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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sarah Palin Is Wrong About Facebook 

Whatever you may think about Sarah Palin, whatever you may like or dislike about her personality, whatever you may believe about her life story or her husband or children, whatever you may think of her political ideology, the truth is this: On at least one very important point (representative of many other points), she is very, very wrong.

On page 400 of her book Going Rogue, Palin discusses her Facebook posts:
These posts had an impact, and it made me think, Isn't Facebook a terrific illustration of the power of American ingenuity?

Facebook was created in a Harvard dorm room in 2004. No one gave its young creator a government grant — he just did it on his own, like generations of other American entrepreneurs.
It's true that Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg did not receive a government grant when he created Facebook late one night while he was drunk in order to compare the ugly chicks on campus to farm animals. (I swear I'm not making this up.)

However, the Internet — without which there could be no Facebook — was in part the result of a massive government project. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in coordination with computer science departments at universities around the country (and researchers in other countries) spent millions and millions of dollars to develop the amazing technology that allowed Mr. Zuckerberg to make his ugly-chicks/farm-animal site.

Sarah Palin complaining on Facebook about how reliant we all are on big government is criminally pathetic. If she doesn't know, then shame on her for being ignorant. If she knows and is trying to deceive her readers, then shame on her for hiding the truth.

Pic from SarahCalendar.com. Just $15.95 — order now to get "Over 50 photographs of Gov Sarah Palin and her family". But don't talk about the kids!


It's awesome, it's got great music. Very meta. Thanks as always to Madsimian.

Today I'm listening to: SomaFM!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm Going Rogue 

I've decided to start living my life more like Sarah Palin. She's so rebellious and independent — she's more rogue than Anna Paquin. I'm going to approach every situation from now on with the single goal of doing the opposite of what I'm expected to do. I like turtles! (See what I did there? You expected that sentence to logically follow from the one before it, but I went rogue!)

I'm listening to Sarah Palin's audiobook and I have to say, I am thrilled. She's had such an exciting life! Before I start talking about it, though, we need to establish some ground rules. First of all, her kids are off limits! Like she says (excerpt):
Let’s debate ideas. Let’s argue about legislation and policy. Let’s talk about political philosophy. But leave my children alone.
So what because she dressed her baby up as an angel to pose for a Right To Life ad? So what because she launched her campaign for governor at her child's 15th birthday party? So what because she drags her children along to every photo-op and public event? She does that because it shows what her priorities are! Don't talk about the kids!

We Gotta Fight The Powers That Be

It's amazing to me that everything in her life relates in some way to Bucking the System. When she was mayor of Wasilla, THE MAN didn't want her to discuss which books might not be appropriate for the library. When she ran for governor, THE MAN didn't appreciate her speaking ill of other Republicans. When she served on the Alaska oil regulatory board, THE MAN didn't want her investigating corruption.

She's more rebellious than the grandchild of M1 and Chuck D and Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver. And most of the time she's in hot water with Republicans. She's the perfect Republican candidate for independent voters! She deals with principles, not politics. She's going to speak her mind, and to hell with what the political machine wants or expects. She's just so.. so.. rogue!

She fired the chief of police for not being motivated enough. (That's not the way he tells it; according to him, she was unhappy that he wasn't positive enough. Swear to god — read this Seattle Times article.) She also fired Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan for — to quote Dave Barry, I swear I'm not making this up — "egregious rogue behavior". See, he was just the wrong kind of rogue!

Believe in THIS, Obama

Did you know Barack Obama stole the idea of using "Change" as a campaign slogan from Sarah Palin? It's true! One of his top aides grew up in Alaska or something, and when Palin ran for governor, her whole campaign was about change. I doubt I'll get this quote exactly right, but it was something like: "We were talking about change before change was cool." She also mentioned that they "kept it real" by bringing their kids to rallies. Swear to god.

Most of the other shots at Obama so far have been attempts at subtlety. When discussing the residents of Wasilla, she points out that they're "can-do, do-it-yourself kind of people -- no community organizers needed". Take that, you punk-chump so-called "President"! Keep your death panels away from my children, about whom you should not speak.

I Don't Hate Sarah Palin

Lorraine Hansberry, in her play Les Blancs, presents a character who says: "I don't hate all white people. But I wish I did; it would make things so much easier." I feel this way about Sarah Palin. There are some redeeming things about her. Her writing style is crap; just atrocious, all over the place, jumping between topics with very little regard for the tempo of the story or structure of her narration. At the same time, she includes some precise details that work to engage the reader (something I'm always hounding my Creative Writing I students to do).

More substantially, her personal perspectives are a panorama of contradiction. She speaks passionately about how important it was for her to have the same opportunities as men, and how Title IX was to her high school sports career (with obvious implications for the rest of her life). But then, as if terrified about the dreaded FEMINISM warning bells that are wailing in her readers' ears, she lashes out at NOW and other feminists, accusing them of promoting a narrow political ideology. She speaks with similar conviction about the ecological terrorism inflicted on Alaska by Exxon, and how angry she got when legislators — state and national — refused to hold them accountable. But she whines constantly about the restrictive nature of regulation, and while I haven't seen precise quotes, I'm sure she's opposed to reform that would more seriously punish criminal corporations. (Let's revoke some charters, shall we!?)

And besides, I believe strongly that we must hate what a person does and says, while not hating the person herself. (If you've ever heard me say, for example, that I "want to see Kissinger hanging from a rope", rest assured that it was hyperbole.) I love Ms. Palin like I love all humans, even the ones, like Dick Cheney and Bernie Madoff and Osama Bin Laden and Robert Willie, who do atrocious things. (Debbie Morris' book Forgiving the Dead Man Walking is one of only a few books to actually make me cry — very powerful and extremely important.)

So as much as I joke about hating Sarah Palin, I only hate what she does and says and believes and represents and promotes and looks at. (TPCQ: "I don't hate you; I hate your parents for having you." Paul Mooney, whose book Black is the New White is also very good.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to save the human race from extinction.


Sometimes just putting "wacky funny silly" into YouTube actually works!

Today I'm listening to: Cougar! (They're a superb instrumental band from Madison who just signed with Counter/NinjaTune.)