A reader writes:
I'm glad you're sounding the alarm re the Fox/Palin fusion. Most conservative intellectuals, perhaps fearful of backlash, have chosen to remain silent or else to dismiss Palin as a sort of pop-culture phenomenon. Others--I'm thinking of the bunch at NRO--shamelessly endorse and shill for this madness.
It is only sensible to be concerned about--yes, even to fear--what may come of the alliance between this shrewd, driven, narcissistic woman and the massive propaganda apparatus that has embraced her. We have an obligation to remember what can happen when charismatic leaders seize the imaginations of frightened people and feed them a steady diet of rage and self-pity, embellished by creepy visions of the divine and of national destiny. Here where I live, in rural Ohio, you can feel the impact of Palinism, now so scarily amplified by Fox.
The combination of white racial resentment, high unemployment, and the transformation of the culture, plus simple, grinding fear (of the Other; of the unknown; of blacks and Jews and gays and migrant workers; of anything you care to name) has coalesced into something potentially quite dangerous. Ordinary people are just a pulse away from becoming a mob.
I'm not talking about rednecks and meth-heads, either--you hear the vilest expressions of grievance and rage coming from pleasant-looking, neatly-dressed people in the aisles of the supermarket or under the dryers at the local salon. Many of these people worship Palin. You actually hear them say things like, "Thank God for Fox! Thank God for Sarah!"