Sunday, October 5, 2008


So everyday I check a number of websites: WaPo, NY Times, CNN, gofugyourself, design*sponge, and The Onion AV Club. Those are my regulars that I will openly admit to visiting. I get my news from the first three (or two depending on the quality of information on CNN), the fun stuff from the others. My secret is that I also go to TMZ multiple times per day. TMZ is a low-brow tabloid celebrity gossip site in the pocket of corporate Hollywood. The saddest thing is that sometimes I get the best political comentary from TMZ, today included.

TMZ had the latest from SNL on the Palin-Biden debate (posted below). The brief commentary surrounding the video stated:
If Tina Fey's goal with her "SNL" impression is to make Gov. Sarah Palin seem so incompetent that everything she does in real life comes off genius by comparison, then she has succeeded in spades. Again.

Tina nailed it again last night and even the staunchest Dem can see a silver lining if McCain/Palin wins in November -- four more years ... of Tina Fey.
The same thing happened with W. We marginalized how scary he was through parody and mocking. He is an idiot, but we (the media) made the fact he is poorly educated and underqualified less terrifying and more acceptable by painting him as lovably bumbling. Let us not marginalize Palin's poor qualifications by letting Tina Fey turn her into a harmless beauty queen. Palin denies global warming, gay rights, and science. She is as dangerous as her ideology and ideas, and we will not be misled by her winks and Fey's comedic renderings!


Habladora said...

You know, I actually think Tina Fey might be helping. Did you see the clip from CNN juxtaposing the real Palin/Couric interview with the SNL spoof and pointing out how much of the skit just pulled actual quotes from the interview (here)?

Of course, 'don't vote for stupid' has failed us before...

fourth wave said...

You make a really compelling point here about the power of satire to diffuse and distort reality to the point of "lovable" buffoonery, and it's something that had honestly not occurred to me before. I'll need to give this some more thought.

However, at first blush, whenever I see Fey play Palin I can't help but think how scarily accurate she is in her depiction. Not when she's representing her as a "harmless beauty queen"--which, as you say, is certainly part of the act--but in terms of her rhetoric. A good portion of last week's SNL parody (of the Katie Couric interview) was almost verbatim what as really said during the interview. In fact, a blogger at Feministe posted this most recent SNL skit along with the query "is SNL just going to start putting laugh tracks on real footage from now on?" That's almost what they're doing anyway, plus taking all the things that everyone's thinking and bringing them to the surface (e.g. the controversy over Ifill's possible Obama bias).

I think you're right (and so is TMZ) that the Tina Fey-Sarah Palin connection is problematic because it might render ambiguous our feelings towards a candidate who we should find reprehensible ("but look how adorably incompetent Tina Fey makes her seem!?"), but I'm not entirely convinced that the value of SNL's satire doesn't outweigh the potential cuteness/funny factor. It's still calling attention to the hypocrisies and glaring inexperience of McCain's VP choice.

Anyway, thank for this post. It's given me a lot to think about. Actually, considering how long this comment is, I should probably just post about this myself...

Smirking Cat said...

I never thought of the spoofs and the jokes rendering any of these horrifying political figures as less scary, especially since you have to understand their scariness to find the jokes funny. Also, how many people's only exposure to the debates is through SNL skits?

The best part of this particular one was "marriage is a sacred institution between 2 unwilling teenagers".

Habladora said...

Hey, Loup, you're being talked about (here):

Le Loup-garou makes a compelling point here about the power of satire to diffuse and distort reality to the point of "lovable" buffoonery, and I realize now that the Tina Fey-Sarah Palin connection is problematic because it renders the contrast between charming parody and biting satire hazy and ambiguous.

Sweet, huh? Don't let it go to your head, though! ;)

Maggie said...

I had an epiphany the other day. People who support Palin don't want her to be President. They want her to be Oprah or Ellen. And that's actually what makes more sense. She'd be a great talk show host. And it saddens me that a serious female political candidate presents herself that way.

frau sally benz said...

Maggie, that's brilliant! It's so true!

I'm telling this to everyone I know.

NewsCat said...

Oh god, so much of my grad degree is about this issue. How we tend to learn political facts from "pop culture" readings more than their non-entertainment counterpoint. (My friend's mom said "I didn't really want to watch the VP debate but I know if I do I'll get the SNL skit."

By the way, anyone else watching SNL notice the strikingly conservative skit they had on later that night that painted all the blame on the financial crisis on "stupid" people who shouldn't have gotten mortgagues and GEORGE SOROS as somekind of villian?

Made me think there's one disgruntled "conservative" on SNL's writing staff.

Kekla said...

Maggie's comment (Palin as talk show host) is so true that it's both hilarious and terrifying.

I've noticed in this campaign that people are expected to be like entertainers - witty, attractive, personable - which seems to outweigh their actual political skill set. I disagree with everything Palin stands for, but even I have to admit she's given the campaign season new energy for this reason.

We've been talking about the candidates forever. The issues are old hat. We know where everybody stands. But we still have a month to kill before voting. Now we just want to be entertained? That's scary.

Daisy said...

Maggie, excellent observation. I agree completely.

Here in hyper-conservative upstate SC (Bob Jones Univ country), conservative women appreciate Palin's presence on the ticket, even though several have privately told me they don't think she is real bright. But they are just glad 'someone like them' is out in the mainstream at last: lots of kids, Republican hawk, hunting with rifles, church-going, high-heels and winking. (Really, that description does describe a lot of the women I'm talking about.)

It's like they have been starved for someone like themselves in the public eye, and they honestly don't care what anyone says about her. They enjoy the Tina Fey stuff--it's just nice to have the attention and validation, finally.

Anonymous said...

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