January 20, 2016

I know, I know -- I'm supposed to think Sarah Palin's Trump endorsement speech was an incoherent hot mess. But while she probably should never apply for a copyediting job at The New Yorker,she delivers precisely what her fans want, in a way that's clumsy, maybe, but not incomprehensible.
Ever watch an aging Top 40 group run through a medley of decades-old chart-toppers? No song gets played to the end. The lead vocalist asks the audience to sing half the words. The band just has to go through the motions.

That's Palin. She knows her audience spends every waking moment watching Fox, listening to talk radio, or watching the latest Trump interview on Morning Joe -- so she doesn't have to finish any of her thoughts. I know she has the attention span of a hyperactive seven-year-old and probably couldn't finish any of her thoughts, but she knows it's not necessary. The audience remembers all the words. In the fans' heads, Bill O'Reilly and Mark Levin are singing the choruses.

Here's the formula: Take half a dozen ten-minute Fox or talk radio segments. Boil each one down to the takeaway bullet point. String these multiple bullet points together. Now you've made one Sarah Palin sentence:

Tell me, is this conservative? GOP majorities handing over a blank check to fund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood and illegal immigration that competes for your jobs, and turning safety nets into hammocks, and all these new Democrat voters that are going to be coming on over border as we keep the borders open, and bequeathing our children millions in new debt, and refusing to fight back for our solvency, and our sovereignty, even though that’s why we elected them and sent them as a majority to DC.

So few words, so many grievances! In a way, it's artful. Except for the awful draftsmanship, it's compressed like a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song, or a Bosch canvas.

Palin's audience doesn't need any of this explained. Palin's audience lives on these grievances, wallows in them, has them burned into memory via endless repetition in the right-wing media. The audience doesn't care if Palin plays any of the hits all the way through -- just play the chorus! just play that one riff!

Or maybe it's wrong to compare her to a band at all. She's more like a DJ -- she's not playing music, she's sampling. She doesn't have to take any song from start to finish -- her set just has to flow

(Cross-posted from No More Mister Nice Blog)

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