I didn’t see most of the debate last night, although I heard a fair amount. I took the French journalists to a GOP grassroots fundraiser/debate party, but we left 15 minutes after the green flag, and after that I had to rely on NPR for most of it. My impression was of someone who had competently deployed the me-so-dumb advance strategy, enough so that any performance short of pants-wetting would be seen as a resounding victory, but otherwise: Meh.
Admittedly, I wasn’t predisposed to like her. But in the company of journalists, I tried to watch it with a journalist’s eye, and still it was pretty meh. I know soccer moms with similar resumes and qualifications — they are thick on the ground in the GP — who would have blown her doors off.
But as usually happens, it left me thinking about something else, i.e., ways to be a public woman. The old Hollywood joke about the three ages of women — babe, district attorney and “Driving Miss Daisy” — still seems to apply. I wasn’t the biggest Hillary fan, but my heart went out to her for the fight she put up, to be taken seriously amidst a barrage of abuse about everything from the size of her ass to the sound of her voice. How easy it is to step into a niche that comes with pre-arranged stereotypes and expectations, and all you have to do is put it on like a uniform.
Which is to say, about 20 percent of my problem with Palin comes from my general dislike of folksiness. Fifteen percent more is about how folksiness is supposed to substitute for preparedness, as though al-Qaeda can be slain single-handedly by Marge Gunderson.
Sixty percent is about her lack of qualification. The rest is unease over her apparent religious weirdness, but notice we’re down to five percent here. Living in Indiana taught me there are many paths to God; I’m just suspicious of the Assemblies of God version. That’s all.
And right now I’m going to cash in a few markers, picked up when various sexist shitheels were trashing “Shrillary” and her voice, and say, Palin’s gets on my last nerve. On the other hand, if somehow the Republicans pull it off, I doubt I’ll hear it much. She’ll be redecorating Cheney’s dark lair.
Enough of her. A little goes a very long way.
I’m sick of the routine, anyway, so let’s shake things up a bit. I need a ruling from the group on something I found in the hall closet the other day:
It’s Alan’s old motorcycle jacket. Relax, it’s no misplaced Italian or English gem, just an incredibly sturdy old no-name leather jacket built to take the punishment meant for your skin should you need to lay your bike down in a pinch. It’s very heavy — the scale says it weighs five pounds, and I believe that’s fairly accurate. And it’s a size 38, a ship that sailed for Alan many years ago, but it fits me pretty well. So my question for the group is: Is it acceptable for a 50-year-old woman to wear her husband’s old motorcycle jacket? I tend to dress in a rotating wardrobe of blue jeans and neutral tops, and I freely acknowledge I didn’t inherit my mother’s fashion sense. (You should see her in pictures from her teen years — the height of the Depression, and she was a total babe, in clothes she made herself, right down to the hats.) It’s possible I’m looking in the mirror and seeing Carla Bruni, when the rest of the world sees a lesbian without a mirror.
And if the answer is yes, would adding an Hermes scarf just be impossibly cliché?
Whatever the answer, I’m not getting rid of this jacket. Kate will look smashing in it, someday.
Squiring the French around town this week, I didn’t have time for collecting all the week’s tasty bloggage, but assuming Jolene and some of our fleet-fingered number are still on the job, you’ll have plenty to read. Well, maybe you have a moment for this, yet another of Coozledad’s charming little recollections of people from his past. You don’t have to be a writer to be a good writer. You just have to write.
Have a swell weekend, all.