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11/02/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Culture Zohn: Pod Palin

Do you remember in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the best one, with Kevin McCarthy) when they open the trunk of the car and you get your first glimpse of the pods? And then when you actually see one oozing and growing in the closet overnight?

That's how I felt watching Sarah Palin. Tina Fey is her pod person and has taken over her body so completely that nobody can actually believe the winks and zany circumlocutions anymore, and there is no alternative but to laugh.

The problem is, it's not funny.

Palin stayed on script, the way Fey does when she's reading the teleprompter on SNL. There was not one thought or line original to her. Except maybe the doggone.

How is it possible that someone potentially president would have to be "handled" for every visit to the Hill (which by the way, the senators were none too happy to hear she would be taking over) or to meet with a delegation from Russia?

Did you hear how she says the word 'foreign' and really makes them sound like they, too, are from another planet?

But let us not separate style from substance.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist or even a high school biology teacher to tell that if John McCain and Sarah Palin were to be elected there would be further erosion of so many aspects of basic progress we've made in the last fifty years.

They postulate that a woman's body isn't her own, that her children need protection from terrorists but not from disease, that our courts would act as parental surrogates, dispensing home-style justice, that teaching evolution could be reality-optional, that librarians could be sacked for not being willing to remove certain books from shelves, that gays would risk being severed from their property, real and otherwise, that guns are the chic thing to model for our children, that defiling the environment with snowmobile racing is ok, that people in the north country like Alaska, are the real deal while those from the south, like Mexico, are somehow worth less.

We call these culture wars because they represent supposedly differing constituencies in our diverse society.

But they are really quite a bit more than that.

These attitudes are bred by fear and by religious belief, a toxic combination that in their ultimate iterations have produced things like the Inquisition.

In talking with people from the other side of the aisle, I haven't been able to make much progress, alas: they are reluctant to bash Palin overtly since they think she is helping the ticket.

It has put into ever harsher relief the gross, seemingly growing schism in our country, one where the right wing camp is withdrawing further and further into a bunker mentality, lobbing cultural grenades without really looking because they are afraid to stick their heads up to really see what is going on.

Kind of like Sarah Palin. Though she was told to look Biden in the eye and supposedly disarm him by calling him Joe, he was right back at her with great to meet you. In other words, here was a guy who'd been in government for thirty plus years who never had laid eyes on this woman.

Don't let them tell you this is a good thing, that regular joes can run the government as well as any professional.

Would you like to go to your doctor or lawyer and find Sarah Palin there instead?

What is going on is nothing less than incubating a pod person.

I'd rather have Tina!

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