I stopped short at David Carr's piece yesterday on the Palin marketing industry. His points on how this media celebrity can generate huge amounts of income from completely integrity-free media are, of course, well-taken. Palin has indeed cleaned up, thanks mainly to Roger Ailes and his fixation on ratings, and HarperCollins, whose soul was mortgaged years ago. She has a TV clip-show. She can read a Teleprompter well, which is about the only thing her college degree - sports journalism - qualified her for. She knows how to project cheeriness and peppiness and goshdarnit schtick. And all these have a place in the market and even in national discourse. No one would give a damn if the GOP hadn't decided to place this pageant-winner as a potential president in the last election; or if there weren't a real likelihood of her running for serious public office at the same level in 2012.
With any luck, the money will keep her from the Oval Office. But here's where I stopped dead in my tracks reading David's piece. This sentence:
I’m from Minnesota, which is sometimes considered the southernmost tip of Alaska, and her way of speaking in credulous golly-gee may have been off-putting to some, but there is a kind of authenticity there that no image handler could conjure.
Whatever else Palin is, she is not authentic.
Her flimsy record of public service has been festooned with so many lies and delusions and fantasies on her part it beggars belief. Her book is self-evidently the product of a dangerously delusional fanatic. She poses as a "real American" from the heartland, yet she has done everything in her power to escape that heartland and find refuge in celebrity.
If anyone is phony in American culture, it is Palin. And those who profit off her. They have a right to do that, as she has a right to invent a past and an identity and a politics from minute to minute. But please drop the idea that she is authentic.
The only thing authentically American about her is her total lack of scruples in making a living. But she won't admit that either.