The Palin Kid


 

(Update: The original subject heading was “And you can’t get rid of the Palin kid,” and I should just explain that it was a self-referential callback to a post I wrote in September, where that was one of the lines in a proposed Dancing With the Stars theme song. (“Get rid of” means “vote off” in that context.) Probably goes to show why I shouldn’t do self-referential callbacks.)

Here are my very brief thoughts on tonight’s Dancing With the Stars apocalypse (I think Bristol is likely to win, but if she doesn’t, it’ll certainly be a great TV moment): I’m not being coy or condescending when I say I don’t care a lot about who will win. I understand the appeal of DWtS, which has taken the place of two mostly-defunct types of television, variety shows and celebrity panel shows. But I don’t have a personal commitment to the integrity of the show or the need for the best dancers to win. Palin has gotten this far because her family has a lot of fans who are willing to vote for her, and if there’s some gaming of the voting system going on, that’s because TV shows have voting systems that are really, really easy to game. It’s like that All-Star game when Cincinnati voters stuffed the ballot box and got Reds players elected to nearly every starting position. It’s not a real election, and these things happen.

The real question is why people are getting so upset about Bristol’s success, even to the point of exercising their Second Amendment rights on the television set. And my answer is that I think people are genuinely worried that this, along with the Palin family reality show, is sort of a stalking-horse for 2012. It’s not just Palin either, since Fox News has most of the potential Republican presidential candidates under contract, and is therefore basically paying them to campaign in front of a large audience. But Palin is the potential candidate whose family, life and persona fit in perfectly with modern reality TV and gossip magazines, and she has (sensibly, I guess) embraced it, turning to reality shows and cable TV as the place where she can build her popularity. It’s too early to know if she can get nominated or win in 2012, but the reality show and the cable news contract are part of an overall strategy to use modern media to grow her fanbase and improve her image. This delights her fans and terrifies non-fans.

The terror of non-fans is based on the assumption that TV has the power to pull the wool over people’s eyes. (This is a bipartisan assumption, since a frequent conservative argument about Obama is that the media covered for him and fooled people into thinking he was not a one-world redistributionist.) The fear is that the TV versions of the Palin family will convince people to like her and vote for her. When they see Palin family fans voting for Bristol in spite of the plain fact that she’s not the best dancer, they see an early version of what they fear will play out in 2012: the Palin wins, not because her fans think she’s the best at the job, but just because they want to vote for her to stick it to the elites.

I don’t think DWtS or even “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is exactly a trial run for 2012 (the Fox News stuff is another story). But I do think the controversy over Bristol shows us, in miniature, how things might happen in 2012 — I don’t mean the voting, which can’t be known at this time, but the reaction of fans and non-fans alike to a Palin candidacy. It ain’t gonna be pretty.

John Doyle has more on this issue in his TV column.


 
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The Palin Kid

  1. I misread your headline several times as "And you can't get rid of the Palin KIND."

    No comment.

  2. I misread your headline several times as "And you can't get rid of the Palin KIND."

    No comment.

    • Hahaha, in Calgary it's a -41 cooold morning, my brain isn't working either!!!

  3. Hahaha, in Calgary it's a -41 cooold morning, my brain isn't working either!!!

  4. The real question is why people are getting so upset about Bristol's success, even to the point of exercising their Second Amendment rights on the television set.

    I think it just goes to show what an undercurrent of ugliness there is lying just beneath the surface in those who have an advanced case of Palin Derangement Syndrome.

  5. The real question is why people are getting so upset about Bristol's success, even to the point of exercising their Second Amendment rights on the television set.

    I think it just goes to show what an undercurrent of ugliness there is lying just beneath the surface in those who have an advanced case of Palin Derangement Syndrome.

    • In my view is a little more than that, Palin wants to make sure that people knows she has power and support with her tea party lunatics.

    • I guess I leave myself open to the accusation by saying anything, but there's something about this "(fill in the blank)Derangement Syndrome" business that really pi**es me off whenever I see it. It's garbage. It's needlessly dismissive. It's a conversation stopper. I ask myself, "Isn't john g better than this?" Myself answers, "I guess not."

      • Also the term was invented, I believe, by Charles Krauthammer, a Canadian-American pundit who frequently uses his psychiatry background to create pseudo-psychiatric explanations for people's failure to agree with him. Hence he came up with "Bush Derangement Syndrome" as a catch-all term for the right's belief that people who didn't like Bush were consumed with irrational hatred.

        This was to some extent projection, since the term applied much more to the anti-Clinton hatred of the '90s (since that wasn't based on his specific policies). But "Derangement Syndrome" has been taken up by both right and left — mostly right, but sometimes left — and it does seem to be used as a way of deflecting discussion of why a particular political figure is disliked.

        • Um, Jamie?

          Given this bit of news it might in good taste to make a change to your post title.

          But I guess you guys are right. Derangement probably isn't the right word for this either.

          • Weinman displays his absurd political bias once again.

            Bush derangement syndrome was a real phenomenon to anyone with a brain. And the characterization that it is "mostly right" reveals that Weinman himself is afflicted with the disease.

          • I'm merely saying that the term "[X] Derangement Syndrome" is used more by the right than by the left. It was, after all, invented by a conservative. The left have their own favourite terms.

      • Call it whatever you want. But Palin has been subjected to a media assault and character assassination that is so far beyond indecent that it's a wonder she doesn't just pack it in.

        Palin has been accused of faking the legitimacy of her own son, and of running on a policy of "wanting to cause more retardation" because she had the audacity to claim that "the world needs more Trigs, not fewer". She's been attacked for both parading her children and for not staying home with them. She's been chided for her "slutty" looks. She's been told that her "greatest pretense" is that she's a woman. She's had to put up with people drawing horrible photo-shopped cartoons of her infant son saying that he should have been aborted.

        If calling it "Palin Derangement Syndrome" pisses you off, so be it. I don't think Palin would be a good President and I think she's making a mistake if she runs in 2012. But I stand by that I've never seen any modern incarnation of conservative descend so far into ugliness towards a political opponent as to make such disgusting attacks against their families. I do think you have to be "deranged" to engender that much hate for a political opponent.

        • Get back to us when there's posters depicting her as Hitler and ongoing campaigns questioning her status as an American citizen.

        • I said any mention of the general "syndrome," such as it is, pisses me off, because it's not a syndrome. It's not anything except a cheap rhetorical trick that I wouldn't think a person who gives as much thought and effort to their perspective on the world as you obviously do would find much value in. Or, I wouldn't have thought it of you until now.

          • John G is NOT prone to honest,thoughtful debate so much as spreading certain mistruths. (Vide his constant misreprestentations regarding the Levant Human rights article and the "9/11 mosque")

        • On all those attacks – not one of them has been endorsed or issued by the mainstream democratic party. Many of the Obama-attack equivalents have been levelled directly by the GOP or prominent GOP pundits.

          • I see. So a Republican radio/print personality is a prominent GOP pundit, but a Democratic radio/print personality is out of the mainstream. And you make this distinction based on ratings/readership. Anything Rush says is GOP, but anything Andrew Sullivans says is non-mainstream.

            Rush Limbaugh is a prominent member of the GOP, while Al Franken is out of the Democratic mainstream?

            Is that how the world works in your mind?

            Your comment is absurd. Prominent Democrats have been jumping on the Bush/Palin derangement syndrome bandwagon for years. Not only that, there's not a single prominent birther in the GOP. Just because Palin isn't willing to shoot it down, that doesn't mean she's shown any interest in it herself. There's a distinction.

          • Here's a case of Bush derangement sydrome:

            Former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday that "fundamentalism" under George W. Bush has resulted in a "dramatic and profound and unprecedented change" in American policy that threatens the United States at home and abroad.

            He said the natural "arrogance" of second-term presidents is exacerbated by a fundamentalism under Bush that causes many of his supporters and those who work in his administration to believe that "I am right because I am close to God (and) anybody who disagrees with me is inherently wrong, and therefore inferior."

            Is a Democratic ex-president a prominent Democrat?

    • What is the term for the syndrome that refuses to acknowledge that Palin has flaws.??

      • You cannot invent a syndrome if there are no known cases. Nobody in the world, not even her most fervent supporters, would ever claim she is flawless.

  6. In my view is a little more than that, Palin wants to make sure that people knows she has power and support with her tea party lunatics.

  7. The fact that Bristol Palin referred to "the haters" indicates to me that she is playing up the political side of things. I don't dislike her. She is simply not an excellent dancer, nor is she vividly entertaining.. But, the show is not about excellence and I'm beginning to wonder about the entertainment factor, too.

  8. I guess I leave myself open to the accusation by saying anything, but there's something about this "(fill in the blank)Derangement Syndrome" business that really pi**es me off whenever I see it. It's garbage. It's needlessly dismissive. It's a conversation stopper. I ask myself, "Isn't john g better than this?" Myself answers, "I guess not."

  9. Also the term was invented, I believe, by Charles Krauthammer, a Canadian-American pundit who frequently uses his psychiatry background to create pseudo-psychiatric explanations for people's failure to agree with him. Hence he came up with "Bush Derangement Syndrome" as a catch-all term for the right's belief that people who didn't like Bush were consumed with irrational hatred.

    This was to some extent projection, since the term applied much more to the anti-Clinton hatred of the '90s (since that wasn't based on his specific policies). But "Derangement Syndrome" has been taken up by both right and left — mostly right, but sometimes left — and it does seem to be used as a way of deflecting discussion of why a particular political figure is disliked.

  10. Call it whatever you want. But Palin has been subjected to a media assault and character assassination that is so far beyond indecent that it's a wonder she doesn't just pack it in.

    Palin has been accused of faking the legitimacy of her own son, and of running on a policy of "wanting to cause more retardation" because she had the audacity to claim that "the world needs more Trigs, not fewer". She's been attacked for both parading her children and for not staying home with them. She's been chided for her "slutty" looks. She's been told that her "greatest pretense" is that she's a woman. She's had to put up with people drawing horrible photo-shopped cartoons of her infant son saying that he should have been aborted.

    If calling it "Palin Derangement Syndrome" pisses you off, so be it. I don't think Palin would be a good President and I think she's making a mistake if she runs in 2012. But I stand by that I've never seen any modern incarnation of conservative descend so far into ugliness towards a political opponent as to make such disgusting attacks against their families. I do think you have to be "deranged" to engender that much hate for a political opponent.

  11. If they cast her for the show, I'm sure the producers anticipated this outcome in some way.

    They could become a victim of their own success, though.

  12. If they cast her for the show, I'm sure the producers anticipated this outcome in some way.

    They could become a victim of their own success, though.

  13. "Palin has gotten this far because her family has a lot of fans who are willing to vote for her, and if there's some gaming of the voting system going on, that's because TV shows have voting systems that are really, really easy to game."

    How is the person with the most fans gaming the system when they vote for her? I don't watch reality tv or celebrity shows like this but my missus does and she is always whinging about how they are popularity contests and nothing to with talent. So Palin winning even tho she is not most talented is dog bites man story.

    "When they see Palin family fans voting for Bristol in spite of the plain fact that she's not the best dancer, they see an early version of what they fear will play out in 2012:"

    No need to project to 2012 because this already happened two years ago when Obama beat Clinton in democratic primary.

  14. "Palin has gotten this far because her family has a lot of fans who are willing to vote for her, and if there's some gaming of the voting system going on, that's because TV shows have voting systems that are really, really easy to game."

    How is the person with the most fans gaming the system when they vote for her? I don't watch reality tv or celebrity shows like this but my missus does and she is always whinging about how they are popularity contests and nothing to with talent. So Palin winning even tho she is not most talented is dog bites man story.

    "When they see Palin family fans voting for Bristol in spite of the plain fact that she's not the best dancer, they see an early version of what they fear will play out in 2012:"

    No need to project to 2012 because this already happened two years ago when Obama beat Clinton in democratic primary.

    • Elections have a control where each person only gets one vote. In something like American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, people can usually vote for as many people as they want, which leads to the most devoted (obsessive) ones voting over and over again. Depending on what kind way the votes are collected (text messaging/online/etc.) they can even create programs that vote over and over automatically. I believe something like this is what the author was referring to as "gaming the system", not just having the most fans.

  15. Get back to us when there's posters depicting her as Hitler and ongoing campaigns questioning her status as an American citizen.

  16. Striking resemblance! But Lois Griffin is a closer character study.

  17. Striking resemblance! But Lois Griffin is a closer character study.

  18. Get back to us when there's posters depicting her as Hitler

    I'm sorry, what? You think that's not out there? If it takes you more than 10 seconds to find 5 such examples on Google you're an idiot. <a href="http://www.google.ca/images?q=sarah+palin+hitler&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=JRnsTPSvLpXP4Aa6zJ3ZAQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQsAQwAA&biw=1504&bih=981">Here, I'll get you started

    And oh yeah. Asking for a birth certificate is so much uglier than photoshopping a grotesque head onto disabled infant so that it's begging to be aborted. Gosh, you're sure right about that one.

  19. Palin, when asked (last year) if she would make Obama's birth certificate an election issue responded: "I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that."

    Can't say I recall Obama showing off any photoshops like the one you mention.

  20. I said any mention of the general "syndrome," such as it is, pisses me off, because it's not a syndrome. It's not anything except a cheap rhetorical trick that I wouldn't think a person who gives as much thought and effort to their perspective on the world as you obviously do would find much value in. Or, I wouldn't have thought it of you until now.

  21. On all those attacks – not one of them has been endorsed or issued by the mainstream democratic party. Many of the Obama-attack equivalents have been levelled directly by the GOP or prominent GOP pundits.

  22. Um, Jamie?

    Given this bit of news it might in good taste to make a change to your post title.

    But I guess you guys are right. Derangement probably isn't the right word for this either.

  23. John G is NOT prone to honest,thoughtful debate so much as spreading certain mistruths. (Vide his constant misreprestentations regarding the Levant Human rights article and the "9/11 mosque")

  24. What is the term for the syndrome that refuses to acknowledge that Palin has flaws.??

  25. Elections have a control where each person only gets one vote. In something like American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, people can usually vote for as many people as they want, which leads to the most devoted (obsessive) ones voting over and over again. Depending on what kind way the votes are collected (text messaging/online/etc.) they can even create programs that vote over and over automatically. I believe something like this is what the author was referring to as "gaming the system", not just having the most fans.

  26. I noticed that the majority of the articles out rarely mention Kyle Massey. Will ABC's DWTS again attempt a political statement every season for ratings? I don't think so because that would mean pitting ABC's politics against another contestant. The cats out of the bag on that one. Maybe next season they will invite all gay dancers…

  27. I noticed that the majority of the articles out rarely mention Kyle Massey. Will ABC's DWTS again attempt a political statement every season for ratings? I don't think so because that would mean pitting ABC's politics against another contestant. The cats out of the bag on that one. Maybe next season they will invite all gay dancers…

  28. Weinman displays his absurd political bias once again.

    Bush derangement syndrome was a real phenomenon to anyone with a brain. And the characterization that it is "mostly right" reveals that Weinman himself is afflicted with the disease.

  29. I see. So a Republican radio/print personality is a prominent GOP pundit, but a Democratic radio/print personality is out of the mainstream. And you make this distinction based on ratings/readership. Anything Rush says is GOP, but anything Andrew Sullivans says is non-mainstream.

    Rush Limbaugh is a prominent member of the GOP, while Al Franken is out of the Democratic mainstream?

    Is that how the world works in your mind?

    Your comment is absurd. Prominent Democrats have been jumping on the Bush/Palin derangement syndrome bandwagon for years. Not only that, there's not a single prominent birther in the GOP. Just because Palin isn't willing to shoot it down, that doesn't mean she's shown any interest in it herself. There's a distinction.

  30. You cannot invent a syndrome if there are no known cases. Nobody in the world, not even her most fervent supporters, would ever claim she is flawless.

  31. The worst part of the Palin-attackers is that they fail to see the equivalence between her and Obama.

    Neither is especially intelligent, despite Obama's affirmative-action assisted elitist education. Both have significant followings based on emotion or other flimsy charactersitics such as skin-colour, silly catch-phrases ("Hope and Change", " let me tell 'ya"), and populist-based popularity that is not likely to last more than a couple of years in either case. Both had little experience prior to the last election. Both spend vast amounts of time promoting themselves, while at the same time neither have produced any significant achievements other than their own popularity. Obama's peak was his Democratic nomination campaign. Palin's peak was her vice-presidential campaign. For both of them, they are better at campaigning than governing. Neither has shown any significant accomplishments in their lives, although Obama's failures have so far resulted in far more damage. Prior to the election, he had done nothing of significance, but since then, he's done a lot to drive the American economy into the ground and to deliver legislation and policies that have consistently been opposed, across the board, by significant majorities of the American population. Obama has yet to deliver something that Americans actually wanted. Palin did the same as Alaskan governor.

    The similarities are striking. And because the reason for their followers is so flimsy and trivial, I predict that in two years, both will suffer from over-exposure and low approval ratings. Neither has a chance in 2012.

  32. The worst part of the Palin-attackers is that they fail to see the equivalence between her and Obama.

    Neither is especially intelligent, despite Obama's affirmative-action assisted elitist education. Both have significant followings based on emotion or other flimsy charactersitics such as skin-colour, silly catch-phrases ("Hope and Change", " let me tell 'ya"), and populist-based popularity that is not likely to last more than a couple of years in either case. Both had little experience prior to the last election. Both spend vast amounts of time promoting themselves, while at the same time neither have produced any significant achievements other than their own popularity. Obama's peak was his Democratic nomination campaign. Palin's peak was her vice-presidential campaign. For both of them, they are better at campaigning than governing. Neither has shown any significant accomplishments in their lives, although Obama's failures have so far resulted in far more damage. Prior to the election, he had done nothing of significance, but since then, he's done a lot to drive the American economy into the ground and to deliver legislation and policies that have consistently been opposed, across the board, by significant majorities of the American population. Obama has yet to deliver something that Americans actually wanted. Palin did the same as Alaskan governor.

    The similarities are striking. And because the reason for their followers is so flimsy and trivial, I predict that in two years, both will suffer from over-exposure and low approval ratings. Neither has a chance in 2012.

    • Cute trick.

  33. Cute trick.

  34. Here's a case of Bush derangement sydrome:

    Former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday that "fundamentalism" under George W. Bush has resulted in a "dramatic and profound and unprecedented change" in American policy that threatens the United States at home and abroad.

    He said the natural "arrogance" of second-term presidents is exacerbated by a fundamentalism under Bush that causes many of his supporters and those who work in his administration to believe that "I am right because I am close to God (and) anybody who disagrees with me is inherently wrong, and therefore inferior."

    Is a Democratic ex-president a prominent Democrat?

  35. I'm merely saying that the term "[X] Derangement Syndrome" is used more by the right than by the left. It was, after all, invented by a conservative. The left have their own favourite terms.