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« The Point Radio: Pay Attention | Main | From the department of ’Duh’ »

January 21, 2009

And now, a little ditty

Fey Palin Last week, Big Hollywood's Tim Slagle wrote,

I have a friend up north, who was raised by hippie parents in the back of a school bus. She is now a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a degree in women’s studies (and has been unemployable ever since).

I suggested that perhaps she might be encouraged by the nomination of Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket. That the Party of old white men actually nominated a Woman to run for the office of vice president. That a lot of Republicans I knew were wishing Sarah was at the top of the ticket. Certainly the choice of a woman should allow Feminists to swell with pride — another ceiling had been broken.

She laughed at me. “How could you vote for Sarah Palin? Don’t you watch Saturday Night Live? If you saw Tina Fey impersonate her, you’d understand how ridiculous it is to even suggest that she could ever be President. Did you see Tina Fey? I’m going to send you some links!”

It's been quite some time since I wrote a poem, but that anecdote inspired the following verses.


Hymn to an Educated Voter
(After C. S. Lewis)

Feed us, entertainment, feed us
All the junk we love to eat;
Easy, empty caricature
Now shall be our daily meat,
Fact and reason shoved aside
Like Brussels sprouts, for fare more sweet.

Depth and balance, careful judgment --
Who can stomach such as these?
Parody and mockery
So perfectly the palate please,
Any meal of substance is
A waste of mental calories.

On with spite and scorn and gossip,
Diet of the cultured mind!
And should that mind grow fat and lazy
Fed on dainties of the kind,
Then let us proudly show it off
As evidence of tastes refined.

© 2009 by Gina Dalfonzo

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Comments

Chris

Alas, oh how too true that is!

Feelings about a politically-slanted characture containing "substance" that in fact is wholly false...

...trump any mental effort that must be expended to discern truth and make an informed decision.

Thus is our current political and societal milieu.

Let us pray!

Steve (SBK)

Great Poem Gina! How true.

Kim Moreland

Are we in trouble. Sounds like the lady got a degree in how to be stupid.

Loved the poem.

Andy

I think you miss the entire point of satire, Gina. Palin's laughable interview performances made her an irresistible target. Ridicule is a devastating political weapon, as we on the left have finally learned. But then, we have been well schooled by Limbaugh, Hannity, and all the other right wing radio folks. Palin just reaped what her fellows have sown.

LeeQuod

Hoping we don't have to wait too long for your *next* poem, G! That one's a gem.

And I'm still boggling over someone with *a degree in women's studies* could fail so miserably to see Tim's point. But apparently all these notions of breaking barriers of race, gender, etc., are just masks for promotion of ideology.

Me, I'd have followed up with a question about Amy Poehler's impersonations of Hillary Clinton. But then, sometimes I like watching people explode when caught being self-contradictory.

Gina Dalfonzo

Thanks, guys!

Andy, I think you missed my point ABOUT satire. It certainly has its place, but as the sole basis for one's vote -- which is how the lady framed the issue -- it's entirely too flimsy. Had she cited the Couric interview, she would at least have had a point, even though there's room for reasonable people to disagree about how much weight should be given to any one performance before the cameras.

And the lady in the anecdote is hardly alone: I can't tell you how many people I've heard mistakenly attribute Fey's quotes to Palin while attempting to demonstrate their own superior intellectual abilities. (Come to think of it, maybe that's a subject for another poem. . . .)

becky

Gina,
Nice work. Keep it up and maybe one day you can read one of your poems at an inauguration. Your's makes sense!

Jason Ibrahim

Gina, the poem is great. Your comment about Fey/Palin confusion is all too true (see http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.cfm?ID=1642):

"When asked which candidate said they could 'see Russia from their house,' 87% chose Palin, although the quote actually is attributed to Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey during her portrayal of Palin during the campaign."

Rachel Coleman

Way to go, Gina. Your poetry is creeping up on your Screwtape imitations.

As a rabbit trail sort of note, there is reason to be wary of sarcasm and satire. I realized this, weirdly, when "The Passion of the Christ" played in theaters and I really heard, maybe for the first time, what it meant that Jesus was mocked. It hurt to hear the (admittedly cinematic) sarcasm at the foot of the cross, and I was convicted to be more careful with my own words. I still enjoy satire and biting wit, but not, perhaps, as much as I once did.

Diane Singer

Perfect, Gina, just perfect!!!

LeeQuod

Gina, several quizzes and op-ed pieces recently have pointed out that Americans are sadly ignorant of civics. (Here's one: http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/resources/quiz.aspx ) An op-ed piece I saw just this past week (and now can't find) claimed that conservatives score no better on such quizzes than liberals, so while howobamagotelected.com may be accurate, it may not be the whole story. But pointing out a problem does not help to solve it.

Could The Point start a periodic thread (like the books one, and the movies one) for everyone to contribute their favorite resources for learning more about government? I.e., if one of us was to try to help someone else (say, a busy adult and non-Point reader, sadly) start to become literate in Civics and ace tests like the one above, what is the best resource to use that will provide the most learning for the least investment of time and energy? Bearing in mind, of course, that some people actually *enjoy* 400+-page books, others prefer websites or videos, and some of us like me and Rolley, well: http://www.amazon.com/Cartoon-History-United-States-Gonick/dp/0062730983/ref=pd_bbs_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232598962&sr=8-11

Since it's better, really, to light a candle...

And shucks, there's no reason to limit this to the USA, either - I've always wondered how Canada works (or doesn't), and how the UK monarchy became a figurehead, if only to see if the USA's Founding Fathers were as spot on as it appears. But certainly citizens should be experts on the leadership of their own countries, so hopefully we'd bias toward materials that are designed to educate the citizens within a nation about their government.

Gina Dalfonzo

That's a good idea, LeeQuod. I'll think about how we could set up something like that.

Jason Taylor

There is no way to tell if the Founding Fathers were as spot on. Because one of the affects of the American Revolution was to encourage the British government to make sure such a thing did not happen again. They spotted a change in the wind, turned one or two points to larboard. And continued to rule the waves.
Canada was also a favorite spot of immigration for Loyalists. Who had no reason to be all that excited about revolution.

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