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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

I think we all know by now that Marie Antoinette never said those words. (In fact, these words were spoken four years before Marie even married the Dauphin of France, when she was only 10 years old, still living in Austria. But the press dug it up later in 1789 and attributed it to her, and obviously got a lot of people whipped up about it.)

I did not go to see The Hounds last night. (Sorry Hounds! Sorry Ms. Red Shoes!) I feel like I'm on the verge of getting a cold so I thought to play it safe. I got some Nasi Goreng to eat (which is Indonesian fried rice and I don't know what the secret ingredient in it that makes it so addictive, but it's got me hooked) while I sat on the sofa in my jammies, watching something pretty and mindless: Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola.

When the movie got to my favorite scene, I could not help thinking, "Hey, it's the Neiman Marcus of pre-revolutionary France!" (This is undoubtedly the best scene in the movie.)

It occurs to me that Sarah Palin may become the Marie Antoinette of the 2008 election if the Republican ticket loses, and not by her own doing. It occurs to me that as her poll numbers are falling, even among the people who are supposed to like her, that Palin will become the sacrificial lamb of the upper echelons of the Republican party.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't like her (and I don't think that's a secret). I'm not going into the reasons why because if you read this blog, then you already know. However, I feel sorry for her in that she has been put in a position that has spiraled out of control, the flap about the wardrobe from Neiman's just being the latest snafu.

I wonder why it is that someone in the McCain campaign did not evaluate the potential devastation that such expenditures could incite if word got out. I mean, it's not like the press didn't go insane over John Edward's DNC-funded $400 haircut for more than a few days ("It is the haircut that will not die. He can spin it, he can gel it, he can mousse it. But it is not going away").

In fact, they went bonkers and the haircut is credited with helping to bring down his candidacy. Anne Coulter called Edwards a "faggot" and Rush Limbaugh asked if Edwards "would be our first female president."

So given the quite recent history of what happens regarding the press when they find out about expenditures deemed inherently and dangerously mockable, did someone in the McCain campaign stop for a moment to wonder if this Palin wardrobe shopping spree might not be a huge problem? It's not like she came up to them and demanded almost $200K for hair and makeup services. Someone came to her and decided what to do.

Especially when their whole raison d'etre is to ingratiate themselves with the average, everyday hard-working folks of America. It's the hypocrisy of it that keeps fueling the fire. Average everyday Americans know you don't have to spend $150,000 to look put together. Don't they realize that people are truly freaking out over losing their homes and their entire retirement savings and their 401Ks and they're worried that they can't even afford clothes for themselves right now? Just like most people realize that Cindy McCain is not your typical "small business owner." LMAO!

I don't blame Palin for it, I feel sorry for her. But this just highlights the judgment of the people at the top...is anyone up there thinking at all about how they might be perceived? That we're all not really so very stupid? And this is the part I think I've been trying to get to... I want Sarah Palin to be examined, taken to task and made accountable for the things that really matter: her association with the Alaskan Independence Party, her vindictiveness against her enemies in the Alaskan political scene, her fraudlent expenditures and expenses, her extremist religious views. This wardrobe story is a non-story, albeit a fun one and great for making a mockery of, but it's still a smokescreen. We must ask ourselves, why is it that the media will devote so much attention to this, a minor bit of sensationalism, when it should have been addressing the deeper and more serious issues since August? If she's to be sent home in defeat, I want it to be for the real issues, not for a closet full of expensive clothing that might not have had much to do with her.

They're going to throw Sarah and her nice clothes under the bus when the Straight Talk Express finally crashes. And by they, I mean her own party. John and Cindy will go back to their eight homes and live life like normal ("But, look, I've a wonderful life. I have to go back and live in Arizona"), but the little princess that they plucked from the hinterlands will go home in tatters. They'll blame her that she was too new and inexperienced (that's already happening) and that she was too divisive. But they picked her for all of those reasons. They wanted a pit bull.

But they'll write history to show they didn't. And everyone will just remember the clothes. And that's the problem.


Sometimes it takes history several generations to fess up about what the other side of the story might be. It would be interesting to know how Palin's selection for the VP slot actually came to be, but that probably won't happen till long after you and I are gone.


"It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness." ~ Marie Antoinette

But looking at the larger picture, if it wasn't for Marie Antoinette and the fall of the Ancien Regime, the Revolution and the Terror, then we wouldn't have the principles and the base of thought that is the foundation of our own democracy (not to mention the resources. We would have never achieved freedom from British rule if not directly aided by French money and troops).

Perhaps in hindsight, Palin might be one of those figures that brings about a new era of history in our country, even as she is thrown to the wolves. Only time will tell.

ps. If you really want to learn more about Marie Antoinette, don't watch that Sofia Coppola movie. It's a chick flick/music video. But you can watch a fantastic documentary and also read Antonia Fraser's book. Both are imminently fascinating and approachable.

pps. What you really don't know is that the BEST thing at Neiman Marcus are the Peanut Butter and Jelly cookies. I kid you not. These are the BEST cookies you will ever eat IN YOUR LIFE. Hear me now. And they only cost $2.50! Which means that if you have $150,000 and can't find any clothes you like at Neiman's, you can buy 60,000 cookies instead.


This is the other good scene (the sex scene) from the film but it has nothing to do with the Republicans. I just put it in here in case you're tired of history.

Fabulous shoe photo from this blog. Did you know the shoes in the movie were designed by Manolo Blahnik? I didn't!!! No wonder they're so gorgeous!!!

UPDATE 8:11am: I am an effin' prophet: "These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," said a McCain insider, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin's campaign." You can read the rest here.

But I said it first! You saw me do it.


tonyK October 25, 2008 at 8:17 AM  

Did you see that one of Palin's other makeup artists was brought in specifically to apply a SPRAY-ON TAN to Sarah to get rid of that awkward Eskimo look she had? It only cost the RNC $900. A bargain compared to the other makeup artists! Hilarious, but true. www.eisenstadtgroup.com

n a n c y October 25, 2008 at 10:15 AM  

And where is Anne Coulter these days? Did she finally implode?

paris parfait October 25, 2008 at 11:52 AM  

I don't feel sorry for Palin one bit. She is one of the most shrewd, ambitious people ever in public life and has no qualms about getting rid of those in her path who don't agree w/ her (just read Mudflats, for news of all the machinations Ms. Palin has employed against her perceived enemies in Alaskan government). People like her always bounce back and I'm sure she will be fine, probably writing a book and getting lots of speaking engagements for her fellow right-wing causes and charities. The Republican party needs to take a cold hard look at what happened, how they imploded; and why they've let the extremists wing of their party dictate their policies and programs. The Republican party today is unrecognizable, compared to a few years ago.

As for MA, the costumes and shoes are gorgeous, as are the locations. It's a fun movie and they even sell DVDs of it at the gift shop in Versailles! MA was definitely a victim of bad press and gossip.

Hope you're feeling better today!

tangobaby October 25, 2008 at 1:04 PM  

Hi tonyk,

No! I did not read about that one. You're right, that was a bargain in comparision. I'm sure that it also would have been extremely cost prohibitive for the campaign to be dragging her tanning bed along on the Straight Talk Express, too. Or maybe they couldn't bring it along because it's the property of the state of Alaska? ha ha

Anyway, as a person who is melanin-challenged, I understand the lure of having lovely tanned legs poking out from my skirts instead of deathly pale ones. To which end I highly recommend the St. Tropez self-tanner which can be applied in the privacy of one's own bathroom.

Hi n a n c y,

She's probably looking for the next flavor of Kool-Aid to whip up because she's running out of choices.

I'm not sure, but I think she is more disgusting the Rush? Would you agree with me on that?

Hi paris parfait,

As always, you are my touchstone.

I think what I mean to say when I feel sorry for her is that I get the same feeling when I watch those terrible auditions for American Idol, see that youtube video of the beauty contest contestant, or accidentally hear The Shrub on the radio (which I have tried to avoid at all costs for years now). I don't have much stomach for things that are cringe-inducing.

I think she's small potatoes and she might go home to possible impeachment or recall. Hell, if we can recall our governors in California, I'm sure Alaska can do it now that they've got some initiative to. I don't think she's as shrewd as she is lucky to have not been exposed sooner. If she does end up having a following, it will be reduced to a fringe element over time because too many conservatives would not even dare associate her without the aegis of McCain.

To me, I guess I'd rather see her taken down by the heinous idiocy that comes out of her mouth than a silly news story that distracts people from the fact that her views are disturbing and dangerous. For instance, why doesn't the MSM report more on her association with AIP and the church she belongs to? Or Troopergate? I feel like the media has taken the wimpy way out in making this wardrobe such a huge issue when they could have really been reporting on who Sarah Palin is and what she stands for.

So I see this more as a failure of the media (again) to decide to report on the non-issues and the McCain ticket for their fatally bad judgment. If the conservatives in this country don't use this historic moment to reclaim their iealds for the far-right agenda, then it's their own damn fault.

I am feeling better, thank you! I am decideing what to wear for my museum outing.

I think it's a teeny bit funny that the DVD is being sold at Versailles. Wasn't much of it filmed at Vaux le Vicomte?


Anonymous October 25, 2008 at 1:05 PM  

I just love your blog Tangobaby. i am delighted how you are able to intwine your daily interactions with the world with the picture at large and how everything metaphors ontop itself.
coming from alaska i can assure you from this region, she has destroyed her career.
and i'm worried on all accounts about the future of alaskas government. whether she wins or not.

Bill Stankus October 25, 2008 at 2:32 PM  

Hey! I really enjoyed the "I Want Candy" video... very nice.

And, on a lesser plane of existence - Palin will go back to shooting wolves and polar bears .. to whatever limbo losing VP candidates go. She'll have someone write her biography, she will be the Dan Quayle of now and will probably seek senator of Alaska status - now that sleazy Stevens is tumbling down.

She will haunt for years to come.

robin bird October 25, 2008 at 8:04 PM  

you are incredible sharp witted dear... i swear you need to write a political column in your next job. brilliantly done! i love how you move from topic to topic like they are all connected.. and you manage it too :)

on the "i don't know what they could have been thinking.." theme. this is one of those things that happens over an over. in politics, on wall street, in the church and in our neighborhood. people steal billions of dollars, they have sex with their best friends wife, they abscond with the jewels and it seems so stupid to us when they get caught. but arrogance has a mind of it's own and it isn't a mind that lets ordinary convention like morality or honesty get in the way in the least little bit.

it is the most dangerous character defect imaginable in my view.

robin bird October 25, 2008 at 8:08 PM  

did i just make a comment and NOT mention the SHOES?? how could i forget! i would wear those shoes even if they made my feel ache for days. i would wear those dresses even if i wet my pants for from being unable to get them off in time i would love the hair hat even if i had a migraine to pay for it. it is all so decadently gorgeous!
see what i mean? you can write a post that swings from north to south then east to west. and ties it all together with a sex scene from a movie.. how does that work anyway? where in god's name were you educated!? harvard perhaps.

julochka October 26, 2008 at 2:34 AM  

husband and i just discussed exactly this last night, tho' i have trouble mustering a single iota of feeling sorry for her. what i fear more is that she won't have the good sense to run back to alaska with her tail between her legs, but will, pitbull-style, defiantly try to rebuff it all and then we won't be rid of her!!

susanlavonne October 26, 2008 at 5:01 AM  

I too feel as though Palin will be the sacrificial lamb and that she wasn't entirely aware that she sold her soul when she accepted the nomination....but then if she can exchange her labels for 60,000 NM cookies, who's to say that it was such a bad decision? :-)

tangobaby October 26, 2008 at 5:50 AM  

Hi Sarah,

And I love your blog too. You are a sensitive and very gifted soul. Someday when I visit Alaska, it will be entirely because of you and the view you have given me of it.

I think a lot of us here in the Lower 48 will be following with great interest what will happen to your governor when she gets home (assuming that Bush and Co. can't pull off a final criminal act and seal the deal for McCain). I hope that things will follow to a good outcome for the people of Alaska as certainly their trust and faith has been abused.

I was interested to read the Anchorage Daily News' endorsement of Obama. As happy as I was to see it, I could not help noticing the lack of concern about Palin, especially given the recent Branchflower report, her fraudulent expenses, etc. It seemed like the ADN was softballing her so they could still endorse Obama and not look too critical of her abuses.

Hi bill,

Coppola is a very creative director. I know some people did not appreciate her musical selections in the film, but I think she made a historical subject very topical and someone you could relate to.

Somehow I feel that Palin might be less dangerous as a Senator than as a governor. But since she looks so venomously on the Washington Elite, perhaps she won't want to be one of them after all. Hopefully the people of Alaska will give her the recompense she deserves.

Hi robin bird,

You are the sharp witted one here, my dear. Yes, it's arrogance. I wonder if one can run for public office without it. But it must be moderated by some sort of self-examination and you're right, she possesses none of that.

As for the shoes, if you were wearing them, you'd probably be sitting on a tuffet somewhere looking beautiful so they wouldn't hurt your feet too much!

I think my little ramblings are more stream of consciousness than anything else. You're just seeing an assortment of thoughts, books and movies all jumbled together.

Hi julochka,

To me, this whole wardrobe issue is barking up the wrong tree. It's laming her for something that I feel in this case she probably didn't have much to do with, and that's why I think it's ingenuous.

I still think she's a vile creature. I'd rather see her run home with her tail between her legs because the media and the Republican party made an effort to show her true colors by exposing her viciousness and mediocrity.

It concerns me that this story will be the one she is remembered for and not her faux-populist and race-baiting agenda.

I guess the part of me that feels sorry for her is that she won't be taken down for the right reasons. And that would give her another chance to come back if the conservatives don't dispatch her soon.

Hi susanlavonne,

As an extremist ideologue, I wonder how much soul Palin really sold. I think she's been able to pretty much be herself, it's just that self hasn't been truly presented to the media and the people. She's been protected by the media and the campaign, and now at the end when things aren't looking good, they'll rip her up over things that are trivial (clothes) and not what should have been gravely disturbing.

I think the one who truly sold his soul is John McCain. I hope he is persona non grata when he returns to the Senate, with his little gross sidekick Liebermann.

tangobaby October 26, 2008 at 5:59 AM  

Ugh! There is something either wrong with my brain or my keyboard. So many typos in my answers are making me sound like GW Bush.

In my reply to Tara, the sentence should read:

If the conservatives in this country don't use this historic moment to reclaim their ideals from the far-right agenda, then it's their own damn fault.

And to julochka:

It's blaming her for something that I feel in this case she probably didn't have much to do with, and that's why I think it's disingenuous.

Bobbypin Bandit October 26, 2008 at 7:59 AM  

I had not seen Coppola's version of Marie Antoinette until a couple of months ago. That first scene you posted prompted me to bake some chocolate cupcakes and pop open a bottle of champagne. That is my favorite scene of the movie, as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog. My fanciful sis is always afraid to get on a plane. I am trying to convince her to come with me to the temples in Mexico and explore with me. I will work on her and one day I'll get her out of Tucson with me. Paris would be ideal!

Ida October 26, 2008 at 2:11 PM  

Did you see that one of Palin's other makeup artists was brought in specifically to apply a SPRAY-ON TAN to Sarah to get rid of that awkward Eskimo look she had?