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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

They just want to see it burn

I’m going to write specifically about Sarah Palin.

Perhaps some folks are tired of the subject, but I would like to offer an inconsequential point of view. It directly regards the treatment Palin has received in the media, but it’s not just about Palin.

The oft repeated question is: “Why has Palin been attacked so consistently and with such vehemence?” I see this question posed over and over – often with the implied understanding that some kind of “fear” underlies the phenomenon. I would suggest that there are a certain number of educated people out there, with very different philosophies, who are capable of coming up with a conceptual viewpoint which might be threatened by someone like Palin should they achieve office. But they represent a very small group of people. It doesn’t explain the huge numbers of folks who have lined up against the former Vice Presidential candidate.

Fear doesn’t explain the segment of the population in low-paying jobs, struggling to make do, who somehow followed along with the initial attacks on Palin during the campaign. Fear doesn’t explain the media, who have often staged rabid assaults on the woman’s image. Fear doesn’t explain most of the women who disagree with Palin, lowering themselves to personal attacks.

And so, fear is not the motivating factor.

What is the source of the gloating, sexist, insulting comments, which have been leveled at the woman and her family? Where does it come from? Because, without threat there can be no fear. So, if these folks out there who are fueling these attacks, are not worried about Palin reaching some lofty position, then what? If they are truly not worried she could harm them at some undefined point in the future, then how do you explain their actions?

As a former newspaper and PR guy, I know the one truth, which fuels the media – bad news. “Bad news sells papers,” is the old phrase. That simple truth is due to the fact that a large portion of the population feeds on the grief of others. They love to see the fall and are transfixed by every moment. They are the first to see the cracks in the walls, because they are waiting like jackals, drooling out at the edge of the firelight. It is like the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome; give the people what they want – a spectacle. That’s why there’s so much wailing and gnashing of teeth in front of the television cameras. The people who revel in the misery, just want to see the carnage.

The attacks on Palin don't have to be analyzed and sifted and categorized. They don’t have to be weighed and measured - and the silly question, “why,” doesn’t even need to be asked.

For a long time, the image of the “Joker” face paint from the movie “Dark Knight” overlaid on a photo of Obama has circulated everywhere. Those who have seen the film were no doubt amazed at the late, Heath Ledger’s performance, because he really presented a picture of the insane. The performance was a kind of revelation, because he showed how “reason” doesn’t need to be part of everything. Sometimes, it’s just all about insanity.

Palin is being attacked not because of fear. They just want to see her fail. It is a kind of insanity.

And there are no rules for the insane. They live in their own world and their actions have no rational reason. I believe the face paint on that circulating Obama image is misplaced. I believe there are many more “Jokers” out there than we would care to admit.

And like the man said, “they just want to see the world burn.”

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