So, over the holiday weekend, Sarah Palin filmed her very own mumblecore epic, for the Sundance Film Festival, entitled "Oh Hai I Am Resigning, For No Reason, Listen To The Squawking Of The Animals!" You know what that means: IT'S A GAMECHANGER! Someone is up! Someone else is down! And if you want to wade through several hundred interstitial ads for Extenze and sub-prime mortgage lenders, you could go over to Mark Halperin's Page Of Listicles, and get scammed. Or, you could stay right here and and suffer through one of my own, as I gamely attempt "Conventional, Ennui-Inducing Punditry" to tell you who were the Winners and Losers of the whole Sarah Palin Randomly Resigns For Freedom Debacle.
1. Sarah Palin, obviously!
Clearly, Sarah Palin emerges from this time in her life as the big winner, for now she can kick the dirt off that one-horse state she was running and walk the foothills of this country, as the Southern Strategy's version of Oprah Winfrey, where she'll earn beaucoup ducats and be able to afford a wardrobe of designer threads of her very own! Or, maybe she'll end up as the new Greta Van Susteren, as Joe Scarborough predicts? Or maybe she'll successfully sue the internet for defamation and save print journalism. The sky is the limit, and she's up in her helicopter, aerially hunting the shit out of some opportunities.
2. The Media
Well, as everyone knows, Sarah Palin is the first candidate ever to be treated as anything less than a God by the mainstream media. And Palin was also the first ever public figure to ever complain about this. I am so happy to see that, finally, everyone will have the opportunity to move past this. The press can get back to their typical self-love and brilliant, inoffensive stenography, and politicians can return to behaving as the paragons of decorum we know them to be.
Everyone knows that the honeyed rhetoric of Barack Obama is nothing but Muslimized magicks, invented by covens of Uighur warlocks. These terrifying spells were cast on the public through the use of a device called a Teleprompter, which David Axelrod invented a few months ago. Since then, conservatives have rightly beaten down and abused these teleprompters for being strange, but after Palin's speech, one thing is clear -- whoever emerges as America's Next Top GOP Contender will be using one!
4. Surrealist Basketball
Not to harp on this overmuch, but Sarah Palin's description of offensive roundball strategy is perhaps the most significant stuff advanced in basketball since the advent of the shot-clock and gangsta tattoos. Tommy Craggs at Deadspin has done brain-busting work to diagram Palin's take on the game:
I really think that Dwyane Wade will thrive in this system if he'd shut up and start listening to Randy Scheunemann.
5. Marion Barry
Seriously. Marion Barry smoked crack, with whores, and promoted "gasification," and once said that the "law of gravity was racist," and his middle name is, incomprehensibly, "Shepilov," and this weekend, he got arrested for straight stalkin' some lady and yet -- YET! -- he survived the weekend with an intact political career, comparatively. Wow. Just...wow.
6. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore
Dude! Palin's out. Sanford's out. Ensign's out. Bobby Jindal loves erupting volcanoes. Newt Gingrich is a charlatan who bought indulgences from the Pope. Haley Barbour, is, I think, a drunk riverboat captain from a Mark Twain short story. And Mitt Romney is a fraud-fueled android from Blade Runner. All of this means that 2012 is going to be Jim Gilmore's year! Provided enough people remember who Jim Gilmore is. (A caveat: Odds are even that Jim Gilmore, himself, doesn't remember who he is.)
1. Sarah Palin, obviously!
Well, for real, everyone, Palin really does have a hard row to hoe to get back to where she was a week ago, which was, believe it or not: Plausible Presidential Contender. Who thinks that marching out in front of a bunch of squawking birds on the day before Independence Day to ramble on about her her new vision of quitting all of her jobs to prove a point about what a person could do to make a difference for Alaska was a good idea? BILL KRISTOL, that's who. I think that you can just stamp "QED" on your laptop monitor, right now.
2. Lieutenant Governor Parnell
I don't know about you, but this Alaska place sounds like a horrorshow to run, what with Putin's rearing head and everywhere a kickback and the wolves running amok and the fact that most of the people in the state want to secede from the U.S., with the help of the husband of Sarah Palin! It really makes me want New York Governor Paterson to sack up and stop crying about how everyone's so mean to him! Anyway, I feel bad for Parnell, and I hope that it won't cause him to spend too much time away from the set of "30 Rock," where he's very funny as the recurring character, Dr. Spaceman.
Bad news for Alaskan wildlife! Sarah Palin recently tweeted: "Grateful Todd left fishing grnds to join me this wkend; but now he's back slaying salmon & working the kids @ the site; anxious to join 'em!" Plus, Palin will have more time to pursue her passion: aerial wolf-hunting. And more species in more states to gun down in white-hot fusillades from the sky! All of that means new Huffington Post Green Editor Katherine Goldstein will have to work doubly hard to save all the little critters.
4. All Comedians Besides David Letterman and Tina Fey
David Letterman is already claiming credit, so he's happy. And Tina Fey will obviously have more time to work on "30 Rock" now that she won't be compelled to offer her Palin imitation at the whim of Lorne Michaels. That said, the threat posed by the end of Palin's phantasmagoric public life spells ill for all comedians, who will have to go back to making "incisive commentary" on "less easy targets," or something. Also at issue is the burn rate of Palin jokes. The speed at which comics are presently running through the supply of available Palin humor is leading to catastrophic levels of depletion. I've already Twittered most of my best Palin material, which is why this column sucks so bad.
5. Wild, Rhetorical Tangents
Palin's bizarre performance all but assures that politicians will be guarding against going off on their own nonsensical tangents and digressions. That's bad news for Joe Biden, who won't be able to just issue throwaway paragraphs on "That time all the economists told us the unemployment numbers would be a lot better, hoo boy, good times!" like he likes to do.
6. Alaska Political Bloggers
Palin fueled the rise of several political bloggers from Alaska, who provided key insight into her governing style, career highlights, and past scandals. But now that Palin's quitting the scene, what are they going to blog about? Is Alaska politics that fascinating? Seems to me that there are yard sales that are more difficult to run than the town of Wasilla. So what are the hot topics going to be? Commercial zoning restrictions in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley? Coastal hunting and fishing licenses? GOD I AM ALREADY BORED TO THE POINT OF SUICIDAL IDEATION.
Here's one thing that I don't know will be a winner or a loser, yet: perspective. Maybe we've arrived at the end of the Palin story. Maybe it's just starting to get good. God knows I've enjoyed the motherlove out of every chapter of this bizarre time in our lives. At the same time, I remember that America is fighting two wars and dealing with an economic collapse, and that our freedoms are still being impinged upon by the vision of the unitary executive which President Bush built and which President Obama shows no stomach for dismantling. Meanwhile, Congress keeps watering down effective policies at the behest of lobbyist hacks, who pay good money to re-elect the same useless, seat-occupying, air-pump trash, year in and year out.
Say what you want about Sarah Palin, but none of that is her fault.
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