Sarah Palin: America's full-time pro duelist
Dec. 3, 2010 at 6:03 a.m.
Updated Dec. 4, 2010 at 6:04 a.m.
The template for the perpetual Sarah Palin feud was set last Valentine's Day. The animated series "Family Guy" aired an episode in which a character with Down Syndrome said her mother was the former Governor of Alaska.
From her platform as a paid Fox News contributor, Palin pounced on the moment to condemn Seth McFarland. "Cruel and cold-hearted people who would do such a thing," she said on Bill O'Reilly's The Factor. She also used the occasion to demand then-Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel step down for using the word "retard." When asked, Palin said Rush Limbaugh - who constantly uses the r-word - is "using satire."
Following Palin's determination of what satire is, the actress Andrea Fay Friedman, who played the character with Down Syndrome - who also fittingly has Down Syndrome - made a statement to the press: "I guess former Gov. Palin does not have a sense of humor . My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Gov. Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes."
So the mold of Sarah Palin's taking to the airwaves to blast someone using incorrect facts solidified. If she had just done a little Google research, when asked about the episode, she could have graciously said, "I would be proud for such an accomplished actress like Miss Friedman to be my daughter." Instead Palin appeared volatile, insulting and ignorant.
During the same appearance in which she slammed McFarland, Palin also pronounced to O'Reilly, "Let's not call each other names because it invalidates what our arguments are all about."
This is the same woman who refers to her critics as "jerks." Palin called CBS-affiliates "corrupt bastards" in the same week she called reporters "impotent and limp and gutless." She called the McCain campaign's Steve Schmidt a liar and in her book said he was "rotund." She called journalist Joe McGinnis a "pervert" and implied he was a peeping tom. She labeled feminists as a "cackle of rads." She blasted Alaska bloggers as "bored, anonymous and pathetic." She deemed David Letterman "sexually perverted" after accusing him of making a rape joke about her then 14-year-old daughter. And don't forget when she accused her opponent/enemy of "palling around with terrorists" and still refers to him as "Barack Hussein."
How's that not name-y because it invalidates your argument thingy working out for ya?
In fact, Palin is now our nation's only full-time professional duelist. She fights with everyone. Her entire post-quitting career is centered on flame wars, most of which she starts. They are often petty, sanctimonious, trumped-up jabs, which do nothing but make the media talk about her more. And she's monetized the drama. She's gone pro. Yes, she's found the formula Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian pioneered: shameless and shallow sells. I'm inexplicably addicted to the show Jerseylicious, and if it weren't for conflict, it would just be a bunch of frosted-lipped spandex-clad women cutting hair. Instead, it's World War III in a rhinestone-studded turnpike-adjacent strip mall. That's what makes it a show.
The media loves conflict. It's easy to cover verbal battles. And so we do.
Palin has dueled with McCain staffer Nicolle Wallace; father of her granddaughter Levi Johnston; Ashley Judd; Karl Rove; Politico; Alaska teacher Kathleen Gustafson; Arnold Schwarzenegger; columnists Maureen Down, Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker; Reality TV mom Kate Gosselin; Ben Bernanke; Katie Couric; Sen. Lisa Murkowski; Congressman Spencer Bachus; Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Gawker; and, Barbara Bush - just to name a few.
The common denominator in all these feuds? Sarah Palin.
Besides viciously accusing men with whom she disagrees as somehow being sex perverts, while at the same time granting a pass for indiscretions to men with whom she agrees (Limbaugh), Palin's main accusation is that people are lying. They are "making stuff up." Yes, according to the trumpeter of the "death panel" canard, everyone else is a liar. It's just a coincidence everyone Palin encounters isn't truthful. Poor, Barracuda.
Palin has gotten a couple of No. 1 hits with the same old song. That's why it's all starting to sound alike.
I've watched enough nature shows to know that if a real Mama Grizzly fought this much of the time - we'd have to assume the beast was rabid.
Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor of FishbowlLA.com. Tina can be reached at email@example.com.