Pro-Palin Book Takes on Tina Fey, Feminists

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Friday, October 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

Paul Bedard gets an early look at “The Persecution of Sarah Palin,” the second book by young Weekly Standard writer Matthew Continetti, which draws lessons about the media, feminism, and elitism from the former Alaska governor’s rapid rise and fall. In this excerpt, Continetti analyzes the meaning of Tina Fey’s iconic impersonation of Palin.

It was telling that Fey should be the actress who impersonated Palin. The two women may look like each other, but they could not be more dissimilar. Each exemplifies a different category of feminism. Palin comes from the I-can-do-it-all school. She is professionally successful, has been married for more than 20 years, and has a large and (from all outward appearances) happy family.

The “outward appearances” bit gives me pause, as I know that Continetti has made trips to Alaska to research the book. And the Palin family has been the target of lots of tabloid rumors — some of those rumors pushed by Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandson. Is the book going to tackle any of this? Moving on.

[W]hile Fey is also pretty, married, and has a daughter, the characters she portrays in films like Mean Girls and Baby Mama, and in television shows like 30 Rock, are hard-pressed eggheads who give up personal fulfillment—e.g., marriage and motherhood—in the pursuit of professional success. On 30 Rock, Fey, who is also the show’s chief writer and executive producer, plays Liz Lemon, a television comedy writer modeled on herself. Liz Lemon is smart, funny, and at the top of her field. But she fails elsewhere. None of her relationships with men works out. She wants desperately to raise a child but can find neither the time nor the means to marry or adopt. Lemon makes you laugh, for sure. But you also would be hard pressed to name a more unhappy person on American TV.

This is all subjective, but I’d say even the fictional Liz Lemon has fewer problems than the real-life former governor of Alaska, who quit her job under the pressure of frivolous ethics complaints and who seems to get into monthly feuds with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.

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22 Comments

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brendanm
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

So, is everyone at The Weekly Standard and the National Review constantly “starbursting” in front of videos of Sarah Palin winking and Jack Bauer torturing or what?

Perhaps this would be a great companion book to Fred Barnes' Rebel-in-Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush, which detailed the fantastically-successful presidency of well-known political outsider George W. Bush and was published just a few months after Hurricane Katrina.

I'd also be interested to see whether Matthew Continetti discusses Sarah Palin's refusal to identify herself as a feminist, or the fact that Tina Fey's greatest moment of “satire” of the former Wasilla mayor/briefly-serving Alaska governor was simply her reading from a transcript of an actual interview with Palin. As for whether I can name “a more unhappy person on American TV” than a character that Fey plays on NBC, I do recall several television appearances on cable news by Mr. Continetti, and I'd be hard-pressed to name a more sad or pathetic person. Does that count?


Matty101
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

Your website format sukks…the articles are all left-justified and get cut off. Fire your web developers/ Followed a link from Politico


BigDaddy978
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

Is Continetti proposing a new plot line for 30 Rock! Liz Lemon quits to become a blogger?


artokosan
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

What Matty101 meant to say was, there is a javascript error in Internet Explorer (IE8 was the version I tested) that is breaking your page and forcing everything into a thin column on the lft, leaving the right column of the page empty.

Firefox 3 and Safari are fine.

Here is the erorr message, for you web developers:
Line: 268
Character: 64
Code: 0
Error Message: Unterminated string constant
URL: http://washingtonindependent.com/65875/pro-pali…

Hopefully this is a more helpful comment.


john
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

Wait a second, he purports to compare Fey and Palin (fair enough) and then only compares Palin and… Fey's characters? Huh?

Did liberals compare Clinton to Phil Hartman's character on Newsradio when defending Clinton? Since Aykroyd did Jimmy Carter, should we watch Ghostbusters carefully to determine if Aykroyd's geekiness is actually a subtle comment on Carter's malaise speech?

That said, I would love to see an extensive comparison between George W. Bush and Ron Burgundy. :p Of course, it wouldn't say anything meaningful about Will Ferrell.


HoraceSpeed
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

LOL….I read “left-justified” and instinctively thought it was meant politically.

Only complaint with Firefox is that that little printer icon seems to always be positioned to overlap some of the text (very near the bottom of the articles).


HoraceSpeed
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

Scratch that– I think the icon was mis-positioned due to my script-blocker.


strangely_enough
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

People still use Internet Explorer? LSNED…


strangely_enough
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

I thought that was odd, too, in a Quayle v. Murphy Brown way…


Pete
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

Um. So Palin is admired for mixing her professional life and motherhood. I certainly hope her hagiographer realizes that Fey has been married for several years and has a 6 year old daughter to boot.

It never ceases to amaze me that conservatives are literally unable to recognize that TV characters aren't real.


dennisintn
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

now that the dnc has publicly declared open season on palin, weigel will be able to write a book a month. i'm an independent who has voted for both parties during my long life, but the democrats in control now have taken that option away from me. the lies of obama, starting with his lies to mccain over the federal campaign funding and continuing on with every single speech he's made since then, and the actions of the democrat controlled congress are way too much like a feeding frenzy of piranhas. pelosi lies as much and as well as obama, and reid is just an idiot.
as to the dems. accusing palin of lying, that's the most ridiculous ploy they could possibly take. palin looks you in the eye and tells you what she thinks, whether she thinks you'll like it or not. i've been looking for a politician like her for a very long time.
dennisintn


josiemac
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

Personal fulfillment for a woman = marriage and motherhood? Or else you're a failure? What a load of bollocks. This was so obviously written by a dude, and a clueless one at that.


Guest
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

You've been looking for a politician like Palin? She quits everything. There's a reason she went to five colleges and could barely make it through half of one term as governor. She lacks the conviction to see anything through. When things get tough, she bails. Anyone who hitches on to her wagon better bring a shovel, because that wagon is going to be abandoned in a ditch.


Mark
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 11:12 pm

OK, you win… this is the funniest and dumbest thing I've seen all week! Comparing Sarah Palin with the characters portrayed by Tina Fey is idiotic. I'm sure the Faux news crowd will buy it though.


dennisintn
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

now that the dnc has publicly declared open season on palin, weigel will be able to write a book a month. i'm an independent who has voted for both parties during my long life, but the democrats in control now have taken that option away from me. the lies of obama, starting with his lies to mccain over the federal campaign funding and continuing on with every single speech he's made since then, and the actions of the democrat controlled congress are way too much like a feeding frenzy of piranhas. pelosi lies as much and as well as obama, and reid is just an idiot.
as to the dems. accusing palin of lying, that's the most ridiculous ploy they could possibly take. palin looks you in the eye and tells you what she thinks, whether she thinks you'll like it or not. i've been looking for a politician like her for a very long time.
dennisintn


josiemac
Comment posted October 30, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

Personal fulfillment for a woman = marriage and motherhood? Or else you're a failure? What a load of bollocks. This was so obviously written by a dude, and a clueless one at that.


Guest
Comment posted October 31, 2009 @ 12:22 am

You've been looking for a politician like Palin? She quits everything. There's a reason she went to five colleges and could barely make it through half of one term as governor. She lacks the conviction to see anything through. When things get tough, she bails. Anyone who hitches on to her wagon better bring a shovel, because that wagon is going to be abandoned in a ditch.


Mark
Comment posted October 31, 2009 @ 3:12 am

OK, you win… this is the funniest and dumbest thing I've seen all week! Comparing Sarah Palin with the characters portrayed by Tina Fey is idiotic. I'm sure the Faux news crowd will buy it though.


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