Showing posts with label Neo-Pentecostal/Charismatic Girls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neo-Pentecostal/Charismatic Girls. Show all posts

June 15, 2010

Posner Weighs In on Palin, Feminism and the Christian Right

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.
-- Apostle/St. Paul, 1 Timothy 2:12

The teabaggers are bound to wax themselves into a corner around gender. With working mom Sarah Palin on the one hand and the ascent of Sharron Angle as the challenger for Senate majority leader Harry Reid on the other, The Sarah is once again going to be challenged to crap or get off the pot when it comes to the tea party. Sharron doesn't approve of households where both parents work. I suppose she intends to get small government to impose this on America's families, somehow. Along with getting the fluoride out of the water, and Alex Jones onto the basic package of every ISP and cable company in America.

Vague sentimentalism like the bumper-sticker sloganeering Palin uttered during that ridiculous Fox Business "summit" are going to wear thin for her if she doesn't make a decision about the whackodoodle direction of the tea party, soon. The same is true for her Christian beliefs. She's going to have to fish or cut bait, to keep them reigned in by (and of course voting for) the GOP or cut them loose.

And yep, it's true: Sarah's got people talkin', and thinkin' (and you thought that wasn't possible. Well, it is.) Regarding her political aspirations, there are a lot of people besides traditional feminists and the general left who feel they have a stake.

If it's one thing I've learned, it's when people ask "Is Sarah Palin __________?" the answer is usually "no", or "probably not", at best. Sarah Posner asked at Religion Dispatches today if Is Sarah Palin The New Leader Of The Christian Right?, in response to Lisa Miller's Newsweek cover article. I concur with her conclusion, "no", but for somewhat different reasons than Posner gave.

Along with the now-conventional wisdom that Sarah is not permitted to use the "f" word to describe herself and her sisterhood of female bigots, Posner takes up the idea that Palin could be considered the leader of the religious right. At issue is the age-old question of gender roles, Biblical interpretation, and the future of both the feminist and religious right movements.

Cutting to the chase,

Palin will no more become a leader of the religious right than [Marjorie] Dannenfelser will, because Dannenfelser, like Phyllis Schlafly before her, will be lauded but still marginalized by the religious right men.

That may be true, but it's only part of the story. Firstly, Sarah Palin has the religious right discussing the issue like no one else before her, not even Aimee Semple MacPherson, mentioned occasionally on these pages, and in Posner's article. The main reason Palin will not become head of the religious right is primarily theological. Her lack of a strong, clearly-stated personal theology -- including one that grounds gender roles as interpreted through the Bible -- may be working for her now, but it will work against her in the future.

This is a recurring theme at OCIHACOSP. From 10-20-08:

This just in from the Day Late/Dollar Short Department: "YouTube Videos Draw Attention to Palin’s Faith".

Ms. Palin responded by speaking generally, but extensively, about how she counts on God for strength, guidance and wisdom. “My faith has always been pretty personal,” she said. But she did not talk more specifically about her church affiliation or her beliefs.

She's not likely to. As covered earlier by this site, Sarah Palin keeps her theological views under wraps and is not likely to disclose them.

Appearances to the contrary, she is actually something of a cipher when it comes to "religion" and just what she believes.

Fact is, we don't know what she personally believes about much of anything because she never says, and seems content to just let people wonder and/or presume. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists prefer certitude to ambiguity, and do not trust the latter. Add to this that Palin employs weasel-language like the more neutral "pro-family" as opposed to yesteryear's "traditional family values"; outside some weasally ramblings on supporting a federal marriage amendment and that crank/dogwhistle comment about her gay best friend, rarely says much against homosexuality.

Expect theological litmus tests to be ramped up against Mrs. Palin as she rises in the political arena. At the rate she is going, she'll never pass very many of them.

Posner continues,

Miller talks about how the religious right base sees Palin as an Esther figure -- or, as I wrote during the campaign, an anointed figure. But that's not the same as being a religious right leader. When the religious right talks about an Esther figure, or an "Esther moment," it's a means of motivating the base to believe that anyone, like Queen Esther, can step up and save the world from evil. (Sure, Esther was anointed to save the Jews from genocide, and that's pretty much the same as saving America from socialism, eh?)

When the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land tells Miller that Palin "is going to be able to raise a lot of money for people she wants to support, and she will make a big difference in the primaries," he's referring to her Esther-mobilizing capabilities. And the religious right, and the Republican Party, are undoubtedly grateful for her ability to rally the shock troops and bring in some cash. But it's hard to imagine that any of the big guns would willingly let Palin compete for a leadership role. She may be leading a movement comprised of women, but that's not the same as a women's movement.

Esther is one Biblical figure; Deborah is another. Writing for his blog and as editor of Charisma magazine, J. Lee Grady covered this topic, a couple weeks after McCain's VP announcement.

When McCain announced that he had chosen Palin as his running mate, I was reminded of the biblical story of Deborah, the Old Testament prophet who rallied God’s people to victory at a time when ancient Israel was being terrorized by foreign invaders. Deborah’s gender didn’t stop her from amassing an army; she inspired the people in a way no man could. She and her defense minister, Barak, headed to the front lines and watched God do a miracle on the battlefield.

In her song in Judges 5:7, Deborah declares: “The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel” (NASB).

Sometimes it takes a true mother to rally the troops. I hope that Palin, a woman who believes in prayer and is filled with the Holy Ghost, will take her hockey stick and smash the glass ceiling in American politics once and for all.

Leave it to a Neo-Pentecostal/Charismatic man to detect this potential in Palin (though there is no evidence whatsoever she is "filled with the Holy Ghost".) That shameless, brazen gender card is what Miller chronicled in Newsweek. So far, it's worked very well for Palin.

Contrast Grady with what Brian Abshire of ├╝ber-Reformed/Christian Reconstructionist Institute for Christian Culture wrote, the following week:

Sarah Palin, who affirms so much that is good, true and praiseworthy, may well be another Deborah in that she is living proof that the Republican Party is gutless, effeminate and cannot find godly men willing to take a stand on pivotal moral issues or that the ones who do will not be allowed to run for the highest office. Literally, she is the BEST that the Republicans can put forward and that ought to make Christian men in America hang their collective head in shame as they realize just how badly we are being judged.

I do not fault Mrs. Palin for having the wisdom, courage and ability to rise to the governorship of her state, or aspire to the office of Vice-President; but I criticize the party and the men who have rejected God and now face His judgment because they will not step up to the plate and be MEN.

Though Christian Reconstructionism, the more big-tent "Evangelical", and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) are often opposed theologically, depending on the issue, socially, they share many of the same goals, and some of the same personnel. This Palin ≠ Deborah sentiment is echoed by James Dobson cohort Gary DeMar, one of the primary Christian Reconstructionist authors of this generation.

It was big news within rightwing Christendom when, as Pozner wrote about, the Council for National Policy vetted Palin, with the blessing of Dobson himself, one reason being that though Focus on the Family and James Dobson are associated with Evangelicalism as opposed to Christian Reconstruction, FoTF promotes and sells DeMar's books. Land, for his part, was taken to task by the CRs for endorsing a person with the wrong body parts for potential head of state, to impose his conservative-religious bigotry on the populace, even as he would deny Sarah Palin a pastorship even the smallest SBC church.

Palin’s candidacy took a bright yellow highlighter to that contradiction. This is good for us. The more she keeps them squabbling over Bible verses, the more we can get done.

To be continued...

June 13, 2010

OCIHACOSP Does Not Have A Category Called "Sarah-As-Savior" For Nothing

Funny lede from stupid HuffPo today:

How do you generate buzz if you're a magazine up for sale and fighting claims of irrelevance?

Combine two of your most reliable go-to topics: Sarah Palin and religion.

Interesting, coming from them, since they are well-known for shoving the words "Sarah Palin" into headlines just for clicks, themselves.

This will make what, 5 Palin-adorned Newsweek covers, and the second with totally-wrong and/or misleading-context?

Taking up two recurring issues at Oh Crap, I Have A Crush on Deborah/Esther/Moses2.0, Newsweek's feature story calls itself covering "what Palin's appeal to conservative Christian women says about feminism and THE FUTURE OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT". After reading Lisa Miller's article, I wish she would have come read OCIHACOSP first. The focus on abortion is a grounding enough for the article, but there's much more to Palin's appeal to rightwing women than just her Trig stories and anti-abortion stance (which, by some counts, isn't nearly anti-abortion enough).

Restating Oh Crap's position,

1. What Sarah Palin is doing with the word "feminism" may be new for this generation, but politically-mobilized rightwing/reactionary white women is not a new phenomenon

2. The left should not once again make the error of dismissing or writing off that phenomenon. It leaves us with things like Viguerie/Weyrich New Right inventions like the Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, Prop 8 and its popular cultural products: Ralph Reed, Glenn Beck, Bob McDonnell, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, who are in prime positions to influence opinion and thus the voting populace. This is by design, since educating students to go into public life and take it over for Jeezus is precisely what schools like McDonnell's and Bachmann's alma maters were founded to do. They make no secret of it.

More Miller:

Palin has been antagonizing women on the left of late by describing herself as a “feminist,” a word she uses to mean the righteous, Mama Bear anger that wells up when one of her children is attacked in the press or her values are brought into question. But while leftist critics continue to shred Palin as a cynical, shallow, ill-informed opportunist, and new polls show her unpopularity rating to be at an all-time high—53 percent—Palin is now playing to her strengths. Even if she never again seeks elected office, her pro-woman rallying cry, articulated in the evangelical vernacular, together with the potent pro-life example of her own family, puts Palin in a position to reshape and reinvigorate the religious right, one of the most powerful forces in American politics.

Miller nails the left's reaction, and in my estimation, that reaction is a mistake, one the left makes over and over regarding rightwing Christianity. Conservative strategists bank on it. They are usually right.

3. If the left is often confounded by whatever the h. Sarah Palin seems to be doing, they're not alone. To the extent that the left is frustrated with her apparent, for-now staying power, she's got the right in ever the same bit of a tizzy

4. With that in mind, her pretend-preacher, ersatz Esther act is only going to carry her so far with the Christian right crowd, who, hopefully by now has learned something from having repeatedly followed her fellow Pentecostal girl Aimee Semple MacPherson into scandal, her fellow bull-headed bumpkin in a suit William Jennings Bryan into multiple public humiliations; rightwing televangelists into 900-foot visions, dozens of ministry scandals, and their Moral Majorities and Christian Coalitions into crumbling institutional impotence.

Some day, the left is going to get it through our collective heads that "trying take down a chick" like Palin, who models herself on Teflon Ronnie, isn't really going to work. Palin-gates and Trig Trootherism: didn't work. Calling her every gender-based epithet in the book: didn't work. Newsweek's silly cover from her Runner's World shoot: didn't work. Focusing on (and getting distracted by) her sexy looks, her nice body and starting ridiculous whisper campaigns about how big she may or may not be "up there": you know the drill; don't think she doesn't either, or doesn't effectively use this kind of behavior to her advantage. She does, like no other. So, keep yearning for that "final undoing" predicted in the press since some time in late 2008, but don't hold your breath for it.

That's because heckling from the orchestra never works, when people are playing to the balcony.

From a personal standpoint, had someone like me -- growing up queer while steeped in New Right/Post-Civil-Rights Christianity -- had a role model like Sarah Palin, my exit from the rightwing would have been hastened far sooner. So feminists quit fretting about the definition of authentic "feminism" in order to exclude the Palins of the world, let Sarah Palin go make the word "feminism" popular again. All we have to do is 1- kick our own institutions and educational drives back into gear and 2- provide a place for young women interested in Palin feminism to land, with a better understanding of what "feminism" is.

That's boon city, peeps. Miller, again:

Behind the Christian-military rhetoric, though, is a theology that’s generic, Griffith and other scholars say. (Though the video clip that made the rounds during the campaign of Palin being prayed over by an African minister gave foes on the left the willies, most churchgoing conservative evangelicals were completely unfazed.) In her speeches, Palin never damns anyone to hell. She never talks about sin: discussing her daughter Bristol, accidentally pregnant at 17, she talks about responsibility.

When Palin writes about her born-again experience, she talks not about an encounter with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, as so many evangelicals do, but of a sudden awareness of the awesomeness of creation. “Looking around at the incredible creation that is Alaska—the majestic peaks and midnight sun, the wild waters and teeming wildlife—I could practically see and hear and feel God’s spirit reflected in everything in nature.” Palin refers often to Ronald Reagan in her speeches, and even critics concede there’s something Reaganesque about the way she approaches faith. It’s easy. It’s optimistic. It’s future-oriented.

As has been covered numerous times here, Sarah's ambiguity on her theological positions is going to get her in hot water with these voters. Note to Palin: these same voters dumped Reagan in a big way when he wasn't "born again" enough for them, when Roe v Wade wasn't overturned (Republicans have a stake in it never being overturned; what else would they have to campaign on if they did?), when Gog and Magog remained dormant, when Reagan never ushered in the antichrist, when Jesus did not return to earth, on a horse, with a sword in his mouth.

Taking people on big rides is just one of the things demagogues do. The lesson for the left, which the left never seems to learn is, never underestimate the political power of religious bigots. Laugh at them, but don't write them off. Sneer at them, but don't make the mistake in believing that will ever make them go away. They will never go away. There will always be another Sister Aimee, another fundamentalist politician like Bryan, and yes, the next Sarah Palin.

We'd do well to follow the lead of Nina Simone, and leave the backlashers with the blues.

December 11, 2008

The Poetics of Plain-Talk: Palin As Scapegoat and Totem

What is the secret that the firm, erect, sticking out thing holds? Unused, it is a frontier, where no man has gone before. What is the secret that lies beneath the power of this image, this object? What most desired and most feared thing is masked behind the desire to be the first, or the biggest? What does (M)other lack? (1)

A few articles in question regarding Palin and language, starting with one from Julian Gough at The American Prospect, and an older one by a long-time blog colleague, Anil Dash.

Long time ago, OCIHACOSP asked, rhetorically, if Sarah Palin wasn't being set up to be a scapegoat for a GOP loss. This was long before the post-election bus-throwing and other tantrums by Newt and other prominent conservatives.

Turns out I was right.

Her use and abuse of the English language was part of the ploy, the game, and the show. And her gross mishandling by the GOP/RNC. A month and a half after the elections, some people are still falling for the act, apparently.

Though Gough may have been writing with tongue in cheek, there is something to what he says in such a funny way.

Here she is, in a work I have taken to calling “The Relevance of Africa.” (Not a single word or comma has been changed, but the line breaks are placed where they naturally fall.) In it, Palin blends the energy of free verse with the austerity of a classic 14-line sonnet.

It reads: “And the relevance to me /With that issue, /As we spoke /About Africa and some /Of the countries /There that were /Kind of the people succumbing /To the dictators /And the corruption /Of some collapsed governments /On the /Continent, /The relevance /Was Alaska’s.”

A great poet needs to leave open the door between the conscious and unconscious; Sarah Palin has removed her door from its hinges. A great poet does not self-censor; Sarah Palin seems authentically innocent of what she is saying. She could be the most natural, visionary poet since William Blake.

Ohh, does OCIHACOSP love this imagery, since in my opinion this was the very door unhinged by the Sarah Palin pick, itself, her often-baffling use of English, included. A brief trip to Wikipedia's entry on Totem and Taboo explains it best.

In this essay, Freud considers the relationship of taboos to totemism. Freud uses his concepts 'projection' and 'ambivalence' he developed during his work with neurotic patients in Vienna to discuss the relationship between taboo and totemism.

Like neurotics, 'primitive' peoples feel ambivalent about most people in their lives, but will not admit this consciously to themselves [OCIHACOSP, in case it's not crystal clear by now, does not support this]. They will not admit that as much as they love their mother, there are things about her they hate. The suppressed part of this ambivalence (the hate parts) are projected onto others. In the case of natives, the hateful parts are projected onto the totem. As in: 'I did not want my mother to die, the totem wanted her to die.'

Freud expands this idea of ambivalence to include the relationship of citizens to their ruler. In ceremonies surrounding kings, which are often quite violent, – such as the king starving himself in the woods for a few weeks – he considers two levels that are functioning to be the "ostensible" (i.e., the king is being honored) and the "actual" (i.e., the king is being tortured).

What about citizens and pols who are potential rulers, especially those whose public image is geared to appeal directly to the libido, resulting in unintended consequences (such as perhaps this very blog) like behind-the-scenes reports of the very machinery masked by the wizard?

Dash's article, a linguist's analysis of Palin's speech patterns does find time for politics, begrudging may it be.


I firmly believe that Sarah Palin is a smart, talented public speaker who makes deliberate choices about her use of language to elicit particular responses from different segments of her audience. She's college-educated and has been a professional broadcaster, understanding the nuances of addressing a large audience. She is certainly experienced enough to understand that signifiers like "hockey mom" and "Joe Six Pack" are explicitly communicating to an audience that is white, overwhelmingly not college educated, and lives in rural or suburban areas.

This particular analysis goes against the grain of Palin-as-dipshit as promoted by television and online comics. But it's in line with OCIHACOSP's insofar as I feel that Mrs. Palin is very deliberately taking the far-right conservatives she and her glorious body were pimped to, on a major ride.

(Along with the conservative women who think she actually gives a damn about them, outside their vote.)

Is Camille Crushgirl Paglia one of them? Let's hope not. Her latest reflection invokes the everpresent under-buzz of Palin Messianism, called, "The Resurrection of Sarah Palin". And what is/was the Christian Messiah but the ultimate scapegoat, the king with the tarnished, underappreciated, woefully misunderstood crown; thrown under the bus by the once-adoring audience? I don't recall Palin having died being nailed to a tree, or really ever going so far away, but she is again used here as a stick to beat back Paglia's own bugbear, The Ivy League Academy/elitists/leftists/same thing.

I am very sorry that [a professor of hers at Yale], and so many other members of the educational elite, cannot take pleasure as I do in the quick, sometimes jagged, but always exuberant way that Palin speaks -- which is closer to street rapping than to the smug bourgeois cadences of the affluent professional class.

English has evolved, and the world has moved on. There is no necessary connection between bourgeois syntax and practical achievement. I have never had the slightest problem with understanding Sarah Palin's meaning at any time. Since when do free Americans subscribe to a stuffy British code of veddy, veddy proper English? We don't live in a stultified class system. In the U.K., in fact, many literary leftists make a big, obnoxious point about retaining their working-class accents. Too many American liberals claim to be defenders of the working class and then run like squealing mice from working-class manners and mores (including moose hunting and wolf control). What smirky, sheltered hypocrites. Get the broom!

Anti-intellectual academics...embrace the ambivalence, indeed.

The jazziness of blogspeak? Just where IS that whitey tape, anyway, hm. Same place as the smoking photos of a flat-stomached Sarah, and BHO's original birth certificate, I'm guessing.

OCIHACOSP is so disappointed that someone on the Blog Parent roll would engage in such a blindingly obvious straw man/person, playing the class card like a potential suicide in Las Vegas.

Again, the race card just begs to be played as well: had Sarah been Black, or if Condi had been the VP pick and spoke East Palo Alto as opposed to Stanford; had she had any kind of "ethnic" accent associated with anything but whiteness, there would have been no way, and/or we'd have NEVER heard the end of it from conservatives, busy busy busy yapping about the unmerits of "affirmative action".

What we're seeing now, as opposed to what Paglia considers "more neutral" coverage by news sites "and even laudatory, signifying that a shift toward reality is already at hand", is the pre-VP nom Sarah Palin, before the played-up accent and dropped-g's, before the winks and nods, before the size-too-small suits and crazy-sexy suede boots. That is the "shift" reflected in news coverage, that, and her own "laudatory", conciliatory, supportive attitude towards the President Elect.

Say it with us, Ms. Paglia, B-L-A-C-K-P-R-E-S-I-D-E-N-T-F-R-O-M-C-O-L-U-M-B-I-A-A-N-D-H-A-R-V-A-R-D.

Ah, Sarah, poor dear. She was, remains, and will go down in history as, the breaker of multiple public taboos, at once. American politicians aren't supposed to act like that. They're not supposed to look like that, dress like that, trot their kids around like that, express themselves like that, or throw their head back and laugh so confidently, unpretentiously, in their sexy wrongness like that. Not while having those kind of political views, or going to those kinds of churches, or giving interviews in front of dying Thanksgiving turkeys like that.

Alas, she did. She certainly signed up to the clothes, the enhanced accent, the GOP/RNC fiddling with her own lyrical rhythms, and the general manipulation of her own image by them of her own you-go-girl empowered volition.

But I seriously doubt she signed up for this other psychodoodle weirdness of the taboo and ambivalence we of the neurotic American electorate -- Paglia and other pundits included -- have collectively projected on to her, transfiguring before the cameras into every strange spectacle we needed her to be for us in that political moment, regardless of what party we ended up voting for.

(1) Jennifer Bloomer, "Big Jugs", in Fetish: The Princeton Architectural Journal, vol. 4, Princeton Architectural Press, 1992, p. 78.

November 19, 2008

Sarah Palin is a Feminist

I know. It's a horrifying thought, isn't it.

The Maid of Wasilla, with her visions of plowing through White House doors at the behest of God, would do well to heed the fate of Joan of Arc, whose unwavering religious fervor won her the favor of the illiterate hayseed/redneck French countryside, yet cost her something far, far greater.

As predicted in "Sarah Palin, Superstar", the very people who ushered her in with palm leaves in September are now grumbling about her in November.

If the Bible is to be believed, and I don't think it is, we have seen this tale, before.

Just in time for the appreciation post lauding Palin's ability to mess with conservative christian men and their massive gender hangups, some christowank at Crosswalk is currently grappling with his hypocritical Christian innards:

It is in this spirit of honest, forthright engagement with God and his word that I'd like to ask a question that couldn't help but come to me as I was reading the Bible this morning. I was in 1 Timothy 2, when I read this: "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes .... A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."

Now how in this world could I read that and not think of Sarah Palin? I didn't want to think of Sarah Palin. I didn't want to think of anything besides the glory of God's word. I hardly waded into my Bible this morning looking for trouble. But (alas) there it was.

So I'm honestly and truly asking, simply because I don't understand and want to: How do Christians who embraced and supported Sarah Palin in particular for her adherence to "traditional" Biblical values reconcile how utterly she violated Paul's injunctions to women to not wear expensive clothes, to stay quiet, to remain submissive, and to have no authority over men? If vigorously campaigning for Vice President of the United States (while, as we all know, wearing expensive clothes) isn't in direct, overt, purposeful, and sustained opposition to all four of those things, then ... then King Kong was a leprechaun. I would think evangelicals and Biblical fundamentalists would reject Ms. Palin for ... well, for one, so ambitiously seeking authority over men.

What do I say to non-Christians when they assert that Christians are being blatantly hypocritical and even opportunistically bigoted when they use Paul's words as justification for the condemnation of homosexuality, and at the same time ignore Paul's very explicit words when doing so suits their own personal desires and ambitions? How do we use Paul to argue for California's Proposition 8, but not use Paul to argue against Sarah Palin?
Poor thing. So confused. All it takes is a wink and a skirt. That's all it EVER takes with these males. Sorry fella, you've been punked by Sarah Palin; butch up and deal with it.

Meanwhile, the Iowa Independent further charts the Christian right's hypocrisy on the issue of a woman drawing attention herself and above all, holding authority over males, noting as John Shore did above, their utter failure to reconcile what the Bible states about women with what it allegedly proclaims about The Gays.

The charitable Christian will leave aside the implications of this injunction for Palin’s notorious $150,000 clothes shopping spree, and ask how biblical fundamentalists can accept Timothy’s teachings and still celebrate a female politician skilled in forthright rhetoric.

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:8-15

The answer is: Not very easily.

For those who believe that there is an all-encompassing plan by God as delivered in the Scripture, the complementarian view is fundamental. The belief in specific gender roles with men being in leadership positions over women cannot be separated from the order that the Bible says God created:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” ~ I Corinthians 11:3

These two findings help make up one reason I can say I appreciate Sarah Palin, not for being a "feminist" as defined by conventional 2nd wave pro-choice pro-equality activists, but for sticking it to her own conservative valiant male warriors, making them whimper and cry, and even go back to their Bibles to read what it actually says and think about it, as opposed to accepting what they have been told about the Bible and gender roles.

Yes, I appreciate that, very much. Thank you, Brown Eyes. In fact, these guys ought to be grateful she made their party lose, because if the McCain/Palin ticket had won, all you antiabortion control freaks trying to use Sarah Palin as a stick to beat the feminists would indeed find themselves with "a woman" "one heartbeat away" from being Commander in Chief, above countless males not only in the military but in the cabinet.

Oh, the travesty.

I always thought her "equality" and "progress" rhetoric would get her in trouble with the christofreaks from which she draws her support. I didn't expect them to jump ship before the elections, keeping themselves up for grabs. But I also didn't expect them to start throwing her under the theological bus so soon, not even a month after the election.

I guess it's a mark of the sore, male conservative loser: as with the cases of Eve, Lilith and Pandora, we can set our watch to the moment they blame the woman for their own strategic and tactical failures.

Too bad Sarah Palin seems so immersed in this world of scapegoating the always-already scapegoated, she can't quite see just how deeply scapegoated she is going to become amongst these people. Like Eve and Pandora who came before her, she may never be able to see it.

But those of us who can't stop watching, can. And after all the rightwing males suddenly discovering "sexism" because of her, after all the staunch ideological feminists trying to protect her from the same, it will be those of us who can see her for what she is -- the femme top Lilith/Pandora figure that just might have the ability to lift "feminism" to a height previously unknown and unfulfilled by the Steinems, the Lordes, the Paglias.

Welcome to Second Wave, 2.0, folks. A leftist didn't bring it on, a rightwing extremist did.

We're going to have to learn to reconcile it, because this is what history is going to recount.

October 11, 2008

The President's Body

The subheader of this post should be "Looking At Sarah and Her Paranoid Style", but this layout doesn't do subheads, so..

Nobody ever thinks about things like "The President's Breasts" or "the President's body". That is, not until Sarah Palin.

As I stated earlier in "Feminism, Fraud and the Fisherman's Wife", when it comes to the "Sarah Palin" phenomenon, the style IS the substance. This week's events aboard the Lynchmob Express set that in stone, both in rhetoric and appearance. Back on September 7, Booth Moore in an LA Times article said (or hoped),

because she's a relative unknown, style is a lot of what we know about Palin right now. No doubt, in coming days her positions on the issues will eclipse our fascination with the brand of eyeglasses she wears. If they didn't, that would be the worst double standard of all.

Far from it, the double standard has gotten worse, with this blog contributing, sad to say. But if it's anything the past month has taught us, it's that whether they like her or or hate her, people love to be looking at some Sarah.

Looking at her style

Looking at her flag pin

Looking at her body language

Looking at her hairstyle changes

Looking at her wink

Looking at her jewelry

Looking at whether or not she's wearing her wedding ring

Looking at her lipliner

Looking at her legs

Looking at people looking at her legs

Looking at people looking at her rear end

Looking at people looking at her chest

Looking at her glasses

Looking at her mascara

Looking at her face, her neck

Looking at her body

Traditional feminists like the people at Sarah Palin Sexism Watch (no link, as I will no doubt end up on their list sometime soon) are quick to point up all this looking i.e. "objectification" as a by product of sexism and misogyny.

One would note, here, that I've deliberately left off the all-hetero-male subculture that's emerged around "looking" at absurdly bad, naked, obvious photoshops. Again, I don't have a problem with porn intellectually, but most days, the airbrushed, overproduced fantasies that make up the bulk of straight male porn just looks ridiculous to me.

In contrast to the "objectification" argument, I say, we like looking at crazy-ass Sarah Palin because she so clearly enjoys being an over-the-top exhibitionist. But the "Sarah Palin" image is changing, and with it, the entire phenomenon.

Robin Givahn is going to have to revise her ideas on SP's "unassertive fashion statement", though it's not even three weeks old, if only because her "style" has been a work in progress for the past month (at least).

Palin's style serves as evidence that a woman can step onto the national political stage without having to manipulate her wardrobe into some torturous costume calibrated to make her look authoritative but not threatening, feminine but not sexy, serious but not dour. Palin proves that a woman can wear red patent-leather shoes and still take questions on foreign policy and the economy.

The test, of course, is whether this particular gal knows the answers.

The other reason being, Sarah Palin just flat-out did not know what to wear, anywhere, before this campaign. That much is clear from her pre-campaign photos, oy. Suffice it to say, she does now.

The style shifted drastically this week, thus did the image. It's going to do so again, too, just watch. It's not a coincidence that it's doing so, post-cloister September, post-VP debate; after which she wasted no time coming out swinging against Obama on issues of judgment and character. Somebody ought to notify the sullen Karl Rove that his ruthless, violence-inducing tactics have already gone before him this week, and he's not telling the Palin/McCain ticket anything they haven't already learned from him.

Not only is The Hair making a dramatic change from what quickly became an anti-fashion icon to a generic Republican white woman who-doesn't-go-gray-but-goes-blonde, the clothes, particularly her tops, are getting trimmer and tighter.

The goal is for the milkshake to bring all the boys to the yard.

Her handlers started what seems to be a very cynical experiment with her New York City trip, which introduced us to what I label The Gray Jacket, reprised at Wisconsin's town hall meeting klan rally this week. Paired with black slacks, it's a form-fitting Nehru collared thing with large black buttons and a cloth buckle belt. The piece flatters her curves all too well.

Sorry, but no 40+ year old professional woman with that kind of body could get away with that outfit at work, without being asked to go home and change.

I would say, expect more of this to come as the election season lumbers to a close with the Palin/McCain campaign lagging. But without the signature Kennedy-era beehive, the representation of all that exotic, idiosyncratic Wasilla beauty and all that connotes, something's missing, and let's hope it's enough to affect what happens on November 4th.

Since the week ended on an extremely sour note for the campaign -- with numbers-down John McCain not only getting booed at his own lynchmob but the campaign openly denouncing the use of Willie Horton's Barack Obama's middle name -- those on the right so loudly crying "sexism!!" are going to end up using Sarah's body as a blindingly obvious votebanking tool, given it's about the only thing they have left.

Milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard, so we've been told.

She doesn't seem to give a damn, so the better part of me feels she gets what she deserves. They're pulling the same old gag that the medicine show does when the soft sell doesn't work: cut to the hard sell. It's already been reflected in Palin's manner, look for the same to be reflected in the style. She permits it to happen, and said yes to these humanity-crushing, individuality-repressing makeovers. Thus, I don't see the point in defending her as so many of these online "feminists" have taken to doing, in the name of the very sisterhood Sarah P. both shuns and appropriates to her own ends, whenever convenient.

Then again, she seems to be running her own campaign right now anyway, so wtf-ever Miss Top-of-the-Ticket. McCain's people even used identical apology language as Palin's people, after their little Mike Scott incident earlier in the week: “We do not condone this inappropriate rhetoric which distracts from the real questions of judgment, character, and experience that voters will base their decisions on this November.”

Who are the people they pay to come up with this b.s?

EDIT: Picture added.

October 6, 2008

The President's Breasts

There are some days when Sarah Palin looks just...weird. The hair is all wrong, some of her outfits from her pre-VP candidate/hidin'-the-baby-bump days are totally atrocious, and she seems to have an ongoing issue with posture.

Then there are the days when her body is just plain smokin'. Some days, she's got it goin' on.

She seems to know this. I think it pisses a lot of people off, because we just have not been confronted with the topic of The President's Breasts in this way before, not in this country. I'm noticing a lot of anger about it, even within myself. Thus the name of the site, right?

I know, I know, she's a horrid person, with vicious politics, and nothing redeeming in her vacuous, ideology-driven "worldview", is likely a supremacist of several various types, has these funny-looking aspects to her beauty; yeah, I already know the laundry list of everything we hate about Sarah Palin. But when those things become simple disclaimers which are really a mechanism for denial, then it's time to take a look at difficult facts that are cause for the panic.

Because yes, there is a certain kind of panic that Sarah Palin -- or at least the "Sarah Palin" image -- arouses. That is likely because part of that image is "getting away with it".

Is there a such thing as a subjective fact? Dunno. But I would prefer to say something like, "some of her pictures are cute, others...not so much, AND she's also a raving loon." I don't think the two have to cancel each other out. I prefer both/and to either/or.

Those of us who are social products of both the Civil Rights Movement and second-and-a-half-wave, post-Ferarro politics, I think, were handed something of a bill of goods when it came to defining and identifying "sexist" behavior; one which doesn't really allow for, or completely marginalizes, a developed sense of visual pleasure. I'm talking about with regards to other women. Women's visual pleasure of other women, even for the outest and proudest, still remains a guilty one, for many of us who enjoy women.

Strange, how other countries -- several of them Muslim and conservative Catholic -- have had female heads of state, many of them conventionally, youthfully "beautiful", like Benazir Bhutto.

Is Sarah Palin a sexist? For wearing those tight suits and coquettish ruby red pumps? For toying with the cameras in a debate for second highest spot in the world's most powerful country? Is she playing to all those straight guys who want to you-know-what, or is she just workin' it, in general? Is she a sexist because the audacity and absurdity of it all is what in fact lets her get away with it?

Could a liberal/left mother of 5 who likes guns game stew play the game this way without being called a slut, a bad mother, or something worse?

Whether one falls into the image, like I and a lot of other people have, or one doesn't like "that type", or whatever, we're being played. The game is obviously for the polls, and that kind of polling will never work with me personally, because I don't vote based on skin color or body parts or base my preference for a candidate based on my libido. But that's just me. Some of these other people, though...uggh. God.

What about Obama girl? Is she sexist for running around in tight tops and singing about her crush on Obama? She really begged the question: what kind of person doesn't have a crush on Obama? The answers to that, I think, are not pretty, though he certainly is.

We observe the same kind of panic regarding Obama's good looks, especially in white conservative males. Frankly, I'm not really interested in exploring that here, because AFAIC, that is a pathology that dates back to Othello and beyond.

More on this at another time. These are just preliminary musings.

I know I keep saying that, but stay tuned. It's all true.