Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hold That Pose

I may not agree with any of Sarah Palin’s views on the issues, and I think the chances of her becoming president are on a par with the Earth being assimilated by the Borg, but regardless of my views or whether or not she’s a serious candidate, posing her on the cover of Newsweek like she’s a pin-up girl — the pose is strikingly reminiscent of Betty Grable’s famous World War II picture — is sexist and silly. Ms. Palin says the same, even though she willingly posed for it… for Runner’s World magazine. The idea that Newsweek considered it and chose it tells me that it’s going along with the celebrifying (if that’s a word) of political figures in order to keep our attention on the shiny objects and forget about the boring old substance. Healthcare reform and financial recovery? Sure, but wow, she’s in sneakers and running shorts!

If the goal of the editors of Newsweek was to make Sarah Palin into a laughingstock and minimalize her as a serious contender in the future of American politics, this wasn’t the way to do it. They could have accomplished that by doing an in-depth analysis of her book and her views and let the lightness and the lack of substance come out when she sat down with their political and editorial staff, not by taking pictures of her legs or speculating about the status of her grandson’s father’s posing for Playgirl. That kind of critical review would have been far more devastating to her future as a candidate than making a mockery of her by emulating People or the National Enquirer.

But it wouldn’t have sold magazines, and that’s the whole point. It’s also the reason that I’ve let my subscription to the magazine lapse.