In 1990 former N.W.A. rapper Ice Cube came out with a song called "The [Person] You Love to Hate." Through gratuitous use of profanity and racial slurs, Ice Cube tells the listener that he feels marginalized and that society wants to "sweep a [person] like me up under the rug." As a crowd yells profanities at the rapper on the track he laughs, indicating that he likes that people hate him as it ups his profile. The album was quite popular and is credited with helping launch hip hop into the American mainstream, not to mention Ice Cube's successful solo career.
Fast forward 18 years; we have Sarah Palin, another gun lover who feels marginalized by a large societal body yet relishes hatred towards her because it just generates more media attention. It helped her launch the Tea Party into the mainstream. Her personal wealth has certainly increased since quitting the governorship of Alaska, realizing that she could monetize her ineptitude on the lucrative paid speeches circuit.
Her constant attacks on the "corrupt bastards" of the media, her misquoting of Wall Street Journal reporters, her "accidentally" favorite-ing an Ann Coulter tweet commending a church that asserts Obama is a Taliban Muslim. These are all news stories that, while proving her incompetence, also gain her serious media attention, which is her goal. This is, of course, the very same woman who invited cameras into her home for a reality show, only to complain about the attention she's getting from the press.
But, in reality, Palin loves the "attacks" from the press. It is her bread and butter. Without a media to point out why Palin is wrong on issue after issue, there would be no one to rail against. Without anyone to rail against, she could not play the marginalized populist that she does so well, despite being paid more than the median annual household income per speaking engagement. In other words, if people were to simply ignore Palin, she would go away.
It's too late to do that, as this very blog post evidences. She has created such a train wreck of a character that we as a country can only watch to see what happens next. And, most baffling, she has amassed a certain amount of power and has wielded it to fit her personal needs very well. It has gotten to the point that the next Palin misstep may be anything but, as it will garner more paper headlines and evening news reports, which in Palin-land translates into dollars.
There will be a time when Palin's faux-populism will run its course. Until then we will have to borrow from Ice Cube again and ask, "Are we there yet?"
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