Viewership of Palin program drops
You wrote about the first episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska: “Her persona and her increasingly shrill and affected voice were harder to take than ever. I will be surprised if this program keeps its large audience.”
Your prediction has proven correct. Ratings for Sarah Palin’s Alaska plummeted for the show’s second episode. The show fell 40 percent on Sunday night, to three million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The premiere had drawn five million viewers, setting a ratings record for a TLC show debut.
I speculate that two things are going on: people are realizing that Sarah Palin is about herself more than anything else, such as family or country; and they are realizing that that self has become fake and unattractive. Thus in her recent speaking appearances which I have seen, her emotions and her voice have been the blatantly artificial, self-consciously “cutesy” emotions and voice of a kind of professional cheerleader, the very opposite of the slightly ditsy yet idealistic and patriotic “American original” whom we met two years ago. As a result of these changes in her, it seems to me that the more she imposes herself on us, and the more “wall to wall” Sarah we are forced to experience, the more people are going to turn away from her—not because they are disposed to be Palin haters, but because she has become such an irritating, artificial, and self-centered personality.
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Perhaps your prediction will prove correct regarding the public’s increasing dislike of Palin. But as for the current vitriol directed at her, that has very little to do with her admittedly shrill and narcissistic personality faults.
Those who hate her now, many of whom never watch Fox News and thus aren’t seeing her appearances there, hate her solely because she represents the unwashed white conservative working class. Palin is portrayed as reflecting all the traits putatively associated with this cohort, whether such characterization is fair or not (in my opinion: most of it isn’t). They hate her as a proxy for hating the group they blame for all that is wrong with this country.
Two points: First, unlike almost everyone else on the right, I am not focused on the Palin haters of the left, I’m interested in what non-Palin haters think of her. Second, unlike almost everyone else on the right, I do not use the fact that people on the left hate Palin as a reason for me to support her. I’m interested in what I think is true, rather than automatically taking the opposite position from whatever position the people on the left are taking.
Let us please remember that this was exactly the mistake that conservatives made with Bush for eight years. Instead of thinking objectively about Bush, they were obsessively focused on the left’s attacks on Bush, which made them see him, entirely falsely, as a great conservative hero to whose defense they had to devote themselves while closing their eyes to his flaws. And now once again they are letting themselves be led by the nose by the left, automatically reacting against the left’s attacks on a supposed conservative, instead of making their own independent judgments of things. Among other problems with this position, aren’t the conservatives simply bored with it by now? Doesn’t it get tiresome to spend one’s entire political life responding like Pavlov’s dog to the left’s lies and outrages?
Let us also remember, that so long as conservatism consists primarily in reacting to the left, conservatism will define itself as any position which is one inch to the right of the left, thus giving the left complete control over conservatism, rather than setting out a conservative ground that is independent of the left and so is able to take a position that will truly challenge the left’s domination of the modern world.
As long as the right defines conservatism as that which the left attacks, all the left has to do is attack some liberal Republican, like Bush or McCain or the feminist, Title IX-spouting Palin, and the right will then automatically see that liberal Republican as the leader and symbol of conservatism and invest all its energies in his or her defense. The left thus effortlessly gets the right to abandon conservatism and move itself to the left, without the right even realizing that this is happening
A reader writes:
Terrific comments by you.
For those critics of this website who think that I block out critical comments and only post comments agreeing with me, that is literally the only comment I got on this entry.
Dale F. writes:
Only one comment so far? OK, I’m up for Larry Auster’s “Sarah Palin Challenge!” (Perhaps your own reality TV show?)
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 23, 2010 10:59 PM | Send
Palin is a remarkable woman. From City Council to Mayor in her hometown, to a spot on the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission where she exposed corruption within her own party, to Governor, to candidate for Vice President—that’s quite a ride for a woman not yet fifty. Granted, in a small state (200,000 fewer people than the city of San Jose, California) with small media markets, it’s easier for an unconventional candidate to run and win.
On the downside: I find it difficult to listen to her. There’s something about the timbre of her voice, her pauses and her unusual word choices that is annoying. Though I might agree with her much of the time on the issues, her banal speeches give no evidence of deep—or even merely logical—thought. To be fair, she occasionally comes up with a felicitous phrase (e.g. “death panels”) that succinctly captures the essence of a complicated issue.
I’m not enthusiastic about her as a presidential candidate. But in the dismal case of an election contest between Palin and Obama, I might vote for her as I could not (and did not) for McCain, both because I think she’s less liberal than McCain and because the need to repudiate Obama is great. If Obamacare is not found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, electing a Republican president dedicated to repeal in 2012 may be the only way of stopping a mortal threat to our nation.
I’m assuming that no centrist Democrat who might accede to partial or complete repeal will challenge Obama and win the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination, and that it’s at least possible that Republicans could achieve 60 seats in the Senate either in 2012 or 2014 … a lot of assumptions. (On second thought, a filibuster-proof Republican Senate majority might not be necessary to repeal Obamacare, because two years from now there may be red state Democrats eager to retain their jobs who will run on a repeal platform, or because the budget-busting costs of Obamacare will by then be so clear that it could be repealed—as it was passed—in a budget reconciliation bill.)