11/15/2010 12:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

CultureZohn: Sarah Palin, Ain't no mountain high enough

Twice before I have had to claim Sarah Palin as a cultural icon to get her into my column, but now that she is a new reality star, a role she was born to inhabit way more than Vice President of the United States, I feel free to poach on my fellow political columnists' turf.

Since two of my sons have climbed Mount McKinley in Denali National Park in Alaska, and I was throwing up for days thinking of them on the mountain, I feel especially entitled to comment on Ms Palin's invocation of Mother Nature as the all powerful in episode one of her new reality series.

Normally, they don't encourage climbers like Palin at that level in Denali. Even one of mine was considered too young to go all the way up. It's climbers like Palin who got people into the mess up on Everest some years back. Just because you can afford to be drop-shipped in there doesn't mean you belong.

Bears and fish notwithstanding, perfectly made up even for a float trip or a craggy ascent, Palin proved herself to be every bit the sham artist that she is accused of being in her other, political, life. It's even worse to think she brings her family members along to potentially fall off the mountain with her. This is diva behavior--an attribute she tries to disclaim--if I ever saw it.

She looked as if she were looking for a Tea Party and when she got stuck, she needed her guide, to whom she was appropriately roped, for her to get up (or down).

Who is Palin roped to in politics? The problem is, nobody. She has a persona fabricated from thin air like Paris Hilton, so it's entirely kosher for her to take something out of the Hilton playbook as she crosses over to the other side. After all, Hollywood celebs have been crossing over to politics for years, and fair is fair. Yet if Palin were anchored to someone bright, with political bona fides, was willing to admit what she doesn't know about politics or governing, was holding on for dear life, her hubris temporarily tamed, then I could at least have the tiniest bit of respect for her.

I don't feel like falling off the mountain with Sarah Palin as she boldly and blindly goes where she doesn't know what she is doing. It made me even crazier to imagine that our country was so desperate that this woman has been sanctified as a real option for leadership. It was "a Eureka moment," as she so cutely put it.

I know she made fun of herself seeing Russia, but if she said something else quotable, please forgive me. I had to press the mute button after about a half hour of Her Shrillness.