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Sarah Palin’s no slave to syntax

She liberated the English language from rules. So it’s only logical she wrote a book.


 

Sarah Palin's no slave to syntaxI wasn’t asked to write the foreword to Sarah Palin’s forthcoming memoir, but that didn’t stop me.

Maverick. Iconoclast. Renegade. These are all words Sarah Palin would have trouble spelling correctly.

The political phenomenon from Wasilla, Alaska, burst onto the national stage in the fall of 2008. She was unlike anything Americans had ever seen before, unless they’d seen Tina Fey, which most of them had.

Within minutes of Palin’s emergence, we knew she was young and attractive. Within hours, we knew she could hunt down a wolf using only her wits, her instincts and a very fast plane with sophisticated radar and people shouting and pointing and saying, “There, down there, shoot that!” Within days, we’d discovered she has a rigid belief in abstinence-only sex education and, inevitably, an unwed pregnant teenage daughter. An enraptured nation couldn’t help but wonder: what will we discover next about Sarah Palin? Does she have a yokel half-sister making moonshine in the woods of Tennessee? Is she a witch?

Palin’s list of accomplishments is staggering to behold. At 20, she won the Miss Wasilla pageant, outshining several truck drivers and a precocious muskox. At 42, she was elected governor of a whole entire state. And at 44, she became the first American ever to run for high office while thinking that Meet the Press is the one where Robert De Niro plays Ben Stiller’s father-in-law. Plus there was that time she couldn’t name a single newspaper or magazine in the presence of Katie Couric. That was pretty staggering.

The reaction to Palin’s candidacy was a quintessential American moment. Conservatives were motivated. Ultra-conservatives were ultra-motivated. Rush Limbaugh wet himself. Within hours, savvy entrepreneurs had begun cranking out merchandise to capitalize on her popularity—T-shirts, tote bags, even thongs emblazoned with the Palin name. Overnight, the market dried up for Mitt Romney-branded male girdles. Republicans had fallen in line. And they’d fallen in love.

Palin quickly went to work building up her bona fides on global affairs. Yes, she identified Africa as a country—not a continent—but this was just a test, America. She was testing you! (Congratulations, you passed.) She also touted her “foreign policy experience” as commander of the Alaskan National Guard. The implications were clear: under a McCain-Palin administration, America would stand ready to fend off any and all attacks by a platoon of herring. Not content to rest on such impressive credentials, Palin would go on to demonstrate a vague awareness of several countries she could not see from her front porch.

American politics is a cutthroat business in which the parties spend tens of millions of dollars on advertising and, in Sarah Palin’s case, skirts.

But Washington was stunned by the emergence of this feisty outsider from the North. For decades, political leaders had seduced voters with their fancy talk and pretty words. But Palin refused to be a slave to oratory or grandiloquence or basic syntax. She liberated the English language from the rigid orthodoxy of meaning, because in America even words should have freedom—the freedom to appear wherever they’d like, almost as if emerging by chance or random draw.

“My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur,” Palin once said, “and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent.” Words truer been have spoken never.

Though she’s been on the national stage for only a brief time, Sarah Palin has taught us so much. She’s taught us that letting men marry other men would make God cry. She’s taught us that it’s possible for a presidential candidate to spend less time vetting his vice-presidential pick than most people spend vetting the breakfast menu at Denny’s. Most recently, she taught us that the best way to prepare for a tricky job like being president is to quit the much less tricky job you couldn’t be bothered to finish because, wait, what?

Thanks to her, we also know that there’s a “media filter” out there that affects a candidate’s ability to communicate with voters—though in Palin’s case it’s still not clear how that filter kept catching all her smart words and letting through only the dumb ones.

In less than a year, Alaska’s Sarah Palin has defined herself as a role model for the modern American female. She’s made it okay for women to put their desires first—to be someone so pathologically bent on career advancement that you would thrust your own pregnant daughter into the spotlight to enjoy a third trimester of being gawked at by strangers, judged by the media and caressed repeatedly on the belly and called Rosemary by Dick Cheney.

And now, scant months after resigning as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has finished a book. I believe it was a Nancy Drew.


 

Sarah Palin’s no slave to syntax

  1. Palin Derangement Syndrome at its finest.

    • Oh so she is a great role model for women, mothers, and teenage daughters…mine included…no she is not

  2. Don't insult millions of Nancy Drew fans by knocking the Nancy Drew books–surely your education trained you to come up with better analogies that that! Totally asinine. Try looking up that word.

    • I don't think he meant Palin WROTE a Nancy Drew book, I understood him to mean she READ a Nancy Drew book.

  3. Another Lazy article by Feschuk.Full of accusations that came out of the mouths of Bill Mayer or David Letterman .Pretty sad really.

    • Who's Bill Mayer?

      • Host of a show called Real Time where they make very easy lazy jokes about Bush and Palin.It makes the unintelligent feel intelligent by jumping on the bash Palin bandwagon..

        • That's Bill Maher, genius. If you're going to criticize people for being "Lazy", maybe start by getting your own facts right. And your own capitalization and grammar.

          • Settle down cupcake ,let me guess,grade school teacher .

    • Feschuk is brilliant! not lazy. He is witty, sharp, wicked. Michael, what have you written lately?

      • You must be part of a truly watered down generation to think Feschuk is brilliant but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.Every lazy journalist and comedian has jumped on the bash Palin and Busk bandwagon,it just so happens that Feschuk is the last to jump .As I've said before it makes the unintelligent feel good about themselves.

  4. You mean she 'wrote' a book?

  5. Who wrote this? Sarah Palin evil liberal twin? It made no sense but then the subject matter……

  6. That was such a stupid article….Im not even a hardcore Palin fan, but that was such a cliche article that anybody could have written taking narratives I have heard tireless over the past year. Im surprised Maclean's would even hire you…

    • So you are a fan then, correct?

    • Wrong. Great article, as are most of his

    • It's called SATIRE…

      Next time, invest a few seconds inserting punctuation into your diatribe.
      You sound like an idiot.

  7. Please note folks, if you had to lived down here and experienced this lady last fall, you'd appreciate this article. Even though the electoral college wasn't close the voting % was WAY too close.

  8. I guess somebody has to keep posting these anti-Palin diatribes now that Parisella is going.

    I'm just worried that our Charlie Sheen coverage will suffer as a result.

  9. I started reading this, but stopped after the 'these are all words Sarah Palin would have trouble spelling" Then I skipped to the comments, and Judging from these, I made the right decision.

  10. Hilarious and nicely written. Great work Scott.

  11. Hilarious. The Meet the Press crack was an especially good highlight.

  12. Oh don't worry FABIO wrote the FORWARD on Scarah's Book.
    Sarah Palin/Tonya Harding 2012!

    BTW, Sarah's book was INTENDED to be #1.
    It's selling at a discount for $9.99 ALREADY. The conservatives (Rupert Murdock) buy them up and then they sell at a discount to actual people. It's what they do for Anne Coulter's books. BUY THEM UP and then knock the price down from $29.99 to $9.99. Then the silly people who actually shell out 10 bucks get an inflated sense of importance about the book BEING NUMBER 1. They are all part of the silly PR machine. Sarah already got the millions upfront for being part of the process.

    • That sounds like part of the promotion deals for conservative book clubs. Do you really believe that's why conservatives sell and read more (a lot more) books than liberals?

      I guarantee Ann Coulter owes more to the inane hatred of those with disagreements with her than to anything else.

  13. I thought the article was funny. I've read similar wittiness written about many other politicians, liberal and conservative alike. We need a sense of humor, people, it'll keep us sane and remind us that most of the political rhetoric put forth in earnest is filled with self-serving, twisted facts, and half-truths and not worth paying attention to. Palin is pretty and extremely entertaining, whether played by herself or by someone else. She will keep us in laughs for as long as anyone is willing to pay attention to her. Since she's a narcissist and seeks attention, I'm guessing we'll be laughing for a very long time.

  14. I'd much rather hear true beliefs in any syntax than bold faced lies and misdirections no matter how eloquently read from a teleprompter

    • Hope you aren't one of the bureaucrats on my death panel.

  15. In a world where Michael Jackson is a King and Britney Spears is a Princess, why shouldn't Sarah Palen be President?

  16. Ah ha haaaa~!
    Awesome article. Loved it. :)

  17. to have written more books than she has read wow

  18. Condescention drips from every word of that piece.

    Watching the Republicans take back the house in 2010 on the wave of populast conservatism and rejection this urban liberal elitism,

    will be particularly enjoyable.

    • It's satire biff. Welcome to, you know, funny.

    • Will the "populasts" be able to spell? No wonder you like Palin.

    • Feschuk is only being condescending because he's smarter than you Biff

  19. The last thing I expected was to enjoy this one more than most of the readers going by the comments. I was very energized by her… and I continue to consider Palin smarter than Obama if you define it by by having a grasp on basic realities. I think it's pretty clear that Obama will continue to oppose the theocracy in Iran getting the big stick by counting on their inherent good intentions. That was certainly what he was thinking in pulling the missile shield which seems a more universally panned foriegn policy move than maybe anything Bush did.

    Unless something essential about human nature had changed since World War II and pretty much all of history, his counting on the good intentions of the other guy is what makes Sarah Palin look sharp next to Barack Obama's naivete.

    But that still doesn't mean she's that smart in absolute terms. And this is the best humoured takedown of her I've come across by far.

    On the topic for which the lefties ill-humour covered the forest like something totally innappropriate to compare with autumn leaves… Feschuck makes it funny.

    • If that's what makes Palin look "sharp", what does her complete lack of interest in the outside world make her? The fact she couldn't name a newspaper she reads? I guess that makes here a genius.

      • Well I mean there's book larnin' and regular commun sense, as Palin might just about say it. I hear William F. Buckley said he'd rather be governed by the first 300 names in the Boston phone book than the faculty of Harvard and I honestly agree. But I'd still take Stephen Harper over either.

  20. you could substitute "Barack Obama" for a lot of the general digs – no real experience, no foreign experience, bumbling (when no teleprompter), etc.

    you could also spend days making fun of (Dem VP) Biden.

    add that the media carried obama across the line, and you have a situation where it isn't so much the individual that is ridiculous, but American politics in general.

    so what was the point of this article?

    oh yeah, i'm sure if Sarah ever met Scott in a dark alley, he'd be mispronouncing words because of the missing teeth. that would be fun to make fun of.

  21. Absolutely loved it! My kind of wit. Oh, and Jenn?…Nancy Drew books are classics…if you are 8 years old.

  22. I have to say I thought it was a pretty poor article. Cheap, easy ridicule rather than any decent analysis. Take away his teleprompters, and “57 State” Obama has a pretty mangled speech record, far worse than Palin’s, but that isn’t the measure of the man. None of the points noted in this sarcastic piece provide the measure of Palin either.

    What Palin did “wrong” was daring to run against the “One”, and be moderately successful. Ronald Reagan was ridiculed in a similar way, and he now has an almost sainted status, although I think Palin gets the award for the most vitriol thrown at her in the shortest timeframe. That she is still in the game tends to highlight a level of toughness her detractors may well underestimate. They may also have overplayed their hand: put simply she’s not that bad, so the over-the-top mindless criticisms (and this article copies a whole bunch of them) wear thin very quickly.

    Palin has potential, and if she can get her act together, could be a real political force in the future. I hope so, if for no other reason than to drive leftist elitists crazy. At the moment it looks like the Obama Administration has about a 50/50 chance of being an absolute disaster, so the times might just suit Sarah Palin very nicely.

  23. I must confess that – before stumbling upon this article – I had never heard of Scott Feschuk. Now, after having checked up on him a bit, I have to say that he looks exactly like someone who would pen such an article. He looks like someone who would have been the guy least likely to get laid at Western. But – boy – is he clever!

    • Really? Even less likely than Wells? That stings, man.

  24. Palin's presence and effect on the American and Canadian consciousness has almost been brainwashing. It's so easy for her to be the butt of jokes on and outside of SNL, but it's totally coloured her image and tarnished her rep. Either way, this is a very funny article. I enjoyed it.

  25. Respect on the great article. You eviscerated her!

  26. So how come a lot more people think she is great than think you are funny? If you are the Left's answer to Mark Steyn, the Left are in big trouble.
    Of course admiring a women like Hilary, who let her husband make a fool of her all their married life and who never accomplished anything on her own, now that's funny.

  27. Even taking this fine article into account and given that I'm ineligible to vote (I'm CDN) – I'm still pullin for Palin! :-)

    Love to see more of her and more often. I do hope she runs!

  28. "Yes, she identified Africa as a country—not a continent—but this was just a test, America."

    The funniest part about this piece is how often you identify America as a country – not a continent (or two).

    Come on guys, just because United Statesians have no name for their nation, only a description of it, does not mean they get to take the name of both continents for themselves. Latin America gets it.

    But much more to the point: WHO CARES about this female US politician somewhere up next to the Yukon??? What is this Canadian magazine's fascination with random nobodies in the States? At least balance it out, Macleans, by covering nobodies from every country. Scott, I would like to see a witty article on Wayne Mapp next week, k?

    • There are only 4 million people in New Zealand. You need a much larger population base to generate something as funny as the Palin phenomenon. The odds are stacked against the Kiwis, Norwegians, Slovaks, et al.

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