Monday, September 15, 2008

Palineologisms

We're trying to quit, I swear, and we don't keep harping on this Sarah Palin thing because we are even remotely considering voting for her. We are not. I swear, though we are not responsible for the Moosians and Goosians from sea to shining sea or even in the swing state of Michigan. We're just fascinated in an arm-chair, scholarly kind of way -- as observers of the culture, deconstructors of the zeitgeist, pickers of nits -- with the whole mad tsunami of Sarah. I mean, normally women have to be young, blond, and kidnapped or murdered to come in for this kind of attention, don't they? And here we've got this moose-huntin', marathon-runnin', Bible-thumpin' mother of five standing on the threshold of American history, and the country just can't seem to get enough of her. Gives you Goose-bumps, doesn't it? Or Moose-bumps? Maybe a little Roxie-bump or two?

Frankly, it's mostly giving us a little burning in the back of our throats, and yet, this morning, Moose found herself walking across the campus of Queer the Turtle U., on her way to her 11:00 lecture course, when her mind should have been filled with deep professorial thoughts aimed at inspiring and enlightening the 200 eager young scholars she was about to see, still casting about for Palin-related neologisms that no one else has used. (You know how highly we value originality here in Roxie's World, don't you?) "Palinomics!" she accidentally said out loud, as three students on skateboards swerved to avoid her on the sidewalk. "That's what we could call Palin's proposed solution to the financial crisis, such as it's likely to be." (A Google search later revealed she'd already been beaten to the punch on that one.) She walked on, trying to re-focus on the morning's lecture on women, madness, and creativity, but thoughts of Suddenly Sarah kept bumping "The Yellow Wallpaper" off her radar screen. "Hey, how about Palinomacy as a term for her unique, Alaska-inflected foreign policy views? I loved that stuff in the Gibson interview about being able to see Russia from land in Alaska." She paused on the sidewalk to shift her backpack, weighted down by The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, to a higher position on her shoulder. "Except I don't want to do one of those snarky, elitist attacks on the state-school educated rube from the provinces. Hell, that's what I am." (On the other hand, a Google search turns up no previous references to Palinomacy, so we do hereby claim it for Roxie's World. We'll come up with a non-snarky definition later.)

The true "Eureka!" moment on Moose's morning stroll was when the genius term Palinoscopy exploded in her brain as a way of describing all the scrutiny being aimed at vagina-equipped voters and commentators over Palin's unexpected nomination. "But surely you're not thinking of voting for her!" is the most common form of the Palinoscopy, though a variation includes the self-inflicted version of the test being performed by feminists who find much to admire in Palin's chutzpah and style but much to deplore in her politics. A great (and deeply insightful) example of the latter form is in a piece Rebecca Traister published last week in Salon, "Zombie Feminists of the RNC." Best line in a really smart analysis of what is genuinely troubling about Palin?

What Palin so seductively represents . . . is a form of feminine power that is utterly digestible to those who have no intellectual or political use for actual women. It's like some dystopian future ... feminism without any feminists.

(Emphasis added, and H/T to Eitan for pointing us toward Traister's piece. Oh, and we are sorry to report that the term "Palinoscopy" is not original with us. Alas.)

By the time Moose got to class, she was back to thinking that Palin isn't just a joke, no matter how much she and the hoo-ha around her have made us laugh in the last few weeks. You know how it goes sometimes around here: Sometimes we laugh so we don't have to cry about the madness and the meanness and the bitter disappointments of what passes for politics in the US of A these days. We laugh, and we try to get a snicker or two out of those of you who are kind enough to stop by this place, because absurdity loves company, and you are some of the best company we know. So here's one more little Palin-related joke to help you giggle through the nightmares. Click on the vid (which we picked up by way of Mustang Bobby on Shakesville), and know that your laughter echoes through all of Roxie's World:

5 comments:

  1. Call me crazy, but I'm feeling better about this race. Maybe it's out of desperation, but I sense the tide is beginning to change. This past weekend many newspapers and mainstream media outlets began to level serious accusations of dishonesty against the McCain and Palin campaign. Moreover, the SNL bit, while completely riotous, has also had a palpable impact on the way some people view Palin ("and I think global warming is just God hugging us a little closer"). But don't worry--I haven't given up my belief that the dems are capable of finding a way to fuck up everything. That cynical part of me will never die! :)

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  2. Can't say we're feeling the shifting of any tides 'round here. The race is tight, Dems are nervous, and the Obama campaign can't seem to figure out how to talk to swing voters. State polls are moving in the wrong direction. It may not be panic time yet, but I'd keep an eye on my watch if I were planning to get panicky about this thing. And yet, strangely, I am not.

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  3. Candy Man1:44 PM EDT

    Palinoscopy is genius, even if someone else thought of it, too. And the video is priceless. Love the "hockey mom" with the leopard-skin scarf-like thing around her neck. At least some of us haven't lost our sense of humor.

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  4. Thanks for the call-out on "palinoscopy"; your clinical description of the procedure was a brilliant expansion of the theme.

    I think Rebecca Traister is spot on; Palin represents the "Westminster Best-of-Show" version of feminism. The look and the bark, but not the substance. If she actually had the "bite" of Hillary Clinton (or any of her historical forebears), I might be inclined to believe that Palin wasn't conveniently putting on the mantle of a pioneer of women's rights just to win votes for the Republican Party.

    To Geoffrey's point though - the Dem's could screw up a one car funeral procession; and it is a long way to election day.

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  5. Hey, Richard -- Welcome to Roxie's World, and hats off to you for a brilliant neologism. Happy to give credit where credit is due. We're fans of Westminster 'round here, of course, but we take your point about Palin's feminism. It's definitely of the bark but no bite variety.

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