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Oct 06, 2008

Satire and Mockery are not the Same: The Left and Sarah Palin

As I've watched friends and peers over the last few weeks, I've been disturbed at what I see is a massive waste of energy mocking Sarah Palin.  In the company of like-minded people, making fun of someone for being unqualified or misguided may be fun and stress-relieving for a few moments.  But after that, it's time wasted.  Time spent wallowing in the negative instead of doing something useful.  That's what I've been thinking.

But let's take things one giant step further, in the words of Joe Bageant who points out that time spent mocking is time spent shooting our gun-control-selves in our organic-hemp-sandaled feet:

Sarah Palin's real coup is that she brings out the snobbery of the left in their dismissal of her as an ignorant hick typical of small town red state America. They vastly underestimate her. Just like they have underestimated George Bush for the past eight years. While they laughed, George Bush managed to get everything he wanted and assist the looting of America in his spare time. No matter that he is vastly unpopular now even among Republicans. He has fulfilled his purpose to the powerful corporations and financial institutions that animate American politics. You do not have to be smart to be president, just malleable to the greater forces at work.

Yet Palin is not stupid. She may be religious and a right winger, but that doesn't mean she is stupid and incompetent ... [snip] And each time Democrats and liberals take a shot at her religious beliefs and moral choices, which just happen to be those of tens of millions of heartland voting Americans, she gains political ground, or at a minimum, holds some for herself and McCain.

[snip]

Liberals and leftists, theoretically at least, have more common national interests with red state heartland white working class Americans than any other current political group. And the way to communicate that is NOT sneering at the only candidate who resembles ordinary Americans, their beliefs and lifestyle. When we do that, the Republicans grin like Cheshire cats, our global financial oppressors turn the screws down a bit harder, and the Devil takes a nap, because his work is done for him by fools using the most efficient tools available -- arrogance and hubris.

For some reason, I feel the need to mention that I'm not anti-humor.  I think of satire as critical humor written with the hope and aim of helping people to see a better way.  Satire seeks to help.  Mockery, on the other hand, seeks only to put down.  And I don't see the point of that.

HT: Barry C. at En Revanche

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p.s., here's a dose of (mostly) satire from Chris Rock talking about the Clintons, Obama, and Palin (and one NFL star).

11:23 PM in Editorial | Permalink

Comments

I'm going to have to disagree here. Palin may not be stupid but she is proudly and defiantly ignorant. She is the ultimate expression of Karl Rove politics -- with nothing to offer but divisiveness, fear-mongering, and hate. She is also a sideshow and largely irrelevant to the important issues that (I hope) will decide this election. And I think that's how the Obama campaign has treated her, editorial hand-wringing notwithstanding.

Posted by: georg | Oct 7, 2008 9:09:47 AM

Come to think of it, it went on with Ford for some of his presidency (ok, maybe not as bad as with Palin now), and with Quayle for his entire term. Politics sucks; political parties suck even worse. I just don't know how to do without them.

This isnt' exactly the quotation I was looking for, but perhaps it will do:

... The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty....

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Oct 7, 2008 9:30:55 AM

I've got to agree with Georg. Sarah Palin is shockingly ignorant. She makes Dan Quayle look like a statesman.

Plus, c'mon, let folks have some fun you wet blanket!

Posted by: Lisa B | Oct 7, 2008 9:40:57 AM