What is Palinism?
What is it about?
Even in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, while no doubt many were motivated by regional partisanship, local prejudices, and "the measure" of the candidate, one suspects that at least a rough rendering of the issues--secession vs. Union, free vs. enslaved--was carried in and animated the crowds.
Now, it is pure reaction to pattern. To one impulse expectation--the bland suited form--violated by the provocation of another impulse: a novel one. Irrespective of qualifications--blind to them, the freedom of being purposely so-- the impulse simply feels new, gleeful, aggressive--it simply feels good.
We have reached the content-free phase of American politics.
A form, an image--glasses, hair, a voice, what it suggests--is enough. She could be speaking the words to the airport timetable, the swearing-in speech of Ferdinand Marcos, the ingredients of a
box of Sizzlean--the form, the image, the sound, and the gathering impulse, the bare stirring from dull lack of novelty--is sufficient to awaken the crowds to angry perturbance at...the stimulus to be perturbed, and the bare sense of actual directed action and purpose that comes with doing so.
Palin herself wears a glazed, slightly confused look in her eyes--trying to cover her own bewilderment at what is it that has unleashed this roar, this approbation. Being used to herself, and having been among those who are well used to her, she is unaware of the novelty that her mere form releases in the dazed electorate, yearning for a pretext for expression. Soon, she'll believe it herself.
And, after all, isn't that what democracy is all about? The ability to choose to decide without knowledge? Better yet, to choose your knowledge, irrespective of fact, in correspondence with the liberating, confirmation-free impulse?
This is what today's moment stands for.
These are our satisfactions and securities in this golden age.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
What is Palinism?