Some of you may be tired of hearing about Sarah Palin by now. I meant to take a break from writing about her, but when I read something as provocative as Cintra Wilson’s latest piece of character assassination at Salon.com, I just have to respond.
Wilson opens her diatribe “Pissed about Palin” with the assertion, “Sarah Palin may be a lady, but she ain’t no woman.” Peppering her remarks profusely with profanity and vulgarity, Wilson proves that she herself may be a woman, but she ain’t no lady.
Warning: unladylike language and tackiness in general follow. Read on at your own risk, ladies.
Wilson calls Palin “a hyperconservative, fuckable, Type A, antiabortion, Christian Stepford wife in a ‘sexy librarian’ costume,” “a boost of political Viagra for the limp, bloodless GOP,” the GOP’s “hardcore pornographic centerfold spread,” “an opportunistic anti-female,” a “Republican blowup doll,” “the Carmella Soprano of the GOP — an enabling wife of organized crime, who sees, hears and speaks no evil of the boys in her old-boy network for whom she does this ideological lap dance.” The thought of this “power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty” being elevated to the vice presidency “is akin to ideological brain rape.”
Is that enough sexual imagery for you?
I’ve written before about the sexualization of Palin, but not about the sexualization of the McCain-Palin ticket itself, the staggeringly reactionary notion that a man and a woman running together on a national ticket are not just partners in politics, but a “couple.” Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times, for example,
Am I the only one who finds the whole thing creepy? John McCain still views himself as the handsome flyboy (remember the guy who played around on his faithful first wife with his hotter, richer current one). Now the old geezer is hugging his hot “soulmate” with a little too much enthusiasm in my opinion. It’s an image I find disgusting.
Creepy and disgusting in the way a lot of people found Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones being romantically involved creepy and disgusting in that movie whose name escapes me, I presume? Why should the visual image of McCain and Palin be creepy and disgusting? They’re political running mates, not lovers. Standing not far off on that stage were McCain’s wife and Palin’s (very attractive) husband.
I fully expected Maureen Dowd to sexualize Palin, since Maureen Dowd sexualizes everything. It’s part of her schtick, sort of the way insulting liberals is part of Ann Coulter’s. The two Queens of Mean from opposite sides of the political spectrum have in common a breezy, witty style that comes from the fact that they’re both obviously having so darn much fun picking on Caribou Barbie and B. Hussein Obama (Coulter’s name for him, not mine, so no hate mail, please). Every single one of Dowd’s columns since the Palin pick has been about Palin, and every one of them contains sexual and/or sexist language:
‘Barbies for War!’ (9/17), Bering Straight Talk (9/14), My Fair Veep (9/10), Clash of the Titans (9/7, in which she refers to Palin as “Hottie Granny”), Life of Her Party (9/3, includiing the “wild soap opera story lines erupting from the Palin family”), and Vice in Go-Go Boots? (8/31, which describes the Palin rise to prominence as a “hokey chick flick….a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime” and includes a scene where Palin takes off her glasses and down her hair to appear at her sexiest for a showdown with Vladimir Putin).
There is a playful humor in both Dowd’s and Coulter’s columns that is missing in Cintra Wilson’s attempts at humor, which have a dark, desperate edge that cuts far closer to the bone. Dowd and Coulter seem to see Palin and Obama respectively as candidates who would be bad for the United States, but looking on the bright side, very good for their own writing careers. Wilson, on the other hand, when she sees Palin on the Republican ticket claims to feel “as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism.” Way to trivialize the murder of six million, girlfriend.
Wilson writes in a blog post titled “Sarah Palin: White House Bunny” that her Salon article “seems to be arousing the ire of backwater, atavistic, evangelical Christian Taliban zealots everywhere,” and signs off with “Pro-Lifers, if I’ve made any of you finally see the light, your next abortion is on me.”
Okay, abortion is funny? Obama and Clinton and every other serious pro-choice politician is careful to say that they are in favor of the right to choose abortion, but that it would be far better if fewer abortions were performed, implying that there is something at least morally problematic about terminating a pregnancy. Not Cintra Wilson. She thinks it’s just a big joke, telling readers of her blog, “Instead of sending hate mail, please go abort yourself.” And it’s Republicans who are mean-spirited.
Nothing mean-spirited, of course, about dragging Palin’s children into the fray:
Sarah Palin is a bit comical, like one of those cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage moms. What her Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right. The throat she’s so hot to cut is that of all American women.
Because, as we all know, nothing else — national security, the war, the mortgage crisis, federal bail-outs, taxes, energy policy, immigration, foreign relations — matters at all to any woman besides the right to terminate a pregnancy right up to her due date.
What makes the feminist hysteria over abortion truly absurd, however, is the simple fact that electing John McCain and Sarah Palin is not going to make it impossible to get an abortion. Even if a liberal Supreme Court justice dies or retires during McCain’s term, and if he chooses a strict constructionist judge as a replacement, and if the Senate doesn’t Bork the nominee and force McCain to choose someone more to Senate Democrats’ liking, and if the Court does end up overturning Roe v. Wade, all that will do is remove the Federal protection for abortion, and leave the issue up to the states. Utah and a few other states may pass laws limiting or even outlawing abortion in that state, but California and New York and most other states wouldn’t. Utah’s laws wouldn’t affect any other states, and women in Utah would still have “the right to choose,” since they could choose to drive across the border into Nevada to abort their babies.
When Wilson and other feminists like her make politics all about abortion, they are engaging in the worst sort of reductionism, in effect equating women with their reproductive organs. Ms. Wilson can fixate on body parts if she wants, but I refuse to be defined by my physiology. I am a citizen, not a walking, talking uterus.
Wilson tells pro-lifers, “Squeal all you like, just stay out my underpants. You’re not my type.”
I was tempted to make the retort that Wilson is asking for with this line, but since I prefer to be a real lady rather than a real woman, I will refrain, and say only that her underpants are in no imminent danger, since even if Roe is overturned someday, she will still be free to have all the abortions her heart desires as long as she keeps her black lace in a blue state.