Monday, September 29, 2008

Heather Mallick, my hero

The CBC, like the globe and mail of a few years ago, has rolled over on heather mallick. i guess she wasn't as "deferential" as palin demanded (and, yeah, that's her adjective: she wants journalists -- journalists! -- to be "deferential" in their handling of her).

here's the column, since removed from the CBC site:

Heather Mallick
A Mighty Wind blows through Republican convention

Last Updated: Friday, September 5, 2008 8:48 PM ET
By Heather Mallick, special to CBC News

I assume John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential
partner in a fit of pique because the Republican money men refused to
let him have the stuffed male shirt he really wanted. She added
nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn't already have sewn
up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America's name
inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the

So why do it?

It's possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are,
really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she's a
woman. They're unfamiliar with our true natures. Do they think vaginas
call out to each other in the jungle night? I mean, I know men have
their secret meetings at which they pledge to do manly things, like
being irresponsible with their semen and postponing household repairs
with glue and used matches. Guys will be guys, obviously.

But do they not know that women have been trained to resent other
women and that they only learn to suppress this by constantly berating
themselves and reading columns like this one? I'm a feminist who
understands that women can nurse terrible and delicate woman hatred.

Palin was not a sure choice, not even for the stolidly Republican
ladies branch of Citizens for a Tackier America. No, she isn't even
female really. She's a type, and she comes in male form too.

John Doyle, the cleverest critic in Canada, comes right out and calls
Palin an Alaska hillbilly. Damn his eyes, I wish I'd had the wit to
come up with it first. It's safer than "white trash" but I'll pluck
safety out of the nettle danger. Or something.

Doyle's job includes watching a lot of reality television and he's
well-versed in the backstory. White trash — not trailer trash, that's
something different — is rural, loud, proudly unlettered (like Bush
himself), suspicious of the urban, frankly disbelieving of the
foreign, and a fan of the American cliché of authenticity. The
semiotics are pure Palin: a sturdy body, clothes that are clinging yet
boxy and a voice that could peel the plastic seal off your new

'Turn your guns on Levi, ma'am'
Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favoured by
this decade's woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently
alarmed expression. Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look
of the teen mum, the "pramface." Husband Todd looks like a roughneck;
Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family
obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting. What normal
father would want Levi "I'm a fuckin' redneck" Johnson prodding his

I know that I have an attachment to children that verges on the
irrational, but why don't the Palins? I'm not the one preaching
homespun values but I'd destroy that ratboy before I'd let him get
within scenting range of my daughter again, and so would you. Palin's
e-mails about the brother-in-law she tried to get fired as a state
trooper are fizzing with rage and revenge. Turn your guns on Levi,

Palin has it all, along with being vicious and profoundly dishonest.
Just hours after her first convention speech, the Associated Press did
a good fast listing of her untruths and I won't dwell on them.

I did promise to watch the entire convention so you wouldn't have to,
but I discovered a neat trick. I switched between the convention and
the 2003 folk music mockumentary A Mighty Wind on Bravo.

They were indistinguishable. Click on a nervous wreck with deeply
strange hair doing a monologue on society today and where it all went
wrong. Are you watching Christian belter Aaron Tippin singing Where
the Stars and Stripes and Eagle Fly in the Xcel Centre in St. Paul or
the actors from Spinal Tap remixing the 1966 version of Potato's in
the Paddy Wagon?

Who delivered this line: "To do then now would be retro. To do then
then was very now-tro, if you will." Was it Rev. James Dobson of Focus
on the Family talking about Bristol Palin's shotgun wedding or was it
a flashback to the Kingston Trio?

The conventioneers are nothing like the rich men who run the party,
and that's the mystery of the hick vote. They'd be much better served
by the Democrats. I know Thomas Frank answered this in What's the
Matter with Kansas?; I know that red states vote Republican on social
issues to give themselves the only self-esteem available to their
broken, economically abused existence.

Lie works for Palin
But surely they know Barack Obama is not planning to finish off the
ordinary hillbilly when he adjusts tax rates. He's going to raise
taxes on the top 2% of Americans and that doesn't include anyone at
the convention beyond the Bushes and McCains and random party
management. So why cheer Palin when she claims otherwise?

Is it racism? I'm told that it is, although I find racism so appalling
that I have difficulty identifying it. It is more likely the dearly
held Republican notion that any American can become violently rich, as
rich as those hedge funders in Greenwich, Conn., who buy $40-million
mansions unseen and have their topiary shaped in the form of musical

When Palin and Rudy Giuliani sneered at Obama's years of "community
organizing" — they said it like "rectal fissure" — the audience
ewww-ed with them. Republicans dream of a personal future that
involves only household staff, not equals who need to be persuaded to

So I'm trying to imagine the pain of realizing, as they all must at
some point, that it is not going to happen for them. It's the green
light at the end of the dock. It's the ship that never comes in, gals,
as Palin would put it. But she won't because the lie works for her. It
helps her scramble, without compassion, above all those other tense
no-hoper ladies in the audience.

American politics isn't short of smart women. Susan Eisenhower, Ike's
granddaughter, who just endorsed Obama, made an extraordinary speech
at the Democratic convention (and a terrific casual appearance on The
Colbert Report as Palin was speaking). The Republican party has
already consumed nearly all of its moderate "seed corn," she said
aptly. Time to start again.

Eisenhower, a scholar and journalist, has a point. Or am I only saying
that because she's part of the thoughtful demographic that I'm trying
to reach here? Think, Heather, think like a Republican! The Skeptics,
shall I call them, are my base, and I'll pander to them as ardently as
the Republican patriarchs tease their white female marginals.


Shawna Lemay said...

thanks for posting this. never met a heather i didn't like.

Anthony said...

i didnt like how she attacked the social class of palin--i thot it was cheap, and it fed into every fear working class conseratives have of an eastern elite--it made no effort to understand the values of self suffiency that much of the rural working class holds.

my favourite comment about palin comes from idaho lt governor patty judge: Sarah knows how to field-dress a moose. I know how to castrate a calf. Neither of those things has anything at all to do with this election. But since we know so much about Sarah’s special skills, I wanted to make sure you knew about mine too.

the thing is, for a lot of people in the west--the castrating of cows and the feild dressing of moose are not special skills, they are required for surrival, and it becomes a kind of unpassable border when people are unwilling or unable to recognize it as meat for the winter.

that said, her hunting wolves out of a helicopter, her disrespect for cariboo herds, her personally renumbering bears, are all reasons to suggest that this ethic of family first, localvore community building is a (fairly effective) sheild for some pretty john birch attitudes, but mallick wouldn;t know that, or didn't mention it.

(i get so angry when people use words like white trash or hillbilly, because its so fucking arrogant

Heather Zwicker said...

i agree that it's not my favorite heather mallick column: i find it more vicious than witty, and a bit wandery. i don't think the CBC should have folded, though, and that's (obviously) the main reason i re-posted it here.

i don't quite share all your reservations, anthony -- but then again i don't share all your skills! :-) and the point about self-sufficiency is well taken.

on balance, i think the US should be a little less afraid of elitism and a little more afraid of provincialism and ignorance masquerading as "folksy charm." so should alberta.