Election '08 re-defines everything

Election '08 re-defines everything September 22, 2008

My latest piece for Pajamas Media is up. It’s entitled, Obama, Palin and the Meaning of “Change”, and I hope you’ll go read it; I had a lot of fun exploring how this election is chewing up and reconfiguring what certain words mean.

For instance, the words “provincial“ and “small-town“ have been disdainfully sniffed into the air by many writers, most recently by the film critic Roger Ebert, who wrote, “How can you be her age and never have gone to Europe? … Sarah Palin’s travel record is that of a hopeless provincial!” For reasons unexplained, Ebert’s piece was later lost to the black hole that disappears wayward writing, but you get the gist. The woman had not “done” France! She did not “do” the Hamptons or L.A., either. All she did was stay in her state, kill moose, breed babies, and live a life so broad and outreaching that she’d traveled from a PTA meeting to the governor’s mansion in less than 20 years, challenging the shibboleths of her own political party and building bipartisan working relationships as she went.

By contrast, the sophisticates criticizing Palin from their exclusive and tidy enclaves, where like-minded people congregate, educate, recreate, and manage — even in their vast, first-class sojourns — to remain safely insulated from the commoners, have exposed themselves as suffering from small-town mindsets, every bit as judgmental, untraveled, narrow, and closed as any stereotypical tribalist. The exterior may say “uptown,” but the suddenly exposed interiors of these people screamed “provincial” and “keep away!”

Like I said, I had fun with it. You can read it all here.

Browse Our Archives