your political thoughts to be taken?”
I’m not sure I have an answer for that one, so I’ll crowdsource the question: how seriously do you take my political thoughts?