Wednesday, September 03, 2008


This post has nothing to do with that title, though I suppose if we were clever and not so tired we could come up with three or four examples of palindromic rhetoric or logic in Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's big speech at the Republican convention. But the truth is it just popped into our minds and struck us as inordinately clever, so we decided to throw it up before anybody else had a chance to use it. We own it, okay? And here in the Ownership Society that means something, so don't use it or we'll shoot!

We already shot our wad on the speech in a comment we left over at Historiann's open thread. Moose thinks Todd Palin is a hot slice of sub-Arctic butch. Goose is smitten with 7-year-old Piper, though we think that's just some Fairness Doctrine thing -- a reaction to having gotten smitten with Sasha Obama last week. They respectfully disagree with Melissa McEwan's assertion that the Palin/Tina Fey comparison is an insult to both women. Watching Palin at the podium, doing the whole "Yeah, I'm sexy but I could whip your ass and I'm smarter than you are, too" thing, the resemblance was inescapable. We felt as if we were already watching the parody SNL will do on its season premier in a couple of weeks. The speech itself? Eh. A few good digs at the Precious, but our number crunchers estimate that the Hockey Mom for Veep meme has about four minutes of shelf life left. Goose had a more generous assessment, but Moose and the political division are now predicting an Obama landslide.

What did y'all think about the speech? You were so eloquent and, um, loquacious on the subject of the stoning of Bristol Palin that we figure we'll just open things up and let you rip.

While you're formulating your opening gambits, here's a pants-wetting vid from JibJab. It feels seasonally appropriate, and it performs the valuable public service of making fun of Obama in a way that we think will have even his most devoted fans giggling. Just so you know, we giggled at the part about Bill and the cigar, and you know how sensitive we Clintonistas are to cigar jokes. Enjoy, children:

(With thanks to a long-time friend of Roxie's World, who passed the vid along. We do hereby declare her the Purr-fect Medievalist. Meow, baby.)


  1. Vindictive, mean, and petty even by Republican standards. I will never, ever see the appeal of this kind of test-tube spitting. Will she be spotted ripping down Barack Obama's posters and baking cupcakes for every American with her smug, lip-curling face on them?

    I'll echo Sullivan, et al and say that this is a good speech for rallying the base -- the hate-spewing, kneejerk base -- and a terrible speech for attracting moderates and other independents.

    P.S. I really ought to stop by your office some time and talk about all this stuff in person. I think we decided to get some coffee at the end of the Spring semester, but that never happened. Let's make plans!

  2. Anonymous1:37 AM EDT

    Hmmm. Interesting. I didn't think Palin appealed to the base at all. Not much about the socially conservative stuff. A lot of cheesy "maverick" talk.

    Hey Roxie, I just spent 30 minutes thinking you were the smartest, most precocious FOURTEEN-YEAR OLD in the universe! I was gonna nominate you for a Guiness Book of World Records prize. Finally figured out it's the doggie. lol

    Still pretty smart and precocious though.

  3. Goose is claiming, with a smile that we think is smug, that the reviews of Palin's speech in the papers this morning are better than our snarky little assessment last night. We'll check and get back to you.

    We blush before your praise, Hysperia, but we wonder if you'd mind if we re-punctuated your last sentence so that we can be "pretty, smart, and precocious." We think that reads better. ;-)

    Oh, and, yes, Eitan -- Moose says you're on for that cup of java. Have your people call her people.

  4. Anonymous11:12 AM EDT

    Eitan, something I find remarkable about your recent comments is your apparent inability to believe that anyone could have an opinion that differs from yours.

    Why are you so dogmatic and humorless on the subject of Sarah Palin? The rest of us don't like her and aren't rooting for her, but your lack of imagination and empathy are interfering with your political analysis. Palin is hardly the first Repubican to advance the same agenda--in fact, the Pale Males have been doing it for decades, so for those of us over the age of 25 or so, we've seen and heard it all before. It's no less offensive now--but it's also no more offensive.

  5. OMG -- "Pale Males" -- Have you trademarked that, Historiann, or can we steal it? Moose laughed so loud I was almost able to hear it! She is still rolling on the floor.

  6. Anonymous1:05 PM EDT

    Roxie - taking up your challenge on MADAM Palin:

    I'm O SO tired of all the Democratic TUT-TUT on her, prolonging the Clinton battle of the SEXES — last night she was the only true REVIVER for the Republican REVELER — and you know what, it isn't Michele Obama after all who totes the gun and takes no prisoners — It's MOM Palin — I don't agree with her TENETS, at all of course, but you know what, I love her style!

    HARASARAH! HARASARAH! for Palin's style — despite her name, she does nothing backwards — down the pike, head on — that's her GIG, no fuss, no frills — classy neutral choices in clothing too — black and white ( bet her favorite ice cream is chocolate and PALINILAP) — Democratic women politicians take note — those boring, flaming-red suits O, NO! must go!

  7. I'm taking this blog off my RSS feed. I don't have the patience anymore for anonymous college professors hectoring and beating up on students who are finding their political voice.

  8. Anonymous2:26 PM EDT

    Roxie--I think that Pale Male is a Golden Oldie, but it accurately describes the vast majority of elected leadership in the Republican and Democratic party. Neither party is terribly diverse when you get right down to it.

    And, Eitan: I'm sorry your feelings are hurt. If you clicked on any of Roxie's generous links to my blog, you'd know that I am pseudonymous like Roxie, and not anonymous. When you find your "political voice," I hope it's more compassionate than the one you've been writing in here lately.

  9. Time out, kids. We don't want anyone packing up their toys and leaving Roxie's World. We want everyone to sit quietly in a circle and think about why they might be feeling wounded and angry. Take three deep cleansing breaths and try to come up with a constructive (i.e., non-attacking) way to express that anger.

    As the leader of the pack, it seems to me that part of the problem here is a problem endemic to any kind of online communication -- the difficulty of judging tone. Things often come across as more caustic and belligerent than the speaker/writer intends for them to sound, and disagreements escalate quickly. That problem is exacerbated when views sharply conflict, especially when one of the sides in a disagreement is under-represented in the discourse community. Call me crazy, but I think the gender dynamics of this particular disagreement also matter.

    Eitan, you have been very brave in expressing a point of view that is often at odds with that of the majority here in Roxie's World. You have done so with passion but not always, I have to say, with tact when it comes to acknowledging differences of opinion and the strong feelings that have been whipped up in this strange political season. I have been impressed with your willingness to go toe-to-toe with those who are older than you are and those with whom, in some cases, you are academically connected in the world outside this blog. From my perspective, the "grown-ups" around here have shown you the respect of taking your ideas seriously and coming right back at you. I also must point out that none of the college professors around here posts or comments anonymously. They do so pseudonymously, and in the vast majority of cases their real-world identities are crystal-clear.

    Given the gusto and the forcefulness of your own language, it is surprising to me that you feel you have been hectored and beaten up on. I am sorry that you feel that way, but I think that often your combative tone may have led others to suppose that you preferred to engage in that fashion and that you wouldn't mind if they responded in kind. You haven't pulled your punches, and neither has anyone else.

    Going forward, perhaps some of us should consider pulling our punches a little for the sake of maintaining a friendly atmosphere as we continue to reflect upon events and the actors within them. Friendliness is important to us, in the virtual as in the actual world. We have no desire for this happy little blog to become a war zone dominated by screaming and finger-pointing and huffing and puffing. Even if we all indulge in the hyperbole and the snark of the blogosphere, surely we can do so in a spirit of comradeship.

    We are all, after all, members of the same pack, and we can't afford to lose anybody, and not just because Moose's narcissism is totally bound up with how many hits we get each day. My position toward each and every one of my loyal fans is what it has always been: I love you, love you all, and welcome you to my world.

    Now, I am going back to my nap, and my typist is going back to work. Peace out.

  10. Anonymous3:02 PM EDT

    Sorry, everyone, if anything I said upset anyone. I didn't read the other comments when I posted, I was just having fun with the palindromes - I really do like Sarah Palin's style and I know it takes huge courage to put herself out there for everybody to criticize, and I respect her for that too. One last thought -- she certainly overturned the Republican apple-cart as much as the Dems!

  11. Not to worry, EI -- Fun with palindromes is and ever shall be acceptable behavior round here. You are a certified good dog.

  12. Hey EI, Goose here. We LOVED your fun with palindromes and you weren't beating up on anybody. Nothing I've read here is akin to the people who ran into our yard, torn down our HRC sign, and roared away in their car (speeding down a street that has a lot of children on it). EI, your palindromes made me laugh, laugh, laugh.

    Considering that she was carried on 4 FEWER NETWORKS (6 for her; 10 for Obama), Palin got every bit the audience that Obama did (37 million viewers!). I think the Obama folks are rattled, esp. since the polls are tightening big time (and if I'm reading this correctly, none of them is really registering the effect of her speech, as they are all dated YESTERDAY). The CBS 8-point lead is gone. So. . .emotions are running high. SO. . .a little wit to set us grinnin' is more than welcome.

    Thanks, EI!

  13. Anonymous10:39 PM EDT

    Roxie, you are pretty, smart and precocious.

  14. I am disappointed that in my first visit to Roxie's World in a while (I was curious to see your collective take on Palin), the first thing I see is these snide, personal attacks on a student.

    No one is suggesting that you can't go "toe-to-toe" with Eitan or that you must pull your punches. What you should avoid is the kind of insulting rhetoric to which Eitan is objecting (e.g., from this comment thread, "your apparent inability to believe that anyone could have an opinion that differs from yours," "dogmatic and humorless"). It's unprofessional. And for Moose and Goose, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the things you have said go against your school's code of conduct.

    Your pseudonymity is entirely beside the point. Perhaps it would be worse if Eitan didn't know which professors were judging him this way and he had to fear every smart and sarcastic, potentially blogging prof he encountered on campus. But the fact remains that Eitan appears to be academically connected to at least one of you, and you have, collectively, allowed things to get personal. I know it's difficult for embattled and undoubtedly underpaid public university professors to believe these days, but you are inescapably in a position of power with respect to your students. It behooves you to take extra care in your relationships with them.

  15. Stephanie, there is no other way to say this: How dare you. How dare you come into this space after a prolonged absence, look in on one heated exchange (which the blog manager took immediate steps inside and outside the space to cool down) and start lecturing people about their professional responsibilities and alleging violations of codes of conduct. It's hard to believe you could have read all the comments in this post and in the follow-up post ("It's Five O'Clock Somewhere") and offered up such harsh judgments, but such language is neither fair nor welcome in a non-academic space that aims to maintain a sense of fun and a spirit of comity. Things do get tense from time to time, but we aim to assure that no one gets hurt or stays permanently angry, which is what we did in this case.

    Comments such as yours are a violation of the code of friendliness enunciated in my lengthy statement in the middle of this thread and will be deleted in the future. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further, you may contact me off-blog.

  16. Stephanie,

    Goose here. As is Roxie, I'm surprised by your comment, which is clearly unaware of the exchange in toto and only responds to part of it, which Rox went out of her way to calm down and soothe. She points you to the next post and comments, as do I:

    When participants care, emotions sometime run high, but thanks to Roxie's gentle tending, matters are calmed down here and discourse remains civil, as it does in our classrooms.

    And for the record, I am very proud to be at a public research one institution. I chose to come here rather than teach at a private institution, and I chose to do so because I care deeply about education, in which I believe.


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