March 2, 2012

Sarah Palin‘s function in this country was once far different than it is now. In 2007, she was a disturbing but basically innocuous force of evil, safely pocketed away in the recesses of the 49th state. In 2008, she was a terrifying prospect, a kind of ghost of Christmas yet to come for the Democratic party. Today, she exists as tabloid fodder, and the once-realistic possibility of her in office is viewed as a bad dream, a freak accident narrowly avoided. But her greatest contribution to American lore is still overlooked. She has singlehandedly ushered in a new age of selective editing. Not only is she indirectly responsible for two books of found poetry, she is directly responsible for the release of a new video to counteract HBO’s upcoming film  Game Change, a dramatization of Palin’s improbable rise to the national stage. (Julianne Moore plays Palin, in what promises to be a muted comic performance.) The video is a masterpiece of selectivity, acting as a sort of giant elipses in which every proud remark made about Palin is sourceless and without context. What does it prove? Only that editing is the falsest device of modern storytelling, and that Palin’s debate tactics are, as they were in 2008, hopelessly stale, her defenses more helpful to her defamers than herself. In short, nothing we didn’t know already.

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