Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sarah Palin's personal magnetism: It is what it is

One of various inspirational refrigerator magnets
scattered around the litbrit desk

In her now-infamous resignation "speech" last Friday, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, having exhausted the deciphering skills of supporters and reporters alike with a seemingly never-ending stream of nonsensical explanations for quitting her office mid-term, spun around and denounced the very need for explanations in the first place:
I think of the saying on my parents’ refrigerator that says “Don’t explain: your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.”
Refrigerator magnet wisdom! Well, that explains everything. Not that you really need an explanation, mind you.

We are a nation of slogan-lapper-uppers, aren't we? Just Do It. It's the Real Thing. I'm Lovin' It.

So perhaps Governor Palin is just following a grand Madison Avenue tradition here, using the vague and universal pronoun "it" in such a way as to allow the audience themselves to fill in the begged question of "it", drawing on their own deeply-submerged wants and needs. After all, when Nike says Just Do It, the "it" is supposed to mean exercise, but the more profound message is that one should engage in whatever "it" is that strikes one's fancy, no second-guessing, no excuses. When Coca-Cola told us that "it" was the real thing, they were, at first blush, referring to the beverage in the curvy glass bottle in the print ad, but they could just as easily have been referencing the curvy model's main asset. I'm Lovin'...what exactly? The reliable sameness of the burger or the burger itself? Which is "it"?

And so "it" goes with Sarah Palin's ridiculous non-explanation explanation. The following examples of Palin invoking the usefully vague "it" are quoted directly from the governor's Website, where she's proudly posted the entire text, as it were, of her resignation speech as it appeared on the Teleprompter (and yes, you read that right: Sarah Palin actually wrote that speech ahead of time and read it to you).
But I won’t do it from the Governor’s desk.

It’s not what is best for Alaska.

it’s no more “politics as usual”
I cannot believe that there are people in this country--hell, people who supposedly went to journalism school, an endeavor that used to require basic competency in English--who seriously think such a person is capable of being the president of the United States.

This is due, in large part, to the fact that we are a nation of superficial, looks-obsessed, slogan-lapper-uppers.

Is that not it? It is.

Also at Cogitamus.