Sunday, November 28, 2010
Latest Newspaper Column
I confess, I've never watched "Dancing With the Stars." The idea of has-been and never-were pseudo-celebrities shaking their booties has just never had that much appeal to me.
Lately, however, it's been impossible to escape the coverage across all forms of media regarding the participation of Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol on the show.
TV viewers and entertainment journalists began noting that Miss Palin and her partner, Mark Ballas, kept surviving the cut despite what the show's pro judges, and many watchers, considered weaker performances. Talk began to circulate that viewers were voting for Bristol not out of any particular appreciation for her terpsichorean talents but out of support for her mother, the Resigning Woman.
Some even suggested that the followers of Mama Grizzly were gaming the voting system, rumors that were fed when right-wing radio host Tammy Bruce organized what she called "Operation Bristol" and the wingnut website HillBuzz noted that, while you had to provide an e-mail address to vote online, you didn't have to provide a real one, which allowed people to vote multiple times.
Nonsense, said the show's producer. DWTS, he claimed, uses "a number of security checks" to prevent voter fraud via the Web, text and phone calls.
Still, some people remained suspicious. One particularly irate viewer actually shot his TV out of frustration, shouting "The politics! The politics!"
I certainly understand his frustration at the politicization of the pure and ancient art of the dance on a show that once featured Steve-O from "Jackass" doing the cha-cha. But I've got to say that there are so many things that are more worth shooting your TV over. Those commercials with the talking mucus, for example.
The Palins themselves fell back on their real talent: not for dancing, but for stirring up resentment and the furious certainty among their supporters that somewhere, somehow, there's someone out there looking down on them. They may not know who or where, by golly, but you could stick a finger in their imaginary eyes by voting for Bristol, who told an interviewer that if she won, "it would be like giving a big middle finger to people who hate my mom and hate me."
Even when Bristol came in third in the final episode, an anonymous writer at Hillbuzz claimed a moral victory, saying: "You drove the left crazy for three months. Score!"
Dudes, I hate to break it to you, but no one on the left even watches "Dancing with the Stars," and we certainly don't have time to get our mad on about whether or not one of the numerous progeny of the Quitta From Wasilla took home the trophy.
We're too busy figuring out new and fiendish ways to turn your children into Muslims, force them to marry gay abortionists, ban everything from the American diet except tofu and alfalfa sprouts, and destroy capitalism. (That was a joke, people.)
The Palins and the folks at Hillbuzz were only expressing one of the highest ideals of modern conservatism, to wit: Talent doesn't matter. Competence doesn't matter. The only thing that really matters is annoying liberals. If no actual liberals are involved in the issue, then think about what will annoy the liberals you've made up in your head.
It's the same principle that occasionally motivates some idiot to loudly proclaim that he's going to drive a big SUV and eat a steak, not because he likes those things, but "to make liberals angry." The steak and SUV industries appreciate it, and so do the cardiologists and the oil companies. The rest of us just wish you'd get the heck over yourself, when we bother to think about you at all, which isn't often.
But while I've got their attention, let me just say: You know what would really annoy me? If everyone had affordable health care. That would make me absolutely livid. A sane policy for fighting terrorism that guaranteed that terrorist criminals would face trials and that respected the Bill of Rights? That would really make me mad, too.
Dignity and basic rights for people who love differently from me, including the right to serve openly in the military and the right to marry? That would raise my blood pressure something fierce. A tax policy that gave relief to the middle class and made sure millionaires, billionaires and mega-corporations paid their fair share toward keeping this country running? Man, my head might explode from sheer rage.
Get to it, folks. Make me mad.