Quote of the Day: Sarah Padrillard?

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Shelley Ross in Newsweek:

As a broadcast journalist for three decades, I’ve been steeped in both raw politics and the image making that enhances it. I’ve produced countless interviews with presidents, their running mates, first ladies and political opponents. So I speak with some experience when I say last night's premiere of Palin’s TLC reality show was so full of subliminal communiques, you’d need a seance with Marshall McLuhan to decipher them all. But if I’m right that this medium is Sarah Palin’s message, it is truly a flash of political brilliance.

Palin strikes me as someone who has learned one of the core lessons of postmodernity--namely that narrative drives (nearly?) everything--but uses that technique to prop up a classic ethnocentric identity:  i.e. social conservatism.  She's held onto the classic Reaganite conservative synthesis of libertarian modernity ("tax cuts, guns, freedom") with social conservatism ("family values, love of one's homeland, 'real America' meaning rural white America, etc.).  But she's brought her own version of a right-wing feminism ("mama grizzlies") not in the Margaret Thatcher "Iron Lady" (read: butch) sense, but with a strong sexual component.  And the whole thing is wrapped up in a Twitter/Facebook age of instant messaging, emotional rhetoric, and denial of objective truth.  

She's truthiness incarnate on the right.  

While Ross' invocation of proto post-postmodern thinker McLuhan is intriguing, Palin always reminds me more of Jean Baudrillard, the French postmodern philosopher. 

To wit (the wiki on Baudrillard):

From this starting point Baudrillard constructed broad theories of human society based upon this kind of self-referentiality. His pictures of society portray societies always searching for a sense of meaning  — or a "total" understanding of the world  — that remains consistently elusive. In contrast to poststructuralists such as Foucault, for whom the formations of knowledge emerge only as the result of relations of power, Baudrillard developed theories in which the excessive, fruitless search for total knowledge lead almost inevitably to a kind of delusion. In Baudrillard's view, the (human) subject may try to understand the (non-human) object, but because the object can only be understood according to what it signifies (and because the process of signification immediately involves a web of other signs from which it is distinguished) this never produces the desired results. The subject, rather, becomes seduced (in the original Latin sense, seducere, to lead away) by the object. He therefore argued that, in the last analysis, a complete understanding of the minutiae of human life is impossible, and when people are seduced into thinking otherwise they become drawn toward a "simulated" version of reality, or, to use one of his neologisms, a state of "hyperreality." This is not to say that the world becomes unreal, but rather that the faster and more comprehensively societies begin to bring reality together into one supposedly coherent picture, the more insecure and unstable it looks and the more fearful societies become.  Reality, in this sense, "dies out."

Sarah Palin is hyperreality in human flesh.   

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