July 13, 2010

Palin's Grizzly Mammas (Or: But Enough About You, What About Me?)

Whoops, did I say “grizzly mammas?”  Well, there’s nothing plural about this show. It’s “Momma Grizzly.”

If Sarah Palin’s new web video is about a stampede of new conservative female candidates, try to find one in the piece.  If the video is about female empowerment, there’s little doubt as to who’s on the power trip (or the Momma Bear).

As Digby writes:

She is not a serious politician. She is a political celebrity/entrepreneur, collecting money from her fans to fund herself and sell her brand. To the extent that she is working for anyone but herself, she’s working for The Republican Party, bringing together some of the disparate strands of the conservative movement, striking the pose of the “outsider.” But that is the extent of her serious commitment to politics.

Palin is a “reality” entertainer. Look on the covers of the celebrity magazines and you’ll see lots of them. There’s a lot of money to be made by someone like her in merchandising alone, much less personal appearances, books etc. I’m guessing she’ll find herself on the personal growth/religious circuit too, along with her reality show on TV.

She is a creature of the new political media, maybe the first pure version of her kind.  As soon as people grok that, her fund raising and touring will begin to make more sense.

If the hallmark of a narcissist is that, when she look at others, she see herself, it’s not surprising how much this video, ostensibly about every other “she” out there, mirrors Palin at every turn — either literally, or via stills of women inserted for the primary reason that they represent living clones of various Palin personas.

For example, the woman above is the “savagely” angry, Sara-like hotty thrilled to annoy. (The fact the t-shirt traces back to Michael Savage fans only amplifies Palin’s skill at indirectly tapping into deep anger, racism and homophobia.)

This image is simply fabulous for the way it echoes and brands the now iconic photos of Palin at the Republican Convention as the mommy glued to baby (it’s Trig all over again) as a validation of her patriotism.

And then, shades of Savage, this frame is interesting for the way it can activate some subliminal misandry, or hatred of men.  On the manifest level, of course, it’s just pure, straight-ahead tea party slogan taking on big government.  At another level, though, especially in the ‘women-only and “don’t be fucking with with us”‘ context of the video, it can also be read as an attack on men and courtship — i.e. Opposed to Man dates.

And then, of course, you have the pictures of Sara that, dispensing with symbolism completely, literally mirror her, as if you can’t get enough of her (the way she can’t get enough of herself) so (and, more than once in the video) let’s have two!

Of course, filling in the edges are otherwise standard campaign shots (in a non-campaign and a non campaign-video, mind you) of cell phone and point-and-shoot idolatry.  …Before they took down the photo link from Palin’s Facebook page, it was flooded with “citizen paparazzi” pics like these.

Still though, given Sarah’s fascination with legends, as well as her honestly impressive instincts when it comes to siphoning credibility by visually and rhetorically mirroring top top dogs, I like this frame the best — just don’t tread on the lapel button far right!

Watch the Mamma Grizzly video here.

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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