September 01, 2008

They're all gonna laugh at you...

Ta-Nehisi Coates predicts:

The entire Sarah Palin pick comes down to one thing--the hope that George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, or (God forbid) Will.I.Am. will make a joke about moose-burgers. At that point, the McCain campaign will cut an ad which says They're laughing at you. Vote for McCain and you can show the world. You can show them all! Of course said ad will never appear on television but will be screened only for the media--who will then do their job and turn the cable news into giant echo chamber in which the "Real Americans" yell They're all gonna laugh at you! They're all gonna laugh at you! Welcome to Victimology 101--the White Working Class Edition.

The idea that Palin's nomination is "entirely" elitism bait is hyperbole, I reckon; and the coming tide of Petticoat Junction/"trailer trash" ridicule is rather too cavalierly waved away here as nothing more cutting than "a joke about moose-burgers." (Extending Coates's allusion, a bucket of pig's blood is probably more apt.)

Nonetheless, I'd say that this is in fact more or less exactly what's going to happen. It'll work, too, as it has so reliably worked in the past several elections. Probably not enough to swing it, given the circumstances this year, but enough to have an impact and to make the Obama campaign have to work quite a bit harder to demonstrate their candidate's good faith with regard to what my fellow Bay Areans like to think of as the "moron half" of the country. It won't matter that much that Obama himself recoils from and repudiates such tendencies - though it is certainly to his credit that he does. His partisans won't be able to help themselves, and basically it's just really going to complicate the prom this time around.

Posted by Dr. Frank at September 1, 2008 12:21 AM | TrackBack

You have finally pissed me off so bad that I'll never read your freakin' blog again. Thanks. I will try to read the second novel all politics aside, though.

Posted by: Leslie at September 1, 2008 12:51 AM


Would you mind indulging me with what you found offensive in this post? I don't mean to egg you on or anything, I am just honestly oblivious and curious.

Posted by: Jonas at September 1, 2008 01:15 AM

Yeah, Les, I'm kind of curious, too.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at September 1, 2008 01:19 AM

Leslie has finally pissed me off so bad that I'm going to go RE-read every single blog post of Frank's since the days of "Blogs of War". Then I'm going to read King Dork and try to pre-order the new one if that's at all possible. Simultaneously I'm going to be listening to a marathon of the entire MTX back catalogue, even The Miracle of Shame EP and that thing with the Shonen Knife song.


Posted by: Sonic Charmer at September 1, 2008 01:37 AM

Palin: show and no gusto. It feels like slanted sexism made out into a joke. While some feel her position a success, I don't. McCain dies and she's in position where he's already designated a chain of command. Sorry to have caused such a stir. Pissed may have been too strong a word. Obviously, I came back. Chill, people. Basically, she is a puppet and that feels really sexist and not a healthy version of a strong American woman that I want my daughter to be raised admiring. She doesn't have much experience, she's too young, etc. etc. I just don't see her prepared to really BE president like Hillary was and is, ya know? Make sense now? Plus, to poke fun at it is like making fun of Barbie because she'd be in a wheelchair in real life if her measurements were actually blown-up to life-size scale. Did you guys know that?

Posted by: Leslie at September 1, 2008 02:16 AM

Choosing between people who think not at all and people who make fun of people who think not at all is not much of a choice. Who to get behind, the one flinging the pig's blood or the one stupid enough to become a national joke? I pity both and would loathe to see either faction actually govern anything. I'm glad that this discussion involves perception and not reality, though it is very depressing that elections are won and lost on such things.

Posted by: Nate Pensky at September 1, 2008 03:59 AM


I am not heated up. I was oblivious because you and I took very different things out of this post. I saw it as a straightforward assessment of the potential (inevitable?) elitist vs. anti-elitist tensions that will arise due to Palin's "commoner" (read "moron" in Bay Arean) background, hobbies, diet and views. I suppose the Carrie analogy wouldn't have come up if she were male, but that is beside the point. The fun is being poked deservedly at the silly elitism (of some Hollywood types for example) that does harm to the Democrats' causes.

Posted by: Jonas at September 1, 2008 07:42 PM

Hi Jonas,
Honestly, my version of understanding Frank's writing is by now so warped and twisted that I doubt my views would make sense to anyone, even me sometimes. Go figure. I just think Palin's pregnant teenage daughter proves yet another Palin incompetency. Poking fun at elitism and social stratification during an election is to be expected but it doesn't mean it's fair, just or right. And if I had to predict the elections I'd say the Democrats will win by a significant margin. Especially after the Palin pick. This nation is ready for change and for making history. Barak Obama will be our next president. I just hope he makes it through his first term in office without getting shot.

Posted by: Leslie at September 2, 2008 01:59 AM


A) I think the Carrie analogy cast the elitists in the role of fun-pokers, e.g. the ones flinging pig's blood. As far as I could tell no one poked too very much fun at the elitists themselves, except by including in their rank the illustrious Will.I.Am.

B) Saying that Palin is incompetent because she has a pregnant, teenaged daughter? Really? That sounds like all kinds of irrelevant. And anyway its not really any indication of what kind of a person/mother/statesperson she is or would be, at least not that I can see. Not that I like the idea of rallying to Palin's defense, but that just seems unfair.

C) The last three sentences in your previous post comprise(s): a) a blaring contradiction b) a failed attempt at irony c) a statement implying that the highest level of achievement Barack Obama could hope to attain in his first term as President being not getting shot d) all of the above?

Not to jump all over you or anything. Just wondering.

Posted by: Nate Pensky at September 2, 2008 07:54 AM

I'm gonna re-read some "blogs of war" just for the fun of it. Nice to see you getting your feet wet in the political water again.

Posted by: Mike NYC at September 2, 2008 07:46 PM

b)Enough Palin already
Take care,

Posted by: Les at September 5, 2008 06:26 PM