From Slavoj iek's new book:
Earlier generations of women politicians (Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, up to a point even Hillary Clinton) were what is usually referred to as "phallic" women: they acted as "iron ladies" who imitated and tried to outdo male authority, to be "more men than men themselves."...Jacques-Alain Miller pointed out how Sarah Palin, on the contrary, proudly displays her femininity and motherhood. She has a "castrating" effect on her male opponents not by way of being more manly than them, but by using the ultimate feminine weapon, the sarcastic put-down of male authority -- she knows that male "phallic" authority is a posture, a semblance to be exploited and mocked. Recall how she mocked Obama as a "community organizer," exploiting the fact that there was something sterile in Obama's physical appearance, with his diluted black skin, slender features, and big ears. Here we have "post-feminist" femininity without a complex, uniting the features of mother, prim teacher (glasses, hair in a bun), public person, and, implicitly, sex object, proudly displaying the "first dude" as a phallic toy. The message is that she "has it all" -- and that, to add insult to injury, it was a Republican woman who had realized this Left-liberal dream...No wonder that the Palin effect is one of false liberation: drill, baby, drill!
Tyler Cowen says this is maybe "what you would get if Andrew Sullivan were a Lacanian and a Hegelian." And while you're at it, don't miss Claire Berlinski's wonderfully frank take on Going Rogue in the American Review. Money quote:
No one wishes to be in the company of snobs, so it is uncomfortable to report the plain truth about Sarah Palin’s autobiographyit is ridiculous and it is awful...
I have no quarrel with the values Palin claims to hold dear. I am all for fiscal conservatism, hawkish defence, free markets, tax cuts and patriotism. God knows I am in favour of God. Nor am I much perturbed by what her critics claim are the book’s many strange factual contradictions and lies. All adults know, after all, that a serious forensic exploration of Palin’s political record would not begin in the autobiography’ section of the bookstore. My objection is otherwise.
The book is artless; it is juvenile; it is dull; it is vulgar; and it is above all phony. It does not seduce; it is not a guilty pleasure; it does not succeed in conveying universal experiences or emotions; it does not elevate. No character in it comes alive. Indeed it is so awful that it is almost impossible to find a single sentence in it that is not awful.
It is only cynical, cowardly politics that prevents so many American conservatives from saying the same thing. And it is only money that persuaded Jonathan Burnham to publish this fictional dreck. And it is only ratings that prompts Roger Ailes to keep this farce alive.
My problem with Palin is no longer Palin; it is the stench of media and political corruption that has enabled this total phony to thrive.
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